Welcome to part two of the Dionne Warwick series and this week the hits keep rolling in for this dynamic artist. I will now hand you over to William Price King to pick up the story, and share the music he has selected to showcase this week.
The mid-1960s and the remainder of the decade was a wonderfully productive time for Dionne Warwick and the team of Hal David and Burt Bacharach. This included “Message to Michael” in 1966. The song had been a Bacharach and David hit for other artists including Jerry Butler with “Message to Martha” and Adam Faith with the title ‘Kentucky Bluebird’ which reached #12 in the UK Charts. In all the different versions including “Message to Michael” by Dionne Warwick, the lyrics are addressed to a bluebird by the singer, whose lover is in New Orleans and wants them to return. There were two other massive hits for Dionne Warwick released that year.
In “I Say a Little Prayer,” Hal David wanted to convey a woman’s concern for her man who was serving in the Vietnam War with this song recorded by Warwick in 1966. This song, from the album “Windows of the World” peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart in December 1967. On the R&B Singles chart it peaked at number eight.
The other song was “Trains and Boats and Planes” which Dionne Warwick recorded in 1966, arranged and conducted by Burt Bacharach, and produced by Bacharach and David. It spent 7 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also reached #37 on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart and #49 on Billboard’s Hot Rhythm & Blue’s chart. Other hit versions of this song were recorded by Bacharach himself and by Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas.
“(Theme from) Valley of the Dolls” is a 1967 song by André and Dory Previn, composed for the film version of the Jacqueline Susann novel “Valley of the Dolls.” Actress Barbara Parkins, who starred in the motion picture, suggested that Warwick be considered to sing the film’s theme song. The song was to be given to Judy Garland, who had been fired from the film. Warwick performed the song, and when the film became a success in the early weeks of 1968, her single from the film theme became a million-seller, peaking at #2 for four weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1968, #2 on the Cash Box Top 100 and #1 on the Record World chart. The song was the B-side of the million selling tune “I Say a Little Prayer.” The single would become one of the biggest double-sided hits of the rock era. The album “Dionne Warwick in Valley of the Dolls” peaked at number six on the Billboard Top 10 Albums chart, and would remain on the chart for over a year.
Dionne also saw success with another movie theme for “Alfie” in 1967 getting into the top twenty in the US.. There had been a number of covers of the Cilla Black original, including by Cher, but it was the Dionne Warwick interpretation of the Bacharach and David composition and lyrics that made it in America.
“Do You Know The Way To San Jose” was written and composed for Warwick by Bacharach/David. The song was Warwick’s biggest international hit, selling over a million copies and winning Warwick her first Grammy Award. David’s lyrics tell the story of a native of San Jose, California who, having failed to break into the entertainment field in Los Angeles, is set to return to her hometown. It became Warwick’s third consecutive Top Ten song, punctuating the most successful period of Warwick’s recording career. The song peaked at #8 in the UK, Ireland, and Canada. It also charted in France, Italy, South Africa, Australia, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, and many other countries. Dionne won the Grammy Award for Contemporary Pop Vocal for this song in 1968
“I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” was written by Bacharach/David for the 1968 musical Promises, Promises. Several recordings of the song were released in 1969, the most popular of which was by Dionne Warwick, who took it to number six on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100, and spent three weeks at number one on the magazine’s list of the 40 most popular Easy Listening songs in the US. At the 12th Annual Grammy Awards on March 11, 1970, Bacharach and David were the songwriting nominees of “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” in the “Song of the Year”category but lost to Joe South for “Games People Play.” However Dionne Warwick won the Grammy Award for Contemporary Pop Vocal for the song.
“This Guy’s in Love with You” was written by Bacharach and David and recorded originally by Herb Alpert and Tijuana Brass with Alpert singing lead vocals. He originally sang the track on television on the Beat of the Brass show and due to viewer response went on to release it as a single in June 1968. It went to #1 and stayed there for four weeks. Dionne Warwick’s version went to #7 in the charts in 1969.
Bacharach told “Newsweek” that Warwick’s sound “has the delicacy and mystery of sailing ships in bottles. It’s tremendously inspiring. We cut songs for her like fine cloth, tailor-made.”
Warwick’s appeal crossed racial barriers. She was to the 1960s what Nat King Cole had been to the 1950s—a mainstream performer who happened to be black. Nevertheless, Warwick occasionally faced race related problems such as bigoted hecklers in the audience Cool and confident, Warwick responded to anti-black sentiment with cutting remarks and, if necessary, forceful letters to local authorities. Having grown up in a racially mixed, lower middle class community in the North, Warwick was never hesitant about appearing in the South. “To me, Mississippi is just a long word. They’ve got their problems, but they’re not going to make them my problems,” Warwick explained to “Ebony Magazine” in 1968.
Dionne Warwick made her acting debut in the film “Slaves,” with co-stars Ossie Davis, and Stephen Boyd. The film was directed by Herbert Biberman and was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival.
Buy the music of Dionne Warwick: https://www.amazon.com/Dionne-Warwick/e/B000APYFYM
Additional material: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionne_Warwick
William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.
His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.
William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking
William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.
Connect to William
Website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
You can find all of William’s posts on Jazz, Classical and Contemporary artists in this link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-classical-and-contemporary-legends/
Thanks for dropping by and we hope you have enjoyed this week’s performances.. Your feedback is always welcome. Sally