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Burt Bacharch. Wikimedia Commons
Want you Bacharach

Want you Bacharach

THE MUSIC MAKER ·

You can't help thinking that studying music - especially jazz harmony - at University must have been a defining factor on the road to Bacharach's success

PETER EDGERTON WWW.PETEREDGERTON.COM

Friday, 17 February 2023, 15:36

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In the same way that a weird yet persistent attraction to Daphne from Scooby-Doo around the age of nine made me realise there was going to be more to being a teenage boy than football, Walk Right Back by the Everly Brothers and This Guy's In Love With You by Herp Albert awoke my musical sensibilities at a very tender age.

Last week the composer of This Guy's In Love With You, Burt Bacharach, died aged ninety-four.

He lived a life awash with great achievements, not least marrying Police Woman, Angie Dickinson in 1965. The list of hit songs he wrote is quite extraordinary, too; from Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head to Walk On By; from I Say a Little Prayer to the sublime Make It Easy On Yourself. Imagine being the man who composed hits for Dionne Warwick, The Walker Brothers, Aretha Franklin and, er, well, ok, B J Thomas.

You can't help thinking that studying music - especially jazz harmony - at University must have been a defining factor on the road to Bacharach's success. Compare and contrast with many current hits having been composed by a group of blokes in baseball caps and tattoos surrounded by banks of buttons and knobs, striving to compensate in decibels for what may be lacking in musical imagination.

In 1968, Bacharach was in hospital in Boston, recovering from pneumonia just days before the scheduled previews of the play Promises Promises for which he and Hal David had written the songs. The producer realised late in the day that they were one song short and, with only a couple of days to go before the first performance, the duo were asked to come up with one more number. Inspired by Bacharach's hospitalisation, David wrote some lyrics including the marvellous rhyming couplet: 'What do you get when you kiss a girl?/ You get enough germs to catch pneumonia/After you do, she'll never phone ya.'

Bacharach wrote the melody 'faster than I had ever written any song in my life' and the song, I'll Never Fall In Love Again, went on to become the outstanding hit from the score and to spend weeks on the charts in various countries throughout the world. It's a great story.

So, as Burt Bacharach retires to the easy listening lounge in the sky, I'm tempted to play This Guy's In Love With You full belt and lose myself in a fug of nostalgia. Which does make me wonder: whatever became of Daphne?

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