Burt Bacharach

The Very Best of Burt Bacharach [Rhino]

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Like Rhino's exquisite three-disc The Look of Love, this set does not concentrate on proper Burt Bacharach recordings. Instead, it contains versions of Bacharach's greatest songs, usually the greatest versions -- or cuts that are damn close to the greatest versions. And, really, that's what makes it magical, since Bacharach wasn't the best interpreter of his material -- vocalists like Dionne Warwick, Sandie Shaw, Gene Pitney, Dusty Springfield, and the Shirelles were. This doesn't contain every one of his great songs or recordings, and it does run out of steam toward the end, when "That's What Friends Are For" rears its ugly head, but there are no other single-disc collections that offer such a succinct, accurate overview of Bacharach at his best, as a melodicist and songwriter. The Very Best Of starts to flow with "Baby It's You," and then runs through such indelible classics as "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me" by Sandie Shaw, "Walk on By" by Dionne Warwick, "What the World Needs Now Is Love" by Jackie DeShannon, and "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" by B.J. Thomas, among many, many others. Yes, it's possible to point out songs that should have been here, but what's here is nearly impeccable (though the last three songs, with the possible exception of Christopher Cross' "Arthur's Theme," should have been replaced by better songs from the '60s). There is no better, succinct introduction to the glories of Burt Bacharach than this.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:41
2
feat: Gene Pitney
2:48
3 3:12
4
feat: Sandie Shaw
2:39
5 2:57
6 3:15
7 2:45
8
feat: Tom Jones
2:19
9 3:04
10 3:31
11 2:56
12
feat: B.J. Thomas
3:00
13 3:00
14 3:31
15 3:53
16 4:14
blue highlight denotes track pick