Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Kennedy Center’s Most Egregious Mistake: Not Inducting Superstar Composer Burt Bacharach, 94


There’s a lot of head-scratching today about the new Kennedy Center Honors. It’s not like the chosen honorees don’t deserve their accolades. But the people who were overdue for the award are from a long list.

The most egregious miss? Superstar composer Burt Bacharach. Bacharach and Hal David are one of the most important teams in music history. David has passed away, sadly. But Burt is 94. How much longer is he supposed to wait?

Hits? The list is beyond measure. From all his songs with Dionne Warwick, to the Carpenters, and ultimately “That’s What Friends Are For” with former wife and hit songwriter Carole Bayer Sager.

But those other songs–the Academy Award winning “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” not to mention songs like “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Walk on by,” “Always Something there to Remind Me,” “Close to You.” Bacharach has an incredible catalog and career including a landmark album with Elvis Costello and an appearance in an “Austin Powers” movie.

Rewarding Bacharach would have covered a lot of bases, too, because it’s not just pop music and movies but also Broadway. “Promises, Promises,” still beloved, came from Bacharach and David.

So what happened? Burt probably didn’t campaign, and no one involved with the Kennedy Center is smart enough to include him. What a shame. Instead we get Amy Grant.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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