Los Angeles: Legendary American pop composer Burt Bacharach, whose prolific output provided a chart-topping playlist for the 1960s and 70s with hits like ‘I Say a Little Prayer’, has died in Los Angeles aged 94, US media said Thursday. Bacharach, who died on Wednesday of natural causes, was known for romantic and melancholic ballads crossing the border between jazz and pop, and regularly topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
Bacharach worked with stars such as Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield and Tom Jones and also wrote hits such as ‘Walk On By’ and ‘Do You Know the Way to San Jose’. A pianist passionate about jazz, he was born on May 12, 1928 in Kansas City, Missouri, and studied the art of composition in several American universities. After his military service, he was hired by Marlene Dietrich as an arranger and musical director for her tours.
In 1957, he met lyricist Hal David, who died in 2012, with whom he would form one of the most successful partnerships in the music industry. Four years later, they would discover during a recording session a young chorus girl who will become their standard bearer: Dionne Warwick. Between 1962 and 1968, they wrote 15 titles that rose into the American Top 40.
The songwriting duo was also acclaimed by Hollywood. In 1970, they won two Oscars for the music of the film ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ and the original song ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head’. In 1973, a financial dispute broke out between the two men. For ten years, they spoke only through lawyers and never worked together again.