OPO: Burt Bacharach

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Song, Performance, Reason, please!

Tom (Groke), Sunday, 22 September 2002 22:29 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Since I finally heard Sandie Shaw's "There's Always Something There to Remind Me" the other day, I'll go with that, but her version of "Anyone Who Had a Heart" with BEF was equally striking. Why? A strong performer with two different but equally of their time arrangements on two different but worthy songs by Zer Man.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Sunday, 22 September 2002 22:33 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Dione Warwick - Do You Know The Way To San Jose

great brass arrangement, an untouchable melody skating over unpredictable chord changes, breezily sung by someone who can sing.

phil turnbull (philT), Sunday, 22 September 2002 22:36 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"Trains and Boats and Planes", from the boxset, which is credited to Burt himself, I believe. The production and arrangement create their own little world, and the lyrics make it seem like there's nothing in that world but yearning. It really is one of my favorite songs. (tho there's something to be said for "This Guy's In Love With You", of course)

A.V. Alexandre (Keiko), Monday, 23 September 2002 01:18 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

South American Getaway - upbeat, 3/4 time & a great chord sequence.

Jez (Jez), Monday, 23 September 2002 08:39 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Possibly Herb Alpert's "This Guys In Love With You" - I can’t scientifically prove this is the best one just my fav. Why? 'Cos it somehow still sounded good when Noel Gallagher ripped it off and 'cos it validated all those scratchy Herb Alpert lps I'd bought for 30p each/ The joy of discovery as I'd never heard it before. Sandie Shaw's "Always Something..." is wonderful but was always on the radio and so doesn't have the same importance as it isn’t something I discovered myself.

Just remembered Issac Hayes Walk On By - hmmm fight brewing.

tigerclawskank, Monday, 23 September 2002 10:25 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"This guy's in love with you".
for the way herb sings "they say you think i'm fine" - funny and moving.

next time i'm in a trough of despond it'll go back to being "I just don't know what to do with myself" though.

adam b (adam b), Monday, 23 September 2002 10:36 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Dionne Warwick - "Are You There (With Another Girl)" - for that extended pre-chorus bit, Dionne trying to convince herself that her man can't be cheating, before the chorus hammers home the almost-proof that he is. Hal David on form too - "Love requires faith - I've got a lot of faith - but..."

Tom (Groke), Monday, 23 September 2002 10:39 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Well, I should really pick "The Look of Love" by Dusty Springfield 'cos the lift in the chorus is so beautifully done, 'cos the arrangement is surprisingly sparse, 'cos the sax break is really pretty, and 'cos the smokey, sensual purity of Dusty's voice seems like the very essence of heartbreak, but...

I'm actually going to go for 'Something Big' by Jim O'Rourke on 'Eureka' - I'd never heard the song before I got this rec, the lyrics are really funny + clever and totally fit the mood of the alb, I like the backing singers being so upfront in the mix, and because it's done without irony or kitsch...

Andrew L (Andrew L), Monday, 23 September 2002 10:45 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

didn't the stranglers do walk on by also?

mark s (mark s), Monday, 23 September 2002 10:45 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

There's a live "Walk On By" by Dionne W. where the crowd sings the chorus - and I mean really sings it too - that just kills me so if i had to only pick one it'd be that, but I also really like the Chambers Bros.'s "What The World Needs Now". it's all slow and defeated like 'yeah, the world needs love sweet love but don't hold your breath, Jack'.

Fritz Wollner (Fritz), Monday, 23 September 2002 12:29 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

yeah, the stranglers did walk on by. isaac hayes did an endless version too - it takes that chick like 20 minutes to walk on by. poor ike.

Fritz Wollner (Fritz), Monday, 23 September 2002 12:31 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

'Anyone Who Had A Heart' by (I think) Dionne Warwick.
Emotion showbizzed-up and enlarged through music to just about as big as it could get without turning into some bloated melodrama - the simplicity of her voice/delivery part of what keeps it tethered.
I also love the fact that the song sounds so anxious and longing and suspenseful right from the moment it starts - achieved I think by having the opening 13 notes of her vocal melody all at the same pitch......

Ray M (rdmanston), Monday, 23 September 2002 15:41 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Ike's Walk On By is pretty snappy at about 11 minutes. Its By The Time I Get To Phoenix thats insanly long, a simple 3 verse no chorus song that goes on for 18 minutes. Cetainly my OPO for Jimmy Webb.

"I gotta moan now, aaaooommmmmmmmm"

tigerclawskank, Monday, 23 September 2002 15:51 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"This Guy's In Love With You". Herb Albert. Cause he was my first pop star crush.

Arthur (Arthur), Monday, 23 September 2002 21:22 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"Walk On By" (Dionne AND Stranglers) and "The Look of Love" (Dusty) come close for reasons already mentioned.

But my choice is "Bond Street". It's the quintessential 60s lounge-pop instrumental. There are many great versions, including the proto bootleg version by Japanese outfit Les 5-4-3-2-1 (which combines the tune with the accompaniment of Stereolab's "Ping Pong"). But the Enoch Light version on Spaced Out is still my favourite, such a great arrangement. Blew my mind, as they say, first time I heard it pumped out loud in extreme stereo at a gig.

Jeff W (Jeff W), Tuesday, 24 September 2002 08:09 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
dionne warwick "i'll never fall in love again"...

i went through a period nearly 10 years ago and i was watching todd haynes' superstar (as referenced in the GOO thread) at a friend's house and the opening moments karen carpenter is in the shower singing along with dionne on the radio and agnes, karen's mom, yells at her and it's the moment when karen gets convinced that not only is she a fantastic drummer but also a great singer.

best line is when richard whines "i'm losing my drummer..."
it's so sad yet funny.

gygax!, Wednesday, 20 November 2002 02:20 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

It's so hard to pick! It's one of those cases where there are really too many to choose from. I could make a very good case for "Close to You" by the Carpenters, but I think most of my reasons are very sentimental and personal and silly.

I also have a real soft spot for "Walk On By". Though the Dionne version is sublime, I think I would go with the Isaac Hayes version. It just sounds so haunted and wracked with regret.

Nicole (Nicole), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 02:31 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Mine is the Ike Hayes version of Walk On By. I could listen to that damned song forever (and boy does he want us to, ho ho etc)

Ally (mlescaut), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 02:47 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Always Something There To Remind Me - Lou Johnson.

I'd never even heard of Lou Johnson before getting the box set a couple of years ago. He recorded the definitive versions of a few Bacharach/David songs and then seemed to vanish into obscurity. I've tried getting hold of any other stuff by him with no joy.

Particularly love this one for the way he glides over the strings on the verses and the "I'll never love another" shoo-de-bop bit at the end.

James Ball (James Ball), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 12:31 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

For me it's still "This Guy's In Love" by Mr Alpert; for reasons why, see what I said about it on this old thread:

Perry Como, Childness and Cheapness: some thoughts

Marcello Carlin, Wednesday, 20 November 2002 13:16 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...
for me, "trains and boats and planes" and "message to michael/martha" which are melodically very similar in fact.

amateur!!st, Saturday, 27 November 2004 23:48 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

the dionne warwick versions i guess because she's fantastic

amateur!!st, Saturday, 27 November 2004 23:49 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i like how long "trains..." stays on the one chord. also the dampened electric piano intro. sort of the model of an intelligent pop record. i like what bacharach did with the whole "baio" (sp?) bass figure (cf. drifters). took it into the stratosphere really.

amateur!!st, Saturday, 27 November 2004 23:55 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

also: singers humming the vocal melody for a few bars is always nice. warwick doesn't have a strong personality that stamps itself on every song but like a great theater singer she has astonishing filigree and applies herself fully to each song -- but with unerring taste and restraint.

amateur!!st, Saturday, 27 November 2004 23:57 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I'll second "Are You There (With Another Girl)" -- great melody and backing singers.

John Fredland (jfredland), Sunday, 28 November 2004 00:34 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Choosing kind of an "outsider" here, but I am really fond of "The Windows Of The World".

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Sunday, 28 November 2004 00:48 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Baby It's You

As performed by the Shirelles or by Smith: but Smith, being a late 60s early 70s harder edged band gets the nod. Awesome gutsy performance on vocals by (damned if I can google her name) and a hot organist playing some simmering licks. Plus they were a one hit wonder with this song. Their version changed Bacharach's arrangement much like Vanilla Fudge changed Holland/Dozier/Holland's You Keep Me Hanging On.

jim wentworth (wench), Sunday, 28 November 2004 02:39 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

64 versions of "what the world needs now is love"

Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Friday, 29 September 2006 13:00 (twelve years ago) Permalink

As performed by the Shirelles or by Smith: but Smith, being a late 60s early 70s harder edged band gets the nod. Awesome gutsy performance on vocals by (damned if I can google her name)

T'was Gayle McCormick. She had a minor solo charter two years later with "It's a Cryin' Shame."

Back to thread, my pick is the Walker Brothers' "Make It Easy on Yourself." Gives me chills every single time.

Joseph McCombs (Joseph McCombs), Saturday, 30 September 2006 02:18 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Bacharach/David wrote "Baby It's You"?! How could I have not known that? I always assumed it was Mann/Weill or some other Brill Building team.

Anyway, my first choice woulda been Love's "My Little Red Book", but apparently Burt himself hated that version. So I'll go with Dionne Warwick's "Anyone Who Had A Heart" - love those convoluted twists and turns.

Monty Von Byonga (Monty Von Byonga), Saturday, 30 September 2006 07:45 (twelve years ago) Permalink

"San Jose" or "I Say a Little Prayer" or "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," all Dionne's versions. The latter has the best rhyme: "pneumonia" and "phone ya." And I love DW's comment that she interpreted "Prayer" as a song about someone's guy being in Vietnam.

Also gotta give love to Herb Alpert's "This Guy" and "Casino Royale." So super-killer when the maracas up the rhythmic potency on the last chorus repeat.

Finally, I love BB's own "Hasbrook Heights." It seems that Bacharach's vocals give rise to more controversy among lovers of "good voices" than even Dylan's, but I like them. He's so mellow and friendly on this one, fits the weekend-squire theme perfectly.

But he's wrong about Love.

Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Saturday, 30 September 2006 08:45 (twelve years ago) Permalink


Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Saturday, 30 September 2006 09:04 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I can't OPO, it strips my gears just to try. "Walk On By," "This Guy's In Love With You" and Manfred Mann's "My Little Red Book" are the top 3 (usually).

The first two and a half discs of this --


-- are just mind-blowingly good.

The Bearnaise-Stain Bears (Rock Hardy), Saturday, 30 September 2006 12:05 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I would go with any Bacharach song that name-checks a second or third-tier American city:

"Send My Picture To Scranton, PA"
"Twenty-four Hours from Tulsa"
"Do You Know The Way To San Jose?"

hank (hank s), Saturday, 30 September 2006 14:02 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Holy shit, Amateurist, that site is a goldmine!!!

Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Saturday, 30 September 2006 14:25 (twelve years ago) Permalink

"Twenty-Four Hours From Tulsa", because I harbor a strange yet abiding love for Gene Pitney. Also, the lyrics always leave me pondering: it just seems like a very mean thing to tell this girl EVERYTHING that happened.
And to rub in the fact that he was ALMOST home, but got sidetracked by a girl who showed him where to get something to eat. Which is kind of weird in itself. I guess she was hot.

VegemiteGrrl (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 30 September 2006 18:58 (twelve years ago) Permalink

"Dionne Warwick's "Anyone Who Had A Heart" - love those convoluted twists and turns."

...and that FUCKED-UP monotone sax solo

Rev. Hoodoo (Rev. Hoodoo), Tuesday, 3 October 2006 06:40 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I also have a real soft spot for "Walk On By". Though the Dionne version is sublime, I think I would go with the Isaac Hayes version. It just sounds so haunted and wracked with regret.

Seconded but actually... no... I think I'll pick the Dionne version. A classic tune

Nathalie (stevie nixed), Tuesday, 3 October 2006 07:10 (twelve years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

Didn't realize "This Guy's In Love With You" was a great song until I heard Marshall Crenshaw play it Saturday night. Before he sang it, he told a story about how he used to torment his younger brother for having the single when they were kids.

Jazzbo, Monday, 6 October 2008 16:25 (ten years ago) Permalink

The White Stripes did a thundering version of "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself"

Dr X O'Skeleton, Monday, 6 October 2008 23:16 (ten years ago) Permalink

I'm a huge fan of the box Hip-O-Select put out of his solo releases. Those records are treasure troves of prime-era Bacharach.

Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 6 October 2008 23:50 (ten years ago) Permalink

god i love burt bacharach

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 00:08 (ten years ago) Permalink

I should also mention:

Bacharach's first post-Hal solo record, Futures in 1977, is quite the mindfuck. Operatic in places, unbearably gushy in others, it seems like every one of the tracks is about getting old, relationships ending and feeling like the music industry is passing him by. It's pretty bleak and depressing, but some of the arrangements are fascinating. Plus, it has this cover:


Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 01:17 (ten years ago) Permalink

saw him play on friday! was really nice. wish he could still sing though. :(

sean gramophone, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 01:52 (ten years ago) Permalink

What a random-ass tour schedule this is:

Sept. 27 Denver, CO (Boettcher Concert Hall)
Sept. 28 Phoenix, AZ (Orpheum Theatre)
Oct. 2 Rama, Ontario, Canada (Casino Rama Entertainment Centre)
Oct. 3 Montreal, Quebec, Canada (St-Jean Baptiste Church)
Oct. 5 Utica, NY (Stanley Theatre)
Oct. 26 Milan, Italy (Teatro Degli Arcimboldi)
Oct. 27 Florence, Italy (Teatro Verdi)
Oct. 28 Rome, Italy (Auditorium di via della Concilia)
Nov. 13 Newport News, VA (Ferguson Center for the Arts)

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 01:58 (ten years ago) Permalink

Come & Get Me by Jackie DeShannon
I love the chorus of this. She sounds heartbreaking.

sparkletuna, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 12:47 (ten years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

only picked one commercial.


satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 16 August 2011 15:02 (seven years ago) Permalink

four years pass...

Best Halloween song:


Lovecraftian horror version of same. IE, a ten hour edit.


Ned Raggett, Friday, 30 October 2015 22:40 (three years ago) Permalink

Over the last month, I've taken to using this song to wake my eight year-old daughter up for school.

Sometimes it feels like it takes ten hours.

Naive Teen Idol, Sunday, 1 November 2015 16:49 (three years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

90 today!

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 13 May 2018 00:36 (eight months ago) Permalink

going to a movie
only makes me sad
make me feel as bad
(cuz i'm not w you)
i just don't know what to do.

difficult listening hour, Sunday, 13 May 2018 02:11 (eight months ago) Permalink


The Great Atomic Cat Power (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 13 May 2018 19:04 (eight months ago) Permalink

Perhaps "Make It Easy On Yourself", but the Jackie Trent rendition. That particular orchestral arrangement is somehow more affecting than the Walker Brothers'

Maximum big surprise! (Nag! Nag! Nag!), Monday, 14 May 2018 03:05 (eight months ago) Permalink

four months pass...

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