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Award winning-composer Burt Bacharach dies at 94

Burt Bacharach, legendary composer, arranger and conductor, has died at 94. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
1 of 5 | Burt Bacharach, legendary composer, arranger and conductor, has died at 94. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Legendary composer Burt Bacharach has died at his Los Angeles home at the age of 94.

His publicist Tina Brausam confirmed the death to the New York Times and it was announced on his official Instagram page.

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Bacharach was the arranger, composer and conductor best known for his work with lyricist Hal David. The two instilled songs with romance, making some of the most classic hits of the '60s.

Some of Bacharach's best-known work with David are The Carpenter's No. 1 song, "(They Long to Be) Close to You" in 1970, Dusty Springfield's "The Look of Love" from the Casino Royale soundtrack in 1967, and several big hits for vocalist Dionne Warwick, who they met at a recording studio during a Drifters session.

Bacharach and David started working with her in 1962, first scoring with "Don't Make Me Over."

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Other hits the Bacharach/David/Warwick collaboration yielded were "I Say a Little Prayer" "Walk On By," "Alfie," "Anyone Who Had a Heart," and "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," several of which were memorably also covered by other artists.

Bacharach was born in Kansas City, Mo., on May 12, 1928. His mother was a painter and songwriter who made him take piano lessons, though he was much more drawn to jazz piano than classical in his early years.

After earning a bachelor's degree in music and serving in the Army, Bacharach worked first for actor/singer Vic Damone and then for iconic film star Marlene Dietrich. Once he and David met in a music publisher's office in 1957, their collaboration would generate most of his early successes.

"Bacharach and [Hal] David both were as new to this industry as I was, so we kind of all grew together," Warwick told People in a 2022 interview. "There was really no need for them to think that they could change anything about me-and what developed was magical, I got to tell you that. We became best friends, most family than friends, actually, and a relationship that lasted for quite a long time."

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Bacharach won six Grammy Awards and three Oscars. In 1970, he won for "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," with David, and for Best Original Score for a non-musical motion picture for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the 1969 movie that made "Raindrops" a #1 hit for B.J. Thomas.

In 1982, Bacharach struck Oscar gold again, winning for "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)," from the movie Arthur which he wrote with then-wife Carole Bayer Sager, Peter Allen, and Christopher Cross.

He and David also had a successful Broadway musical Promises Promises in 1968, an adaptation of Billy Wilder's The Apartment. It ran for over 1,281 performances anchored by the hit song "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" by Warwick.

Warwick was also an essential part of Bacharach's biggest 80s hit in collaboration with Sager. In 1986 "That's What Friends Are For" with Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder went #1 and raised millions for HIV/AIDS research, winning Song of the Year at the Grammys.

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In 1986, Bacharach and Sager also collaborated on the #1 hit, "On My Own" a duet with Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald.

In 2008, Bacharach was awarded the Grammys Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2012, President Barack Obama honored him and David with the Gershwin Award, given to those who've made outstanding achievements in music.

He is survived by Jane Hansen, his fourth wife, who he married in 1993, and his children Raleigh, Oliver, and Christopher. A daughter, Nikki, with his ex-wife, actress Angie Dickinson, died by suicide in 2007.

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