Burt Bacharach has died at the age of 94.
Remembered as songwriting’s Beethoven as artists pay tribute to the late hit maker, the legendary composer – who worked on the likes of ‘Walk On By’, ‘I Say a Little Prayer’, ‘Do You Know the Way to San Jose’ and ‘Alfie’s Theme’ – passed away from natural causes at his Los Angeles home on Thursday Feb 9 (Aust Time), his publicist has confirmed.
Burt composed hundreds of songs in the 1950s to 1980s, many in collaboration with lyricist Hal David. He worked on many movie scores, including ‘What’s New, Pussycat?’, Alfie’, and James Bond parody ‘Casino Royale’.
He was an eight-time Grammy winner and won two Oscars in 1970, for the ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ score and for the song ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head’. He then took home his third Oscar in 1982, with then-wife Carole Bayer Sager, in recognition of their track ‘Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)’
He was born in Missouri but moved to New York City at a young age and was encouraged by his pianist mother to pursue music, eventually securing a place at the music conservatory at McGill University in Montreal, where he wrote his first song.
Burt was drafted into the army in the 1940s and was on active duty during the Korean War, but when officers discovered his gifts, he was sent to Germany, where he wrote orchestrations for a local recreation centre.