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Hit Maker! - Burt Bacharach Plays His Hits

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Album Review

Composer and arranger Burt Bacharach is perhaps best known for his work with lyricist Hal David. The pair practically unleashed an entire subgenre of pop music beginning in the late '50s. After racking up numerous hits for other folks — notably female vocalists Dionne Warwick stateside and Dusty Springfield in England — the artist began exploring his considerable back catalog. While living in London in the early '60s, Bacharach recorded his first collection of Bacharach/David songs, aptly titled Hit Maker! (1965). As the package was issued under the Burt Bacharach moniker, many thought that the tunes would actually feature him singing and playing. Instead, the slightly updated arrangements are scored for a decidedly more discerning and mature ear. Although listeners would never know it by the practically ersatz interpretations, future Led Zeppelin members and mid-'60s London recording session musicians Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones were contributors to the likes of "Walk on By," "Don't Make Me Over," "Blue on Blue," "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me," "Wives and Lovers," and "Anyone Who Had a Heart." In the context of those familiar melodies, some of the second-tier selections, such as "And So Goodbye, My Love," "The Last One to Be Loved," and "Saturday Sunshine" are among the most memorable. Hit Maker! became just that in the U.K., as the album rocketed into the Top Ten and the single "Trains and Boats and Planes" took off after being aired on BBC Radio, eventually spending 11 weeks on the charts. The unqualified success didn't translate stateside, even though the package was reissued — with some slight modifications — twice, first as The Man! Burt Bacharach — His Songs (1965) and then several years later as Burt Bacharach Plays His Hits (1969). Nearly four decades later, Hit Maker! was included — along with a rare mono version of "Saturday Sunshine" from the same time frame — as part of the limited-edition five-disc Something Big: The Complete A&M Years...And More (1994) box set.


Born: 12 May 1928 in Kansas City, MO

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With a hit-single track record spanning four decades, Burt Bacharach became one of the most important composers of popular music in the 20th century, almost equal to such classic tunesmiths as George Gershwin or Irving Berlin. His sophisticated yet breezy productions borrowed from cool jazz, soul, Brazilian bossa nova, and traditional pop to virtually define and undoubtedly transcend the staid forms of Brill Building adult pop during the 1960s. Born May 12, 1928, in Kansas City, he studied cello,...
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Hit Maker! - Burt Bacharach Plays His Hits, Burt Bacharach
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