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Burt Bacharach/Dionne Warwick Medley

This is a bit of the third soundtrack of the 1960s — the one that wasn’t rock-and-roll and the one that wasn’t afraid of it.

I purposely followed yesterday’s post on The Ramones with one on Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Both the Ramones and Bacharach/David took what could easily be dismissed — simplistic head-banging proto-punk and light pop — and found the art within.

Of course, both aren’t to everyone’s taste. It seems to me, however, that The Ramones and Bacharach/David brilliantly succeeded in taking things well beyond any superficial characterization of their respective genres. Isn’t that the point of art?

The list of artists that have done these songs suggests that people in the business understand the brilliance of Bacharach (who wrote the music) and David (the lyricist).

Here Stevie Wonder plays Alfie at a White House reception at which Bacharach and David received The Gerswhin Prize for Popular Song. Another hit for the team was the song Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, which was sung by B.J. Thomas on the soundtrack of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. 

A “selected” discography is at an unofficial Bacharach’s website. The site says that he has performances scheduled in the coming months for San Diego and Tokyo.

Note: A visitor at DailyKos–which is kind enough to let folks like me cross-post–suggested that this post lacked anything on the Bacharach collaboration with Elvis Costello. The commenter suggested I Don’t Know What to Do With Myself.

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Reading Music

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Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.