πŸ“œ Feature Dionne Warwick Sings the Complete Bacharach/David Songbook

Feature article
Combining tracks from the set of four Edsel-release Dionne Warwick album compilations (9 discs, 16 albums, plus all bonus tracks), and one track from a Rhino anthology, I was able to compile a playlist of 60 tracks penned by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. The bulk are from her Scepter albums, with the remaining few from the 1972 Warner Dionne album. Her follow-up to that Warner album was Just Being Myself, which was the album that signaled the lawsuit and falling-out of Dionne, Burt and Hal, who all went their separate ways for many years. Burt and Hal were both so frustrated and disgusted with the Lost Horizon soundtrack that they found they couldn't work with each other anymore. And Dionne, spurred on by Warner, sued them for breach of contract--she signed with Warner under the guise of bringing them more Bacharach/David hits. Somehow Burt and Hal reconvened briefly for a Motown Stephanie Mills album in the mid 70s, but otherwise they remained split for many years.

So, including the Scepter albums and singles, and the lone Warner album, here is a playlist featuring the Bacharach/David Songbook, spanning about 4Β½ hours. There are many familiar tunes here, some unique to Dionne, others cover versions of hits originally performed by others, along with some album track obscurities that are not quite as strong as the well-known tunes. There is only one tune that is not fully a Bacharach/David composition--Dionne made a medley out of the Bacharach/David tune "All Kinds of People" with the Nick Ashford/Valerie Simpson classic "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)," which was Diana Ross's first solo single after leaving The Supremes. The order is roughly chronological, based on the order in which the albums are chronologically presented in these multi-disc sets.


1​
This Empty Place
2​
Don't Make Me Over
3​
I Cry Alone
4​
Wishin' And Hopin'
5​
I Smiled Yesterday
6​
Make The Music Play
7​
It's Love That Really Counts (In The Long Run)
8​
Make It Easy On Yourself
9​
The Love Of A Boy
10​
Anyone Who Had A Heart
11​
Any Old Time Of The Day
12​
I Could Make You Mine
13​
Please Make Him Love Me
14​
A House Is Not A Home
15​
(They Long To Be) Close To You
16​
The Last One To Be Loved
17​
In The Land Of Make Believe
18​
Reach Out For Me
19​
You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart)
20​
Walk On By
21​
How Many Days Of Sadness
22​
Is There Another Way To Love You?
23​
Wives And Lovers
24​
Don't Say I Didn't Tell You So
25​
Ony The Strong
26​
Forever My Love
27​
That's Not The Answer
28​
In Between Heartaches
29​
Here I Am
30​
If Ever I Make You Cry
31​
(Here I Go Again) Looking With My Eyes (Seeing With My Heart)
32​
Don't Go Breaking My Heart
33​
Window Wishing
34​
Long Day
35​
Are You There (With Another Girl)
36​
How Can I Hurt You?
37​
Message To Michael
38​
A House is Not a Home [French Version]
39​
Walk On By
40​
You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart) [French Version]
41​
Go With Love
42​
What the World Needs Now is Love
43​
I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself
44​
Here Where There is Love
45​
Trains and Boats and Planes
46​
Alfie
47​
I Say a Little Prayer
48​
Walk Little Dolly
49​
The Beginning of Loneliness
50​
Another Night
51​
The Windows of the World
52​
(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me
53​
As Long As There's an Apple Tree
54​
Do You Know the Way to San Jose?
55​
Let Me Be Lonely
56​
Where Would I Go
57​
Walking Backwards Down the Road
58​
Promises
59​
This Girl's In Love With You
60​
Who is Gonna Love Me?
61​
Whoever You Are
62​
Wanting Things
63​
Dream Sweet Dreamer
64​
The April Fools
65​
Odds and Ends
66​
Medley: Reach Out and Touch/All Kinds of People
67​
The Wine Is Young
68​
I'll Never Fall in Love Again [From Promises
69​
Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head
70​
Loneliness Remembers
71​
Paper Mache
72​
Knowing When to Leave
73​
Let Me Go to Him
74​
Check Out Time
75​
The Green Grass Starts to Grow
76​
They Don't Give Medals (To Yesterday's Heroes)
77​
Walk the Way You Talk
78​
Who Gets the Guy
79​
California
80​
Only Love Can Break a Heart
81​
Make it Easy on Yourself
82​
They Don't Give Medals (To Yesterday's Heroes)
83​
I Just Have to Breathe
84​
The Balance of Nature
85​
If You Never Say Goodbye
86​
(They Long to Be) Close to You [1972 Version]
87​
Be Aware
88​
One Less Bell to Answer
89​
Hasbrook Heights


As best as possible, I assembled this playlist on YouTube.


My notes for the YouTube anthology:

As YouTube goes, this is the best playlist I could assemble of the (hopefully) complete Burt Bacharach/Hal David songbook. I omitted a couple due to being unable to find the correct versions of tunes from her "Dionne Warwick in Paris" album--essentially, live and/or foreign language versions of tunes already included in the list.
In just about all cases, I used the versions of the tunes as provided to YouTube by Rhino Records (or other official record label) to provide authenticity and maximum fidelity. There are instances where Rhino did not post a full album but instead, pulled tracks from an anthology instead. For one track ("Reach Out and Touch/All Kinds of People"), I could not find the official Rhino source. Aside from "Odds and Ends" (which is claimed to be an alternate version in the ID tag--it is actually the single version), I did not include any of the tracks from the Scepter rarities set.
As bonus tracks, I included three tunes at the end of the playlist penned by Bacharach and Carol Bayer Sager.


Unfortunately, as digital releases go, the four Edsel sets are no longer in print on CD. I purchased all four from Amazon UK for Β£35.28, including shipping. These days, you'd be lucky to find just one of these sets for that price. However, all sixteen of these albums appear to be available via streaming and download sources, and many are possibly in print on CD also. (I will list the 15 Bacharach/David albums below.) As for anthologies, my first two purchases of her tunes were via these two sets below. And the third is a recent release.

Her All-Time Greatest Hits, which covers the obvious well-known tunes:

Amazon product

Hidden Gems, which explores some of the deeper cuts:

Amazon product

For completists only--the Odds & Ends: Scepter Records Rarities offers some alternate recordings and foreign language versions of her hits, along with a few other curiosities. Can't say I recommend this one to anyone but the purely rabid fans--nothing except the non-album single "Odds & Ends" (which is not an alternate version)



Buyer beware: There are many compilations of Dionne's recordings out there. Many are of very poor quality, and others are not the original hit recordings. Any official release should clearly be labeled "Rhino" on the rear, which is the legacy division of the old Warner Music Group. For instance, there is a CD entitled Sings the Bacharach & David Songbook issued by Music Club Records, with reviews complaining about the poor sound quality and re-recordings.

When in doubt, ask here in the forum and we'll gladly help you sort things out!

And as noted above, here is the list of the fourteen original albums on Scepter, and one on Warner Bros., that largely feature Bacharach/David compositions; only one, On Stage and In the Movies, features no Bacharach/David tunes, but is included for completeness. These albums cover the years from 1962 to 1970.

  1. Presenting Dionne Warwick (β„—1962)
  2. Anyone Who Had a Heart (β„—1963)
  3. Make Way for Dionne Warwick (β„—1964)
  4. The Sensitive Sound of Dionne Warwick (β„—1965)
  5. Here I Am (β„—1965)
  6. Dionne Warwick in Paris (β„—1966)
  7. Here Where There is Love (β„—1966)
  8. On Stage and In the Movies (β„—1967)
  9. The Windows of the World (β„—1967)
  10. In the Valley of the Dolls (β„—1968)
  11. Promises, Promises (β„—1968)
  12. Soulful (β„—1969)
  13. I'll Never Fall in Love Again (β„—1970)
  14. Very Dionne (β„—1970)
  15. Dionne (β„—1972 - Warner Bros.)
 

Harry

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  1. Presenting Dionne Warwick (β„—1962) - LP
  2. Anyone Who Had a Heart (β„—1963) - LP
  3. Make Way for Dionne Warwick (β„—1964)
  4. The Sensitive Sound of Dionne Warwick (β„—1965) - LP
  5. Here I Am (β„—1965) - LP
  6. Dionne Warwick in Paris (β„—1966)
  7. Here Where There is Love (β„—1966) - LP
  8. On Stage and In the Movies (β„—1967)
  9. The Windows of the World (β„—1967)
  10. In the Valley of the Dolls (β„—1968) - LP
  11. Promises, Promises (β„—1968) - LP - CD
  12. Soulful (β„—1969)
  13. I'll Never Fall in Love Again (β„—1970) - LP - CD
  14. Very Dionne (β„—1970) - LP
  15. Dionne (β„—1972 - Warner Bros.) - LP
This is a good example of how sometimes things aligned for me in collecting records. At my first radio station, they were moving in the direction of what is now Classic Rock - then it was just rock. Thus, they needed none of Dionne Warwick - and I was there to grab what was being tossed. Above, you can see all of the LPs I own, and most are in really good shape.

GIven that I also have her two GOLDEN HITS albums (Part One and Part Two), plus two CD compilations, WALK ON BY 20 GREATEST HITS, and the Rhino HIDDEN GEMs, according to this list, (and consulting Discogs on the albums I don't own), I believe there are only four of the Bacharach David tracks that I'm missing:

From MAKE WAY FOR DIONNE WARWICK - "The Last One to Be Loved"
From WINDOWS OF THE WORLD - "Walk Little Dolly", "The Beginning of Loneliness", and "Another Night".
 

Rudy

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... I believe there are only four of the Bacharach David tracks that I'm missing:

From MAKE WAY FOR DIONNE WARWICK - "The Last One to Be Loved"
From WINDOWS OF THE WORLD - "Walk Little Dolly", "The Beginning of Loneliness", and "Another Night".

I may have overlooked a note for Soulful above--it also had no Bacharach/David tunes on it, just like On Stage and In the Movies. Out of your list, the two albums you don't have should cover the missing tracks. Just going by the four album sets I have, there are 29 bonus tracks. Many, of course, are not Bacharach/David, but the more popular of those would have made it onto a hits compilation or the Hidden Gems CD, like "Odds and Ends," "The April Fools," etc.

Going through the list of bonus tracks, these should be all of the Bacharach/David tunes:

63Dream Sweet Dreamer
64The April Fools
65Odds and Ends
66Medley: Reach Out and Touch/All Kinds of People
78Who Gets the Guy
79California
80Only Love Can Break a Heart
81Make it Easy on Yourself
82They Don't Give Medals (To Yesterday's Heroes)

With #81 and #82, these are duets with B.J. Thomas. Other than the well-known tunes, I didn't check to see where these other tracks appeared (if they were originally Scepter singles, for instance).

Dionne Warwick in Paris is an odd album. Being deep in the playlist, I hadn't paid much attention to the tunes beyond noticing some applause. But after realizing there was no other version of "Message to Michael" on the album sets, I listened to the version from this album and I think the tracks on here are fake live performances--other than canned applause bookending the tune (and not directly comparing the two), I didn't notice anything standing out that would indicate they are different performances. The faux live foreign language versions also sound too identical to the studio versions. Usually in a real live album, the artist would change things up slightly and/or speak to the audience, and I didn't notice this at all. And since I only cherry-picked the Bacharach/David tunes, I have no idea about the rest of it. I'll have to give it a spin and report back. I wouldn't say this album is essential either.
 

Harry

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Many thanks for digging into this. I'm happy that I have so many of these tracks one way or another.
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thanks, Rudy.

As a child those Bacharach melodies were subliminally hardwired into my head. In the mid-80s when I started collecting '60s A&M LPs in earnest, I picked up the 2 Bacharach LPs (already having the Butch Cassidy LP from High School) -- but quickly learned that nearly all the melodies I held dear were in fact vocal renditions from Dionne Warwick, yet arranged by Burt. As CDs were kicking in, I scooped up that first Rhino collection when it was issued in 1989-90. (I remember it well: the owner of the record store I worked at was upset that Rhino jacked up the price of the CD relative to other comps -- probably because it contained over 60min of music -- and he fired off a rather nasty letter to both the one-stop and Rhino in protest.) It wasn't too long after that that Hidden Gems was issued, which made a neat one-two punch. By this time I had learnt a good deal about her '60s releases...there was still one Bacharach song that she sang that I absolutely needed: Don't Go Breaking My Heart (which I first heard by way of Herb's wonderful S.R.O. version). A few years later I found it on the comp, From The Vault; the sound quality of that comp seemed a step down from the Rhinos.

To this day I file these three CDs and my own '62-'70 comp under "Bacharach". Not to take anything away from Warwick, but, to be honest to Burt, his songs and arrangements were the gold standard: with any singer consistent Warwick's talent it would be nearly impossible to miss with his melodies and arrangements during his golden period (roughly 1964-68).

As for Don't Go Breaking My Heart it remains my all-time fave Burt (well, it ties with another actually). The unique aspect of this recording was that it was clearly tossed off in a light-hearted way -- perhaps suggesting that at that time, Burt was spinning straw into gold in his sleep as it were and the arrangement prep and recording activity couldn't keep up with the supply of songs (precisely why songs like This Guy and Close To You were actually written much earlier than their hit versions). Back in the '80s I read that Warwick recorded every Bacharach song and had first dibs as it were for singles...I'm not sure how accurate the statement was, but it's clear she recorded by far the vast majority of Burt's songs.
 

Rudy

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Dionne certainly didn't sing all the Bacharach tunes (I doubt she would ever cover "The Blob," or Perry Como's "Magic Moments" 😁, and "Look In My Eyes, Maria" would also need a little lyric reworking to be feasible), but she was often the first call for new Bacharach/David tunes once they started working together, and they also wrote songs specifically for her unique vocal talents once they got established.

Things also changed in the mid 60s when Burt and Hal were given the reins to arrange, conduct and produce. Burt was never happy with how his songs were interpreted, so being the arranger and conductor allowed him full control in the studio. Which often resulted in dozens of takes of a song. In his bio, he even mentions that at one point, he was sending single releases to different mastering studios and getting test pressings to choose the one that would sound best.

There was, of course, the usual label in-fighting at Scepter in the earlier years when one artist would get a Bacharach/David tune before someone else, but even there, it might have taken two or three different artists before they would hit on the right formula.

I know with the earlier versions of tunes, Dionne or another artist would take a shot at it with Burt's arrangement, but it would take a different artist and arranger to turn it from an album track or minor hit into a Top 10 hit. Dionne's "They Long To Be Close To You" was kind of tepid in its original version, but when Herb Alpert handed it over to Richard Carpenter, who had his own ideas, that change made it the smash. Shortening the title to the parenthetical "(They Long To Be) Close To You" arguably may have helped it slightly in that DJs could more easily rattle off the song title and have it stick in listeners' minds.

Then there were tunes like "To Wait For Love." I can think of at least five different versions, and nobody was ever able to turn it into a hit. Tony Orlando might have been the first to record it, but there were also recordings by Jackie DeShannon (a very different arrangement), Paul Anka, Herb Alpert, Tom Jones, and a handful of others that went almost nowhere on the charts, or were used as album filler. Dionne never covered that one (or if she did, it was never released--it's more likely she turned it down).

One thing that I found interesting is that some of these Bacharach/David tracks were album filler--not everything they wrote turned to gold. And that's understandable. Nobody has such a streak where everything they write is popular, or a chart-topper. It seems like on a few of these fillers, they really were trying to stretch an idea or make a song work, but it never really catches on. Sometimes the melody trips over the lyrics and vice versa. And the Bacharach/David split had to be inevitable--if they hadn't had a falling-out over Lost Horizon, they probably would have drifted apart once the well ran dry.
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
One thing that I found interesting is that some of these Bacharach/David tracks were album filler--not everything they wrote turned to gold. And that's understandable. Nobody has such a streak where everything they write is popular, or a chart-topper. It seems like on a few of these fillers, they really were trying to stretch an idea or make a song work, but it never really catches on. Sometimes the melody trips over the lyrics and vice versa.
Good point! Those two comps, by virtue of being "best of" issues unfairly weights Burt's songs toward the strong and popular end of the spectrum. Conversely, From The Vaults features 16/22 B-sides and assorted Bacharach LP selections from 1963-66; and, I agree, several of these have a sound and feel of what McCartney so eloquently called "work songs..." Still, his 1964-68 sweet spot remains quite a run.
Dionne certainly didn't sing all the Bacharach tunes
Burt appears to have been quite prolific and I am curious if Warwick cut demos of songs that remained unissued or otherwise unused... (An LP of Warwick/Bacharach duets during their '60s peak would have been quite a relic.)
 

Rudy

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I'm not sure if any more rarities exist, as it seems like they really scraped the bottom of the barrel with the Odds and Ends compilation. And listening to the oddball filler tracks, I get the feeling they exhausted anything available.

Burt did several, if not dozens of, takes of many of the tunes, and it's doubtful those would have been kept, as they would all be multitracks (even if they were only 2- or 3-channel--mono recordings were often mixed from 2-track in the early days). Scepter wasn't a big label, so undoubtedly they would have wanted to reuse the tape or at the very least, not want to take up room with all those unused takes. And even if they existed, someone would have to go in and listen to every take and find the one(s) to mix down for release.

Back then, too, composers did not have digital recorders or even cassettes to record demos on--they would bring in the tunes written down, and play them live for an artist to go over them. This differs from how jazz and small-group instrumental recordings transpired--sometimes a group would jam in the studio and catch a lot of it on tape or, like with Herb's arrangement of "What Now My Love," a demo was recorded as a reference...but in that case, new versions did not match the feel of the demo, so Herb built the hit track around that demo. Otherwise, demos weren't meant for public consumption, so I'd say just about all of them were eventually erased as time went on.

There's also Burt's perfectionism--no doubt he would have not wanted any unapproved version to get out, so others could have been erased for that reason.

As archives go, sure, maybe there is still a handful of lost tracks somewhere. It's not uncommon to find unmarked master tapes in any label's vault.
 
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