The Post-War world of Rock and Roll and Popular Music didn’t lend itself to the type of standards generated by Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart and Irving Berlin. Or we’re lead to believe. Of course, we would be remiss not to honor names like Leiber & Stoller, Goffin & King, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Gamble & Huff and a legion of others that have built extensive catalogs of well worn chestnuts and hidden gems.
I couldn’t help but give my first dedication to human song factories to the most prolific Talented Taurus man of the Brill Building. Burt Freeman Bacharach cut his teeth as a Pianist for many MOR singers in the 1950’s, eventually moving up to Marlene Dietrich’s music director. With a keen ear for Jazz and R&B trends, he started to craft compositions by 1957, first with the same pool of MOR singers he had worked behind. This is where we meet him, giving a very lounge-y single to chanteuse Keely Smith on the verge of her split from her performing partner-husband Louis Prima in 1960.
From there we trace and time hop through the next 15 years of his carrier, primarily with Hal David his preferred lyricist, but sometimes, especially on the earlier efforts, finding him with Mack David and Bob Hilliard as he started delving deeper into being a songwriter for many R&B and Soul acts in New York (and beyond, as two Chicago Artists, Jerry Butler and Etta James benefited from his gifts in 1962).
What you will notice is a smattering of Burt’s obscurities, lesser names introducing you to songs that would become famous later and famous names taking a swing at the diverse bounty that Burt build over a decade and a half. With his impact and rather notorious tendency towards complex melodies, time signature shifts and when under his own oversight, perfecting precision in recording, I hope you’ll get a deeper insight into this living musical genius’s catalog of work.
1) Keely Smith – Close (1960)
14) Linda Scott – Who’s Been Sleeping In My Bed? (1964)
23) Jackie DeShannon – Come And Get Me (1966)
38) Burt Bacharach featuring Cissy Houston – All Kinds Of People (1971)