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Bacharach pens his back story

May 12, 2013|By Steve Appleford,
  • Burt Bacharach appears May 14 with Mitch Albom at the Alex Theatre in Glendale to discuss the songwriter's new autobiography, "Anyone Who Had a Heart."
Burt Bacharach appears May 14 with Mitch Albom at the Alex… (Courtesy of Live…)

Burt Bacharach was never a fan of rock 'n' roll, even as the distinctive, graceful love songs he wrote with lyricist Hal David began sharing space on the frenetic '60s and early '70s pop charts. His metier wasn't blues or psychedelia but smooth drama and sophistication in songs that bounced with the energy of the time: "The Look of Love," "What's New, Pussycat?" and "Alfie."

The composer continued to score hits after the acrimonious breakup of the Bacharach-David partnership, which had propelled the likes of Dionne Warwick, Tom Jones and Celia Black into the pop stratosphere — first with then-wife Carole Bayer Sager and, more recently, Elvis Costello. His long history in popular music will be the subject of an onstage discussion between Bacharach and author Mitch Albom at the Alex Theatre in Glendale on Tuesday.

The occasion is the publication of his new memoir, "Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music." Next month, PBS broadcasts the special "Burt Bacharach's Best: My Music," with many of the original singers who worked with the songwriter. Now 84, he's also planning a live musical interpretation of "Painted From Memory," his 1998 album with Costello. This week, as he rode across Manhattan, Bacharach spoke with Marquee about the book and his ongoing career.


Marquee: Any reason for the timing of the book?

Bacharach: There was no particular timing for the book. I got talked into writing this memoir six or seven years ago. I got a little push from people I respect about getting the stories down and different aspects of my life. I was less interested in looking backwards than a forward direction — and a present direction, writing more music.

Did looking back change your opinion about any events from your career?

When I decided I was going to do it, the condition I had to make with myself was that it was going to be totally open. No sugar-coating things. There's nothing in there I'm not OK with. My behavior was great at certain times with certain people, but if you're going to do something like this, go with candor.

About nine years ago, you and Ronald Isely performed an emotional show at the Wilshire Theatre in Los Angeles. Hal David was in the audience. Do you have regrets about the end of that partnership?

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