The Bacharach in Me
All my life, I have been listening to a wide variety of music. Yet, nothing soothes me more than the classic sounds of Burt Bacharach.
There’s just something in his songs that makes me want to bring out my album collection after a crazy day at the office, or when I’m depressed, or when I’m simply just bored. I’d start playing the old-time favorites - Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head, The Look of Love, This Guy's In Love With You, Reach Out for Me, (They Long to Be) Close to You, Walk On By, Wives and Lovers, Make It Easy On Yourself, Don't Go Breaking My Heart, Don't Make Me Over, One Less Bell to Answer, Alfie, The April Fools, (There's) Always Something There to Remind Me, Do You Know the Way to San Jose? These are just to name a few.
On Hal David’s lyrics
Perhaps it’s the unique way Bacharach fuses ballad and jazz into a charming rhythmic pattern that so captivates me. And I love Hal David’s lyrics! They’re timeless and speak a great deal of life’s valuable lessons like what the world needs now is love, sweet love. When I was a pre-teen attempting to write music, I would pattern my lyrics on those of David’s. I’d try to come up with rhyme similar to "A guy with a pin to burst your bubble / That's what you get for all your trouble." But inexperienced as I was, I never came close to it.
My love for Broadway musicals
I love Broadway musicals, but I’ve never seen or gotten hold of the soundtrack Promises, Promises. Yet, this title tune and the hits I Say A Little Prayer, I'll Never Fall In Love Again and Knowing When to Leave (the late Karen Carpenter's version is just amazing!) never fail to allure me.
When Ross Hunter’s film Lost Horizon was shown in Manila’s cinemas in 1973, I just had to watch it! I was a fourth grader back then, and I didn’t care much about the cast nor the story. Nor did I care if it was listed as one of the worst pictures in the Guinness Book of World Records. All I wanted was to do was..yes, listen to the score! It was, of course, by Bacharach and David! And it’s strange how it was only a few years back that I finally bought the soundtrack in CD form. This includes the hit Living Together, Growing Together. Though not too popular, one of my favorite tracks is I Might Frighten Her Away which I consider a delightful duet for mushy love song suckers like me.
Here’s “I Might Frighten Her Away” from "Lost Horizon". I'm a sucker for duets and I love this song. Just listen to the guitar.
On a long road trip, I enjoy listening to Nikki and Pacific Coast Highway, two of Bacharach’s instrumentals. I would also recommend instrumental enthusiasts to listen to Time and Tenderness (the seductive sound of the horn section is just awesome!) and Another Spring Will Rise from the 1977 album Futures.
Here's how "Nikki" sounds :
Here’s “Time and Tenderness”. Dig the sound of the horn section!
Which of the above melodies did you enjoy listening to?
On Carole Bayer Sager
When Bacharach teamed up, married, and eventually divorced lyricist Carole Bayer Sager (who wrote the popular That's What Friends Are For), he produced, in the early ‘80s, her solo album Sometimes Late at Night which is perhaps unknown to many Bacharach fans. It contains a string of mellow and soft rock tunes, one of my favorites being Just Friends (Sager’s duet with the late Michael Jackson). I recall how I used to pester my sisters who travelled frequently to the U.S. to get me this album – by hook or by crook! They would return to Manila empty-handed, relating to me how their search in “every record bar in the U.S.” ended in vain. “Are you sure it exists?” they would joke me, and I would retort, “Of course, it does!” Thanks to the advent of the YouTube, I finally searched and found the album - and downloaded it!
Indeed, my passion for Burt Bacharach’s music will never die. It’s something I’d like to pass on to future generations of music lovers.
Despite the advent of metallic rock and punk, I still love listening to the music of the '60s and the '70s. But even as the artists come and go - The Sandpipers, The Lettermen, The Association, Sergio Mendes - nothing can ever relax me more than Burt Bacharach's melodies.
It's his music that I'd like to pass on to the younger generation.