Burt Bacharach is truly one of the song writing greats.
One of my first Music Design projects was creating a playlist with original versions of his tunes contrasting with a more contemporary interpretation (i.e. “Always Something There to Remind Me” – Dionne Warwick/Naked Eyes). There were literally dozens of great choices and I thought the end result of the program was effective in demonstrating the shear amount of work along with highlighting his particular brand of melody.
Since the late 1950s, the prolific songwriter has penned 73 U.S. Top 40 hits. He carted home numerous awards (including Grammys and Songwriting Oscars) over the years, and became a ubiquitous visitor to millions of Americans on TV, enjoying pop culture omnipresence on the order of Lady Gaga throughout the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s.
More importantly, Bacharach’s composition style–infectious melody wedded with jazz and boss nova tinges, complex arrangements, and surprising chord combinations–continues to wield a potent influence on modern musicians. Elvis Costello collaborated with the composer on the 1998 album Painted from Memory, and Bacharach’s most recent release of all-original material (2005’s At This Time) included contributions from Costello, Rufus Wainwright, and Dr. Dre(!).
Two-dozen-plus examples of that singular style followed over the course of the nearly two-hour long show. Bacharach’s incalculably deep catalog practically demanded a heavy reliance on medleys, but his imaginative arrangements kept those song samplers from sliding into rote highlight reels. There was humor to go with the hits, too. One of the medleys included a playful rendition of one of his first recorded songs, the theme to the 1958 B-horror classic, The Blob.
Clad smartly in a suit and sneakers, Bacharach held amiable court at the center of the performance, ceding most of the vocal duties to his band mates while he switched between a grand piano and a Yamaha keyboard. His between-song banter alone merited the price of admission, as he told self-deprecating and amusing anecdotes about everything from working in New York’s legendary Brill Building to conducting and arranging for screen legend Marlene Dietrich.
The show’s most magical moment came mid-set. Accompanying himself solo on piano, Bacharach crooned the Hal David-penned lyrics of “Alfie” in a sandy, weathered voice that seemed to mirror every richly-lived second of his 85 years on Earth.
A vast variety of his genius can be found throughout Mood from clients as diverse as home decor stores, well-known fashion brands, and smoothie shops.
– Submitted by Jim Fisher, Music Design