Burt Bacharach: First Book Songs 1954-1958

Burt Bacharach: First Book Songs 1954-1958


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Burt Bacharach: First Book Songs 1954-1958

The British Él Records label, a division of Cherry Red Records, takes advantage of the 50-year copyright limit on recordings in Europe to compile this unauthorized collection of recordings of songs composed or performed by Burt Bacharach in the mid- and late 1950s (that is, up until 1958, the cutoff point for material in the public domain as of 2009). The result is the sort of album that otherwise probably couldn't exist, bringing together out of print material from various record companies on both sides of the Atlantic. Bacharach was in his late twenties at this point, but he was laboring in what might be described as the dying days of Tin Pan Alley or the early days of the Brill Building, depending on one's point of view. It was only toward the end of this period that he began to become successful, ranking (according to chart researcher Joel Whitburn) 12th among songwriters on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958 as the result of five chart entries, all found here: Marty Robbins' "The Story of My Life," Perry Como's "Magic Moments," Patti Page's "Another Time, Another Place," the Four Coins' "Wendy Wendy," and the Five Blobs' "The Blob." (The album also includes British singer Michael Holliday's cover of "The Story of My Life," which topped the U.K. chart.) As this list suggests, and as the rest of the album bears out, Bacharach, often writing with the man who later became his regular lyric partner, Hal David, but also with others, was getting cuts from some of the top pop singers of the day, also including Gale Storm, Johnny Mathis, and the Four Preps, even when he wasn't actually getting hits. Other quality singers who cut his tunes (and are heard here) include Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, Jo Stafford, Margaret Whiting, and Joe Williams. Also, a primary source of his assignments was the movies, even if that meant coming up with a cha-cha novelty song like "The Blob" for the notorious science fiction/horror flick. Although the writing is craftsmanlike and appropriate to the artists performing it, this is not music characteristic of Bacharach's distinctive later style. Even a fan could listen to this album without realizing that the songs were composed by him. But that fan would still probably be happy to possess such a collection of this early, largely obscure material.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/17/2009
Label: El Records
UPC: 5013929316638
catalogNumber: 166

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