Friday, 27 November 2015

Burt Bacharach: A Life In Song

A look back at the music maestro’s stellar career

Written by Ben Felsenburg
Ben-Felsenburg-colour-176If Frank Sinatra is the voice of the great American songbook, Burt Bacharach is the man who wrote it. The composer has a back catalogue that must make his would-be rivals weep with despair when they begin to scrawl their notes.

His many Magic Moments (the single he wrote for Perry Como in 1957) encompass Walk On By, I Say A Little Prayer, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, Anyone Who Had A Heart and Do You Know The Way To San Jose? His dozens of hits brilliantly span the genres, hopping between jazz and pop with invention and delightful surprise in tunes that launched Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield to the heights of the charts.

In Burt Bacharach: A Life In Song (Friday, BBC Four, 9pm) we discover that the man himself is no less elegant and entertaining than his music. Interviewed by Michael Grade at the Royal Festival Hall, this dapper figure belies his 87 years with a gleeful stream of anecdotes and very clearly and forgivably revels in the limelight. The stars of today’s music scene – including Alfie Boe, Joss Stone and the entrancing Laura Mvula - sing his songs, and it’s understandable that there’s a nervous edge to some of the performances in front of the great man before he takes to the piano to show how it’s done.

Behind it all there’s a matchless craft which renders these songs timeless classics: Bacharach has the kind of cool that will never go out of



The World’s Most Famous Train, Monday, Channel 4, 8pm (above, right)
Follow the Orient Express along its route and see the luxury enjoyed by passengers.

Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas , Tuesday, Channel 4, 8pm (above, left)
Kirstie Allsopp is full of clever and useful tips for making decorations, presents and a very special fondue.

What a Performance! Pioneers Of Popular Entertainment, Thursday, BBC4, 9pm
Suzy Klein and Frank Skinner take a trip back in time to the Victorian heyday of the music hall.

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