“The hits he penned for the likes of Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield simply invented the lounge-jazz genre in the 1960s and 1970s.” – BBC
Primary Wave Music Publishing announced today they have entered into a multi-million-dollar, long-term strategic partnership with the award-winning, iconic composer, songwriter, record producer, and performer Burt Bacharach. Considered to be one of the most important composers of pop music in the 20th century, Bacharach is “the artist behind one of America’s great songbooks” according to The Guardian. His songs have been recorded by a who’s who of artists including Perry Como, Dionne Warwick, The Beatles, Steve Tyrell, The Shirelles, Tom Jones, Dusty Springfield, Keely Smith, Neil Diamond, Patti Labelle, Elvis Costello, Rod Stewart and more. The three-time Oscar winner’s partnership with Primary Wave will include access to the dynamic publishing firm’s marketing team, branding team, publicity department, and publishing infrastructure which includes digital strategy, licensing, synch opportunities and film & TV production.
Primary Wave will work with the Grammy winner to market his name and likeness, in addition to managing all daily digital marketing activities. The powerhouse publishing firm will administer and market the honored composer’s songs, which includes 48 top 10 hits, nine #1 songs, and more than 500 compositions. The deal also gives Primary Wave an option to acquire a partnership interest in the multi-faceted composer’s works.
The agreement includes many of the Songwriter Hall of Fame Inductee’s greatest hits written throughout his 60+ year career such as “I Say A Little Prayer,” “They Long To Be Close To You,” “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head,” “That’s What Friends Are For,” “Walk On By,” “What The World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love,” “There’s Always Something There To Remind Me,” “On My Own,” “Do You Know The Way To San Jose” and many others.
Born in Kansas City, MO, Bacharach studied cello and piano as a child, and was later transplanted to New York City with his parents. The time spent in New York gave him a chance to sneak into clubs to watch his bebop heroes Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker; he also played in several jazz bands during the 1940s. Bacharach studied music theory and composition at the Mannes School in New York, at the New School for Social Research, at Montreal’s McGill University, and at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.
His first hit came from Marty Robbins in late 1957 when Robbins took “The Story of My Life” to the American Top 20 and the number one spot in England. The single was also notable for its lyricist, Hal David, who became Bacharach’s songwriting partner and collaborated on many of his big hits. The Bacharach/David team followed up in January 1958 with Perry Como’s “Magic Moments,” another U.K. chart-topper and a Top Five entry in America. In 1958, he left for Europe to tour with Marlene Dietrich. He returned in 1961, and wrote several songs for the Drifters with Bob Hilliard before reuniting with Hal David. At an arranging session, he found the singer who became the ultimate vehicle for his songs, Dionne Warwick.
By late 1962, Bacharach and David began focusing most of their composing energy on Warwick, who was the recipient of 15 Top 40 singles from 1962 to 1968. Throughout the ’60s and well into the 80s, Bacharach moved into film scoring for such films as “What’s New Pussycat?,” “Alfie,” “Casino Royale,” “Arthur,” “Baby Boom,” and more. The film featuring his most celebrated score, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, won Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Theme Song. Bacharach and David began working on the musical Promises, Promises in the late ’60s which not only won a TONY Award, but won a Grammy for cast album.
Bacharach hit the charts himself in 1969, with the show’s “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” reaching the Top 100. Surprisingly, this was not his only foray into recording; Bacharach had reached number four in the U.K. charts in May 1965 with “Trains and Boats and Planes,” and he released several popular solo albums during the late ’60s. In 1970, the Carpenters took “(They Long to Be) Close to You” to number one in the U.S. and in 1971, Bacharach gathered several accolades for an album featuring renditions of his previous hit compositions. In 1981, he collaborated with Christopher Cross, Carole Bayer Sager, and Peter Allen on the Oscar-winning “Arthur’s Theme.”
1986 was one of his finest years, with two American number ones: “That’s What Friends Are For” and a duet by Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald titled “On My Own.” In 1993, Bacharach contributed songs to James Ingram, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Tevin Campbell. Around the same time, many alternative bands began name-checking the hitmaker as an influence, and Oasis front man Noel Gallagher joined him on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall as well as including a picture of him on the cover of Oasis’ Definitely Maybe. BBC-TV focused on Bacharach in a January 1996 documentary, and a three-disc retrospective of his compositions was released by Rhino in 1998. That same year he collaborated with Elvis Costello on the acclaimed Painted From Memory, and was celebrated at an all-star concert at Radio City Music Hall which later formed the basis for the LPOne Amazing Night. The 2005 album At This Time, which won the Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental, found Bacharach writing, for the first time, some of the lyrics. He continued writing, recording and performing throughout 2007 and 2008 and, in 2012, he and Hal David received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize in honor of their lifetime achievements in popular music. Bacharach also holds honoree degrees from Berklee School of Music, the University of South Carolina, Dartmouth College, and McGill University. In 2020, he received the ICON Award from the Guild of Music Supervisors.
Bacharach’s global audiences span several generations, and he is viewed as the unique combination of one of the greatest composers of all time and the ultra-cool cult hero of the contemporary music set. Along with Bob Dylan, John Lennon & Paul McCartney and Paul Simon, Bacharach is a legend of popular music. He revolutionized the music of the 1950s and 1960s and is regularly bracketed with legendary names as one of a handful of visionaries who pioneered new forms of music from the second half of the 20th Century and continues into the 21st Century.