A Conversation with Burt Bacharach

Early Burt

From 'The Look of Love, the Burt Bacharach Collection' on Rhino Records:

Bacharach performs at a pre-Christmas concert in Hollywood. i i

Bacharach performs at a pre-Christmas concert in Hollywood. Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images
Bacharach performs at a pre-Christmas concert in Hollywood.

Bacharach performs at a pre-Christmas concert in Hollywood.

Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

Back in the 1960s, Burt Bacharach was of the musical opinion that what the world needed was "love, sweet love."

Often in partnership with lyricist Hal David, Bacharach produced some of pop music's lushest material: "Walk On By," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" and so many more.

But at 77, he found himself outraged at the state of the world. So he decided to write about it in song. The result is the CD At This Time. The lyrics are spare — the album has actually been nominated for a Grammy as best instrumental work — and they're also grim:

"There was a song/I remember/Said 'What the world needs now...'/Where is the love/Where did it go/Who broke our hearts/'Cause we need to know/Where are the dreams/That we once knew..."

In a conversation with Debbie Elliott, Bacharach sheds light on his music... the timeless and the timely.

A Burt Bacharach Quiz

Who Sang It?

Burt Bacharach has written an extraordinary number of hit songs for a wide variety of artists. Sure, you know 'em when you hear 'em. But can you name the singer or group who actually made them a hit? Hint: only one of these answers is Dionne Warwick.

"Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" (Bonus points for the movie it's associated with)

"Make It Easy on Yourself"

"A House Is Not a Home"

"What The World Needs Now Is Love"

"I'll Never Fall in Love Again"

"Alfie" (Bonus points for the singer who recently reprised it for the remake of the film)

"(They Long to Be) Close to You"

Purchase Featured Music

At This Time

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
At This Time
Artist
Burt Bacharach
Label
Sony
Released
2005

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

The Look of Love

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
The Look of Love
Artist
Burt Bacharach/Various Artists
Label
Rhino Records
Released
1998

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

At This Time

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
At This Time
Artist
Burt Bacharach
Label
Sony
Released
2005

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Look of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection [2-CD 50 Tracks]

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Look of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection [2-CD 50 Tracks]
Artist
Burt Bacharach
Label
Warner
Released
2001

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.