Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Two-Fer-Tuesday: Burt Bacharach's Best, Back to Back

First of all, a happy belated birthday to Burt Bacharach, who turned 80 on May 12th.

That gives me an excuse to play two versions of my favorite song by one of my favorite composers: "This Guy's In Love With You."

Back in 1968, the red-hot Herb Alpert wa in the process of putting together his first TV special. He asked his good friend Bacharach if he had any left over songs that somehow had never made it to the recording studio. Bacharach pulled out "This Guy's In Love With You," a song that some have speculated was originally intended for Dusty Springfield.

And what a song it is. Never has such simplicity resulted in a pop masterpiece. Designed not to push the vocally limited trumpeter, "This Guy" uses what sounds like five notes. Furthermore, Bacharach's partner, lyricist Hal David, doesn't include any words with more than two syllables.
In the TV show, Alpert sings it it to his then-wife Sharon (He would later divorce her and marry the Brazilian Lani Hall, the original lead vocalist for Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66)

Play "This Guy's In Love With You" by Herb Alpert

And the hokey video:

How good was this song? It became the first # 1 for both Alpert's own A&M label (Alpert is the A and partner Jerry Moss is the M). And – believe it or not, despite prior hits such as "The Look of Love" and "I Say A Little Prayer"– it was the first U.S. #1 for the songwriting team of Bacharach and David.

Further evidence of its strength: Just six months after Alpert's version was released, the duo's traditional muse Dionne Warwick switched the gender and came out with her own version, which promptly hit No. 7 on the Billboard charts. Interestingly, though Bacharach and David produced most of the Warwick album Promises Promises (1969) that contained this song, Don Sebesky actually was behind the boards on this track.

Play "This Girl's in Love With You" by Dionne Warwick

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