'Burt Bacharach needs little introduction' begins the press release, and for once the hyperbole is justified. Bacharach is a man whose name you will know even if you claim not to know a single song by the man, and then it turns out you know loads of songs he's written and at least half of them you like. Can you say the same about Robin Thicke? Let's hope not eh?
Fresh from earning the Library Of Congress Gershwin Prize, one of America's highest musical honours (presented by President Obama no less), Bacharach is coming to London for a special show at the Royal Festival Hall on 26 June, with the obligatory 'very special guests'. Londonist thought we'd bring you a few of Burt's previous London performances and London celebrations by other acts to demonstrate the majesty of the man who wrote such bewilderingly well-known songs as Walk On By, I Say A Little Prayer, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, What's New Pussycat? and Magic Moments.
Our mining of Youtube begins with a tribute show from a full 15 years ago at the Royal Albert Hall. The show was in support of the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Centre, a Gospel Oak-based charity focusing on the therapeutic power of music, and this performance of Don't Make Me Over is from award-winning London singer-songwriter Lynden David Hall, who himself is sadly no longer with us. It's a glorious run through of a song first made famous by Dionne Warwick in 1962, which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame the year of this Albert Hall show.
Next is Bacharach's 2008 performance of one of his most popular songs, The Look of Love, alongside the BBC Orchestra. The song was originally a hit for Dusty Springfield in 1967, and received a Best Song nomination at the following year's Academy Awards. The 2008 set was performed as part of the Electric Proms, at the Roundhouse.
Burt was back in London in 2013 for a pair of shows at the Southbank Centre. While the quality of this video isn't great - come on, we all moan when people hold phones up at gigs so we can't moan when 'only' one does it - the power of the man's performance is still clear.
In 2014 the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed two London shows to celebrate the work of Bacharach and his song-writing partner Hal David. Though we're damned if we can find a clip of either concert, the orchestra did produce a handy preview video of the famous material they were planning to cover. A remarkable 3:44 medley.
For a final clip we'll head back into the past, for a 1996 live recording of Noel Gallagher singing This Guy's In Love With You — a Bacharach cover with Burt himself accompanying on piano. You'll have to forgive the grim faces of Oasis staring out at you; concentrate instead on a song that Gallagher himself admits he ripped off for Oasis's Half A World Away, which ended up as the theme tune to The Royle Family yet still didn't make Burt any money. We reckon he's not badly off though. Proof of the enduring influence of one of the world's finest songwriters.
Various clips to prove that Burt Bacharach deserves the hero's welcome he's likely to receive in London this spring. And if you need more convincing, take it from Adele.
Burt Bacharach and an accompanying orchestra perform 'A Life In Song' at the Royal Festival Hall on 26 June. Tickets priced £45-£100 are available now from the Southbank Centre.