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Burt Bacharach

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Bert Bacharach


Burt Freeman Bacharach (b. 12 May 1928, Kansas City, Mo.) is an American composer, songwriter, record producer, pianist, and singer.

Bacharach grew up in the Forest Hills section of New York City, graduating from Forest Hills High School in 1946. Bacharach studied music (Bachelor of Music, 1948) at Montreal's McGill University, under Helmut Blume, at the Mannes School of Music, and at the Music Academy of the West in Montecito, California. During this period he studied a range of music, including jazz harmony, which has since been important to songs which are generally considered pop music. His composition teachers included Darius Milhaud.

Following his tour of duty in the United States Army, Bacharach spent the next three years as a pianist and conductor for popular singer Vic Damone. In 1956, at age 28, Bacharach's productivity increased when composer Peter Matz recommended him to Marlene Dietrich, who needed an arranger and conductor for her nightclub shows.

In 1957, Bacharach and lyricist Hal David met while at the Brill Building in New York City, and began their writing partnership. They received a career breakthrough when their song The Story of My Life was recorded by Marty Robbins, becoming a number 1 hit on the U.S. in 1957. In the early and mid-1960s, Bacharach wrote well over a hundred songs with David. In 1961 Bacharach discovered singer Dionne Warwick while she was a session accompanist.

A six-time Grammy Award winner and three-time Academy Award winner, Bacharach's songs have been recorded by more than 1,000 different artists. As of 2014, he had written 73 U.S. and 52 UK Top 40 hits. He is considered one of the most important composers of 20th-century popular music. Songs that he co-wrote which have topped the Billboard Top 100 include The Look of Love (1967), This Guy's in Love with You (1968), Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head (1969), (They Long to Be) Close to You (1970), Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) (1981), That's What Friends Are For (1986) and On My Own (1986).

His music is characterized by unusual chord progressions, influenced by his background in jazz harmony, and uncommon selections of instruments for small orchestras.

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