“Never be ashamed to write a melody that people remember.” Burt Bacharach is alleged to have said that. In terms of American composers who have come up with memorable melodies, Bacharach, who died this week at 94, is a shoo-in for a musical Mount Rushmore that might include the likes of Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, and Brian Wilson. Songwriter, arranger, pianist, wearer of quality knitwear, spouse of impressive women (including Angie Dickinson and Carole Bayer Sager), mainstay of the sort of television programming that vanished before the end of the last century, hero to generations successively raised on Johnny Mercer, Bob Dylan, and the Clash: Bacharach was all of these things and more, an avatar of easy-listening insouciance whose songs have caught the ear of artists across every genre imaginable.
We could go on and on, but let the music speak for itself. Here are 30 Bacharach tunes, covered every which way, suggesting the composer’s enduring ubiquity: There will always be something there to remind us of Burt Bacharach.
Mark Rozzo is an Editor at Large for AIR MAIL and the author of Everybody Thought We Were Crazy: Dennis Hopper, Brooke Hayward, and 1960s Los Angeles