There has been an outpouring of tributes to Burt Bacharach following his death last week, coming from everyone from Paul McCartney, Carole King, and Andrew Lloyd Webber to Noel and Liam Gallagher and Richard Coles, crime writer and ex-Communard. There have also been plenty of attempts at 'best of' playlists, but although Burt wrote a huge number of hits, I've always been struck by how many great songs of his remain more or less unknown. Of course, there were some terrible songs (the 'teenage death song' Two Hour Honeymoon, the theme song to Love in a Goldfish Bowl, Dick Van Dyke's One Part Dog, Nine Parts Cat, and Take Me to Your Ladder, about very tall female aliens living on the moon, to name but four) but there are many hidden gems.
So just as I like reviving obscure classic crime stories, here are some songs that I enjoy which I think will be mostly unfamiliar - but are definitely worth a listen. I've picked 50, but I could have picked plenty of others, not least Three Wheels on My Wagon!
The Beginning of Loneliness - Dionne Warwick
I have to start with Dionne and a song that begins quietly before building to high drama. And it has that touch of drama that I love in his best songs.
Where Did the Time Go - The Pointer Sisters
Obscure and melancholic but a lovely song
The Bells of St Augustine - Daniel Tashian
A recent song from the Grammy-nominated Blue Umbrella album
Falling Out of Love - Aretha Franklin
The Queen of Soul at her best
Nothin' But Love - Heart
Why isn't this great song better known?
Night Shift - Quarterflash
Theme song to a fun movie
Fool Killer - Gene Pitney
Strange and untypical but striking - written for a film of the same name
Long After Tonight is All Over - Jimmy Radcliffe
Northern Soul classic, but not many people realise Burt wrote it
Checkout Time - Dionne Warwick
Wonderfully compelling melody, who else could write it?
Perfect Lovers - Ray Parker Jr
Co-written by Ray and Carole Bayer Sager
Welcome to My World - Andrew Mueller
From the musical 'Some Lovers'
Rain from the Skies - Delroy Wilson
A reggae version of an early song - and it works amazingly well.
What Am I Doing Here? - Liz Callaway
Gorgeous melody, inexplicably cut out of Promises, Promises
Long Ago Tomorrow - B.J. Thomas
A film theme song, but very different from 'Raindrops...'
Don't Count the Days - Marilyn Michaels
Unknown but classy mid-60s melodrama
And Then You Know What He Did - Dionne Warwick
A 'lost' song of astonishing complexity
Seconds - Gladys Knight and the Pips
Lyric by the famed playwright Neil Simon
Heartbreak Storms - Daniel Tashian and Burt Bacharach
Released last year, one of his last songs, and a very good one
Poor Rich Boy - Ambrosia
From the soundtrack to Arthur.
The Blob - The Five Blobs
Theme from the cult sci-fi movie, co-written with Hal David's brother Mack
Some Lovers - Rumer
Fairly recent but in the classic style
Another Tear Falls - Puddles
A 2017 makeover for a minor Walker Brothers hit first recorded by Gene McDaniels
Living on Plastic - Stephanie Mills
Written for Dionne before Burt split up with her and Hal David
Bridges - Melody Federer
One of Burt's last music videos
Something Big - Mark Lindsay
A film song that was much better than the film
Leave it to the Girls - Tomi Malm
A Finnish singer's recent version
New York, I Love You - Emma Hunton et al
Lyric by Steven Sater - very far from typical Bacharach and yet there are moments...
Riverboat - Libby Titus and Burt Bacharach
From the fascinating but under-estimated 'Woman' album
Something That Was Beautiful - Mario Biondi
Another Sater lyric, here with a great melody
Walking Tall - Lyle Lovett
Lyric by Tim Rice, from the film 'Stuart Little'
Obsession - Desmond Child and Marie Vidal
Obscure but undeservedly so
Pennies in a Jar - Nikki Jean
Pleasing title track from her album
Plastic City - Dionne Warwick
Another 'lost' song, one of several co-written by Bobby Russell
Everybody's Out of Town - B J Thomas
A 1970 song that might have been written for lockdown...
Trouble - Chiara Civello
A fascinating one-off collaboration
Easy to Love Again - Carole Bayer Sager
From the album Carole made with Burt when their relationship began
My Rock and Foundation - Peggy Lee
Unknown, but pretty good
Every Other Hour (Come Ogni Ora) - Karima and Mario Biondi
Terrific live version of a song from the musical Some Lovers
If I Could Go Back - Alfie Boe
The best song written for Lost Horizon - bizarrely cut out of the film
I Live in the Woods - Carly Simon and Burt Bacharach
A strange song by great songwriters
Who Gets the Guy? - Dionne Warwick
A quintessential Bacharach melody
The Love Too Good to Last - Phyllis Hyman
Good example of his 80s songwriting
What's Her Name Today? - Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach
A very dark song
Lost Horizon - Burt Bacharach
The title song from the movie musical - very good, just deserved a better film
In Tune - Libby Titus
Lyric by Paul Anka, from the forgettable film Together
Girls Know How - Al Jarreau
From the soundtrack of Night Shift
After the Fox - Peter Sellers and The Hollies
A crazy song for a crazy film
Hearts Don't Lie - Joana Zimmer
Again highly obscure but classic modernish Bacharach
Two Hearts - Earth, Wind and Fire
A good collaboration
Go Ask Shakespeare - Rufus Wainwright and Burt Bacharach
A shorter version of the track from the great album At This Time
And believe me, there are plenty more good ones out there...