Burt Bacharach dead – Music legend and Oscar winner behind classic song Walk On By dies aged 94 | The Sun

LEGENDARY composer and Oscar winner Burt Bacharach has died at 94.

The talented musician, known for hits including Walk on By, and Do You Know the Way to San Jose passed away on Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles.

He died of natural causes, his publicist Tina Brausam said Thursday.

The star had a run of top 10 hits from the 1950s into the 21st century, and his music was heard everywhere and was covered by countless artists.

Bacharach was best known for his collaborations with lyricist Hal David who passed away in 2012.

Dionne Warwick was his favourite interpreter, but he also created prime material for Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, and Tom Jones.

Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Frank Sinatra were among the countless artists who covered his songs, with more recent performers who sang or sampled him including White Stripes, Twista and Ashanti.

Walk On By alone was covered by everyone from Warwick and Isaac Hayes to the British punk band the Stranglers and Cyndi Lauper.

The innovative musician grew up on jazz and classical music and had little taste for rock when he was breaking into the business in the 1950s.

He was an eight-time Grammy winner, a prize-winning Broadway composer for Promises, Promises and a three-time Oscar winner.

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He received two Academy Awards in 1970, for the score of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and for the song Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head (shared with David).

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

His other movie soundtracks included What's New, Pussycat?, Alfie and the 1967 James Bond spoof Casino Royale.

Bacharach was married to actress Angie Dickinson, from 1965-80, and to Sager, from 1982-1991.

Married four times, he formed his most lasting ties to work.

He was married to his first wife, Paula Stewart, from 1953-58, and married for a fourth time, to Jane Hansen, in 1993.

He is survived by Hansen, as well as his children Oliver, Raleigh and Cristopher, Brausam said.

He was preceded in death by his daughter with Dickinson, Nikki Bacharach.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, he was encouraged to study music from a young age and soon moved to New York City.

Although he was more interested in sports, he practiced piano every day after school, not wanting to disappoint his mother.

While still a minor, he would sneak into jazz clubs, bearing a fake ID, and hear such greats as Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie.

"They were just so incredibly exciting that all of a sudden, I got into music in a way I never had before, he recalled in the memoir Anyone Who Had a Heart, published in 2013.

"What I heard in those clubs turned my head around."

He was a poor student but managed to gain a spot at the music conservatory at McGill University in Montreal.

He wrote his first song at McGill and listened for months to Mel Tormes The Christmas Song.

He was drafted into the Army in the late 1940s and was still on active duty during the Korean War.

After his discharge, he returned to New York and tried to break into the music business.

The young musician and ageless singer quickly clicked and Bacharach travelled the world with her in the late 1950s and early '60s.

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"Music softens the heart, makes you feel something if its good, brings in emotion that you might not have felt before, he told the AP in 2018.

"Its a very powerful thing if youre able to do to it, if you have it in your heart to do something like that."

Burt Bacharach’s top 10

  • Walk On By – Dionne Warwick (1964)
  • Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head – BJ Thomas (1969)
  • Alfie – Cilla Black (1966)
  • I Say A Little Prayer – Aretha Franklin (1968)
  • Anyone Who Had A Heart – Dionne Warwick (1964)
  • I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself – Dusty Springfield (1964)
  • What's New Pussycat – Tom Jones (1965)
  • What The World Needs Now Is Love – Jackie DeShannon (1965)
  • (They Long To Be) Close To You – The Carpenters (1970)
  • The Look Of Love – Dusty Springfield (1967) 

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