3 thoughts on “Alfie

  1. …and, oooh, how Dionne hated Cilla Black for doing the version for the movie. Can’t remember the exact quote, but it was something along the lines of “if I sneezed during one of Burt’s songs, she’d copy the sneeze for her version”. Actually, Dionne hated Dusty Springfield, too…in ways, you can’t blame her–she knew what a gift being The Voice Of Bacharach/David was–but oh, the woman held a grudge…

    If you’re still in Bacharachian mode later, you might want to listen to Lou Johnson doing another song that Dionne did, but I believe hers was later. The incredibly underrated Lou Johnson, doing Burt and Hal’s “The Last One To Be Loved”:


    …and I think he did the original “Message To Michael”, renamed Martha for his version, “Kentucky Bluebird (Message To Martha)”:


    Again, I’m not near my collection right now, but Bacharach loved him, and Lou somehow acquired the nickname “the male Dionne Warwick”, which I can’t imagine would have been all that appreciated by Lou 50 years ago. But anything you can find on YouTube from his early years is well worth the listen. (His later non-Bacharach soul stuff wasn’t bad, but he didn’t have the incredible NYC/Brill Building band and backup singers that were on these two…and if I’m not wrong–again, I’m nowhere near my CD collection right now–I think sister Dee Dee was one of those backing vocalists. And HER stuff from that period…oh, my god…even Dionne admitted that Dee Dee was the best singer from the Warrick [née Warwick] family. Again, YouTube her…)

  2. …and you’d be right. I didn’t know that. I’ve seen footage of Bacharach in the studio with Cilla Black during the recording of the song (produced by George Martin!), and so assumed that hers was the version in the movie. But then, the story gets weird–via Wikipedia, the Cilla version was used “as a promotional tool for the film’s UK release, being in fact featured nowhere on the soundtrack of the film’s UK release”, in the US, United Artists wanted the song featured on the film’s soundtrack despite the objections of the film’s director, who thought that it would distract from the Sonny Rollins score. UA compromised by keeping it out of the main body of the film, but playing it under the closing credits. But rather than using the Cilla version, UA had Cher do a new version for Imperial Records. I have to admit to never having heard it; Wikipedia says “Sonny Bono’s heavy-handed production (a la Phil Spector) did not showcase the song appealingly (and it) rose no higher than No. 32” on the charts.

    Footnote: Cher was recruited to remake the song to play under the credits for the 2004 remake of the film, but preview audiences responded to the new version “with laughter”, and after unsuccessfully trying to get Norah Jones to do it, they wound up with a version by Joss Stone.

    So (after having gone on for *way* too long), let me amend my opening sentence in the original comment: “how Dionne hated Cilla Black for doing ANY Bacharach”.

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