Burt Bacharach, the legendary pop composer known for 1960s classics like “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” and “Close to You,” died Wednesday. He was 94.
Bacharach’s publicist Tina Brausam told the AP that the multi-Grammy winner and Oscar recipient died of natural causes in his Los Angeles home.
One of the most prominent and decorated composers of the 20th century, well known for his whimsically catchy but unexpected melodies in songs like Dionne Warwick’s “I Say A Little Prayer” and “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” Bacharach wrote dozens of top 10 hits with six of them hitting the No. 1 spot.
Though he rose to prominence in the 1950s, Bacharach grew up on jazz and classical music and was recognized by his industry peers for having a throwback, old-timey sensibility in comparison to the era’s rise in rock ‘n’ roll. You even see contemporary artists covering and sampling him today to capture that timelessness, from the White Stripes to Ashanti to Cyndi Lauper to Alicia Keys.
In the awards sector, he’s an eight-time Grammy winner (including for the Academy’s lifetime achievement award in 2008), a three-time Oscar winner for “Arthur” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” and a Tony nominee for composing 1968 Broadway musical “Promises, Promises,” Bacharach worked across mediums and art forms to incredible acclaim. He’s said that Warwick was his favorite interpreter of his music.
Bacharach gained a new generation of fans with a now-iconic cameo in the 1999 comedy sequel “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.”
Bacharach was born May 12, 1928, in Kansas City, Missouri. As a child, his family moved to New York City, for his father’s work as a fashion columnist; it was his mother who first urged Burt into taking piano lessons.
Bacharach is survived today by his fourth wife, Jane Hansen, to whom he’s been married for 30 years; their children, Oliver and Raleigh; and Christopher, his son from a previous marriage to Bayer Sager.