The acclaimed and prolific composer, songwriter, record producer, and pianist Burt Bacharach has died. He was 94. The force behind such pop classics as “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” and the Shirelles’ “Baby It’s You,” he achieved major hits in a variety of genres spanning from the ‘50s to the ‘80s. With longtime collaborator Hal David he also wrote “Say a Little Prayer,” Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” and “Walk On By” – all hits for Dionne Warwick.
Bacharach also wrote hits for Perry Como, Tom Jones, and Neil Diamond. He won two Academy Awards for best song: for “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” and “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do),” written with Peter Allen, Carole Bayer Sager and Christopher Cross. His original score for the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid included “Raindrops” (a No. 1 hit for B.J. Thomas), and won an Oscar for best original score for a nonmusical motion picture.
A Facebook post read, “It is with saddened hearts that we share the passing of our father, husband and friend. He gave the world so much, and we are eternally grateful. The music is always there, so please keep listening. We send our love from team Bacharach, because that’s what friends are for.”
With Carole Bayer Sager he wrote “That’s What Friends Are For,” first recorded in 1982 by Rod Stewart, and perhaps better known for the 1985 cover by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder. That recording was billed as Dionne Warwick & Friends and released as a charity single for AIDS research and prevention. It became the number one single of 1986 in the U.S. and won the Grammys for Best Pop Performance by a Duo as well as Song of the Year. The single raised over $3 million for the cause.
Over his long and legendary career, Bacharach earned nearly every major award in music, including six Grammys, three Oscars, and with Hal David – the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song (awarded by the Library of Congress).