Burt Bacharach, the legendary songwriter and performer who had 73 top 40 hits in the US and 52 in the UK died at the age of 94 at his Los Angeles home. He died of natural causes.

Who was Burt Bacharach?

Bacharach was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1928 and raised in New York. He would reportedly sneak into jazz clubs at a young age to hear performers such as Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie.

He was formally trained in music in schools in Montreal, New York, and California. After serving briefly in the army, he became a piano accompanist to musicians, including Vic Damone, the Ames Brothers, and his first wife, Paula Stewart. He also worked as an arranger and conductor for Marlene Dietrich in the late 50s and early 60s.

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In 1957, Bacharach’s songwriting reached new heights when met lyricist Hal David at New York’s Brill Building. Two of their earliest hits include The Story of My Life by Marty Robbins and Magic Moments by Perry Como.

Bacharach was also able to deploy unusual and characterful time signatures due to his classical training. With David, he created classics such as I Say a Little Prayer, sung by Aretha Franklin, and What’s New Pussycat? by Tom Jones, The Look of Love by Dusty Springfield, Make It Easy on Yourself by the Walker Brothers, and so on.

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Bacharach’s music for the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, won the Oscar for the best original score while his songs from the movie Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, performed by BJ Thomas were awarded a Grammy and an Oscar in 1969.

Bacharach divorced his first wife in 1958, after which he married three more times, to Angie Dickinson in 1965, Carole Bayer Sager in 1982, and Jane Hansen in 1993. At the time of his death, he was married to Hansen. They had two children, Oliver and Raleigh. His daughter with Dickinson, Nikki Bacharach, killed herself in 2007, at the age of 40. She had a history of mental health issues.