Burt Bacharach’s death ‘like losing a family member’, says Dionne Warwick

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Dionne Warwick has remembered her “dear friend and musical partner” Burt Bacharach and said the death of the composer “is like losing a family member”.

The composer of classic pop songs including I Say A Little Prayer and Walk On By died on Thursday at the age of 94.

In a statement given to the PA news agency, 82-year-old American singer Warwick, who sang hits written by Bacharach including I’ll Never Fall In Love Again and Do You Know The Way To San Jose, said: “Burt’s transition is like losing a family member.

“On the lighter side we laughed a lot and had our run ins but always found a way to let each other know our family-like roots were the most important part of our relationship.

“My heartfelt condolences go out to his family letting them know he is now peacefully resting and I too will miss him.”

Bacharach’s publicist confirmed to PA that he died surrounded by relatives at home on Wednesday, and said his family requested privacy at this time.

The songwriter and pianist wrote hundreds of songs from the 1960s to the 1980s, many with his long-standing lyricist Hal David, who died in 2012 aged 91.

Bacharach, who is considered one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century, also wrote hits for artists including Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield, Sir Tom Jones and the Carpenters.

Springfield was one of his best-known collaborators, producing a series of hits that are still well-played today, including The Look Of Love and I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, while he also composed What’s New, Pussycat? and Promise Her Anything for Sir Tom.

Noel Gallagher was among those paying tribute to Bacharach, sharing a photograph of the songwriter on Instagram, captioning it: “RIP Maestro. It was a pleasure to have known you.”

American trumpet player and singer Herb Alpert, whose track This Guy’s In Love With You was written by Bacharach and David, said in a statement to PA: “Burt was a dear friend… Who was a humble creative giant with a big heart.”

Sir Elton John hailed Bacharach as “the Rolls Royce of songwriters” in a touching tribute posted to Instagram.

Oscar-winning songwriter Diane Warren said the field had “lost its Beethoven” after the death of Bacharach.

Warren, who has written for stars including Whitney Houston, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Aretha Franklin, tweeted: “The songwriting world has lost its Beethoven today. Compose in Power forever Burt Bacharach.”

Dave Davies, co-founder and guitarist of The Kinks, also praised Bacharach as a “great inspiration” to his own music.

He tweeted: “Very sad day, probably one of the most influential songwriters of our time. He was a great inspiration. Rest in peace Burt Bacharach.”

Boyzone singer Ronan Keating said it was an “honour” to make the 2011 album When Ronan Met Burt with the late composer.

He shared a video clip reflecting on how challenging Bacharach’s songs were to sing, adding: “The presence that he has, the respect that everybody has for him, is just incredible and I have to say I was intimidated.”

He wrote: “Heartbreaking news today. Such an honour to make this album with the great man. He gave us so much through his life. Thank you Burt. X”

Kiss frontman Paul Stanley reflected on the body of work Bacharach has left behind, writing on Twitter: “Burt Bacharach… What a loss but what a treasure of amazing songs he’s left us.

“His work with Hal David, Carole Bayer Sager and others, share an effortless combination of simplicity & sophistication. Walk On By? That’s What Friends Are For? Alfie? This Guy’s In Love With You? WOW.”

Simply Red also shared a black and white photo of Bacharach as they paid tribute, captioning the post: “Farewell Genius.. RIP #BurtBacharach”.

Bacharach was nominated for 21 Grammy Awards, winning six, during a career which spanned seven decades.

He was also a three-time Oscar winner, receiving two Academy Awards in 1970 for his original score for Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and for Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head.

In 1982 he and his then-wife, lyricist Carole Bayer Sager, won the Oscar for Best That You Can Do from Arthur.

Burt Bacharach death
Burt Bacharach performing on the Pyramid stage at the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset (Yui Mok/PA)

In 2008, he was proclaimed music’s “greatest living composer” as he accepted the Grammy lifetime achievement award.

More recently, Bacharach developed a songwriting partnership with Elvis Costello, the British new wave singer-songwriter, and they were due to release a compilation of their published songs from the last 30 years in the coming months.

In 2015, he played on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset, 15 years after he was originally scheduled to perform but was forced to pull out due to a shoulder injury.

Missouri-born Bacharach developed a sound that incorporated jazz, soul and bossa nova, and was easily recognisable no matter which of the many performers he worked with was delivering vocals.

He is survived by his fourth wife Jane Hansen, who he married in 1993, and his three children – Oliver and Raleigh from his marriage to Hansen, and Cristopher who he shared with ex-wife Sager.

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