Burt Bacharach celebrated is 83rd birthday just a few days ago and the BBC television have been showing documentaries and live performances. Burt’s music has had a profound influence on my life, but you know it wasn’t just Burt that penned all those hits we all love, there was also Hal David his song writing partner and he deserves credit too. Then I came to think of all the song writers that have played a big role in my life they were all in a partnership. So here’s my take on the five top song writing pairs of my choice.
It was very hard to choose between the best two teams of songwriters but finally I settled on Bacharach and David. It was the Dionne Warwick hit that first brought there name to my notice. Walk On By began a life long love of the voice of Dionne Warwick, I had all her vinyl albums in my collection at one time and even today I eagerly await any new album she releases, only just a few years ago I have the frill of attending one of her concerts at the Embassy, Skegness, truly a night to remember. Many top artists of the 60s chose Bacharach/David songs to launch there career, Gene Pitney - Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa, Sandy Shore – Always Something There To Remind Me, Cilla Black – Anyone Who Had A Heart, The Walker Brothers – Make It Easy On Yourself and The Carpenters – Close To You to name just a few and all of them rate very high on my favourite play list. Bacharach/David wrote some great songs for two of my all time favourite Female singers, one I’ve already mentioned in Dionne Warwick the other was in my opinion the British greatest female singer of her age and that was Dusty Springfield who had major hits with The Look of Love and IDon’t Know What Else to Do With Myself.
It was another song sung by Perry Como that had the most effect on my life, it was in 1983 having done some DJ work using other peoples equipment, that I decided to buy some second hand decks and a few lights and go on the road with my own mobile disco, but I wanted a name and a catchy song for my signature tune. I finally settled on the name Magic Moments, because it fitted my idea of mainly being an Oldies Disco playing hits from the 50s/60s/70s and at the end of every night I would always finish with Perry Como’s Magic Moments. It was an inspired choice, many who booked us remembered our name because of that song and the Bacharach/David song was to give us 8 years of fun on the road. So if I have to pick one song by Bacharach and Hal David above all the others it has to be Magic Moments
My second Choice and one that nearly became my first choice has to be John Lennon/Paul McCartney, it was them who started my life long love affair with popular music, I bought all of there Albums up to Abbey Road, they changed the course of popular music for ever, it was because of there songs and influence that started my music collection and knowledge of 1960s popular music that eventually led to my DJ work. I think I wore out at least two copies of the Sgt Pepper Album I couldn’t get enough of it. Technically you could say that the partnership wasn’t a true partnership because both claimed that they had penned songs separately but added them all under the title of Lennon/McCartney but I can’t believe that they didn’t influence each other in there writing especially in the early years. For me Paul McCartney made the greatest influence of the two and in Yesterday the song that has been sung and recorded by most of the artists. But if I had to chose a favourite McCartney song then it would have to be ‘In my Life’ because of the lyrics. My favourite Beatles Album at the moment is the Love Album which was commissioned for the Cirque du Soleil show, the album is collection of Beatles tracks remastered by George Martin and made into a continues mix of music that brings the sound of the Beatles right up to date, for anyone who is not familiar with the Beatles works this album is a brilliant introduction.
My next choice of singer song writer partnership is Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. Neil started is career as a singer songwriter in the Brill Building in New York. The Brill building was like a hit factory that churned out hit after hit after hit. Other writers working there included Burt Bacharach, Carol King, Neil Diamond and Paul Simon. Neil got together with Greenfield whilst working in the Brill Building and a string of hits such as Oh Carol, Breaking up is hard to do and Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen, he became known as the king of Shalala’s because of some of his lyrics, he also wrote many hits for other artists like Stupid Cupid for Connie Francis. One of his later compositions with Howard Greenfield was a big hit with Tony Christie I’m referring to Amarillo, which was also a great tune to be played on my Disco at party nights. He also corroborated with other writers like Frank Sinatra (The Hungry Years) and Elvis Presley (Solitaire), But my Favourite Sedaka song has to be a song co-written with Phil Cody, Laughter in the rain.
My fourth Singer Songwriter partnership is Elton John/Bernie Taupin, a friend played me Goodbye Yellow Brick Road the double album and I became an instant fan. The Yellow Brick Road album has remained one of my top ten most loved albums even till today. Right from the haunting opening tune (Funeral for a friend) to the rock Classic (Saturday nights alright for fighting) the album is pure magic. It includes most of Elton John’s early hits such as Candle in the Wind, Your Song, Bernie and the Jets and the title track Yellow Brick Road but some of the other tracks on the album I like more than the hits. It’s a story book album with great lyrics, Elton John/Bernie Taupin continued to have many great hits after that album and influence my music in many ways. My favourite song as to be Your Song the lyrics are just perfect.
My Final choice of songwriter partnerships because of there genius and because of the great please they gave myself and my wife through there music is Richard Rogers and Oscar Hamilton, I have always been a big fan of there Musical Films such as The King and I and Carousal and my particular favourite South Pacific and my wife as always loved the Sound of Music. On her 50th Birthday year I took her to Austria to see and experience some of the places from the film and our best memory as to be Salzburg where many of the songs were performed, looking back I think that was probably our best holiday abroad.
Of course there were many more songwriter partnerships such as Leiber and stroller and Simon and Garfunkel but I feel those five have had the greatest influence on my life.