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Legendary composer Burt Bacharach, dead at 94


The composer of some of the country’s best pop songs, Burt Bacharach, passed away of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles. He was 94.

Bacharach’s musical catalog consists of numerous hits including “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” and “I Say a Little Prayer”. 

In addition, he wrote the classic “Walk on By” which was recorded by Dionne Warwick. Many of Bacharach’s hits were written for and performed by Warwick. The two met in 1961 and Warwick had 39 of her hit singles penned by the musical genius. 

During his career, Bacharach scored 73 Top 40 hits in the United States and 52 in the United Kingdom. Bacharach also scored three Academy Awards, and eight Grammys, and was a prize-winning Broadway composer for “Promises, Promises.” 

The composer won his first Oscar in 1970 for the score of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and for the song “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.” His second win came in 1982 when he and his then-wife Carole Bayer Sager won for “Best That You Can Do,” the theme from “Arthur.” Bacharach also did movie soundtracks including “What’s New, Pussycat?,” “Alfie” and the 1967 James Bond spoof “Casino Royale.”

Bacharach began his career as a songwriter in the 1950s and shot to fame after he became Hollywood icon Marlene Dietrich’s pianist. Bacharach songs have also been recorded by over 1,000 different singers. 

He also worked with icons such as Aretha Franklin, Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, and Dr. Dre in his later years. In 1999 Bacharach got to bring his music to an entirely new generation when he made a cameo appearance in the hit film “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” playing piano on top of a bus alongside Mike Myers and Vanessa Williams to his famous tune, “What the World Needs Now.”

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1928, Bacharach spent his childhood living in New York City with his father, a syndicated columnist, and his mother, a pianist who inspired him to study music. A classically trained musician, Bacharach studied at schools in Montreal, New York, and California.

In 2012, President Barack Obama awarded him the Gershwin Prize to celebrate his contributions to music.

Bacharach is survived by his wife Jane Hansen, as well as his children Oliver, Raleigh, and Cristopher.

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