DIONNE WARWICK'S HERE WHERE THERE IS
disappointing 1965 that found her unable to crack the Top Forty, 1966
was a year of triumph for Dionne Warwick and her producers and chief
songwriters, Burt Bacharach and Hal David. "Message to Michael" was a
Top Ten hit, and "Trains and Boats and Planes" and "I Just Don't Know
What to Do with Myself," though not quite as popular, also cracked the
Top Thirty. In the usual fashion of the day, her early-1967 LP Here Where There Is Love featured a
couple of these previously released hit singles. Supported by some
other outstanding Bacharach-David songs and a few interpretations of
compositions by other writers, it became her first album to reach the
Top Twenty, going all the way to #1 on the R&B charts, and spawned
another Top Twenty single when a cut was plucked for release on 45.
long-playing release of 1966 had been a live album (Dionne Warwick in Paris, also
reissued on CD by Collectors' Choice Music), and one imagines she and
her producers welcomed the chance to lay down some more Bacharach-David
tunes in the studio. The close bond of their collaboration is supported
by several interviews Dionne Warwick gave at the time (and, indeed,
numerous that she, Bacharach, and David have given since). "I think it
is possible for an artist to get bogged down by sticking to one
songwriting team," she mused in Melody
Maker in February 1966. "But I am identified with this
particular sound—Hal and Burt think of me when they write." Praised
Bacharach in October of that year in Newsweek,
"Her 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. I used to make suggestions to her. No more. I know what
she does will be a jewel."
Here Where There
Is Love was not precisely "Warwick Sings Bacharach-David,"
though. To be precise, that concept broke down after the first track on
side two, as the final four songs were actually by other writers. The
first half-dozen cuts were all Bacharach-David efforts, however, three
of them hits for Dionne, and another familiar as one of the bigger hits
of the mid-1960s, albeit for another artist.
"Trains and Boats and Planes" got to #22 for Warwick
in the summer of 1966, but had actually already been a British hit in
1965 for Billy J. Kramer (whose version went to #12) and Bacharach
himself (who, remarkably, took it to #4 at exactly the same time in
head-to-competition, though the female group the Breakaways handled the
vocals on his rendition). It was Dionne's later interpretation,
however, that captured US chart honors. Bacharach, oddly, was resistant
to cutting it with Warwick and had to be convinced otherwise, as he
felt the song was too country-oriented for Dionne.
"I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself," which
Warwick took to #26 in late 1966, is another song that might be more
familiar to British listeners via a different recording than Dionne's.
Dusty Springfield had scored a #3 British hit with the same tune back
in 1964, though it could be seen as payback of sorts, since Springfield
had landed a huge US smash that same year with "Wishin' and Hopin'," a
track from Warwick's first LP. Actually, Springfield's recording of "I
Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself" wasn't the original version; it
had first been done in 1962 on a Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller production
for a Tommy Hunt single that just scraped the underbelly (#119) of the Billboard charts.
"Alfie" completes the trio of hits on Here Where There Is Love that are
identified with different singers in Britain and the United States. It
was originally recorded (as the theme song for the Michael Caine film
of the same name) in 1966 by Cilla Black, who took it into the UK Top
Ten, though it only struggled up to #95 Stateside. After its release on
the LP, Warwick's "Alfie" single became one of her bigger hits in the
spring of 1967, rising to #15. It was more payback in a sense,
considering that Black had the hit with "Anyone Who Had a Heart" (where
it reached #1) in the UK, where Dionne's original had stopped at #42.
"I found it very distressing because these songs
weren't demonstration songs," Warwick complained when asked about
competing British versions by Lois Wilson in Record Collector. "They were new
songs written for me to perform and then Cilla Black went and did
'Anyone Who Had a Heart' and 'Alfie,' Dusty Springfield did 'Wishin'
and Hopin',' and Sandie Shaw did 'Always Something There to Remind Me.'
They would copy the exact arrangements and the exact vocal inflection
of the song. They wouldn't change them at all. If I'd have sneezed in
the recording of 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' I think Cilla would have
sneezed in the exact same spot on her rendition too!" "Alfie" itself
was singled out by Bacharach as the song he was proudest of on the 1998
One Amazing Night television
program, with David affirming in an interview with Paul Zollo in Songwriters on Songwriting, "It's a
song that's very dear to me. It's a philosophy that is a nice one to
have as an anthem for your life."
There was one other song on Here Where There Is Love that would
be a huge hit for someone else—but not for Dionne Warwick. "What the
World Needs Now Is Love" was actually offered to Warwick first, but she
turned it down. "They wrote that song originally for Gene Pitney," she
explained in the liner notes to The
Look of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection. "Never got to him.
And when I heard it in its original form, it was a cowboy song. And I
told them, it's not my thing. And as it turned out, they went in with
Jackie [DeShannon] to do it and they used the Warwick formula."
DeShannon's distinctive interpretation made #7 in 1965, though its
presence on Here Where There Is Love
indicates that Dionne couldn't have been too bitter about the missed
opportunity. She even recorded it again in the late 1990s, charting
(barely) with a remake that made #87 in 1998.
The other pair of Bacharach-David songs on Here Where There Is Love couldn't
help but be overshadowed by their other contributions to the LP. Still,
"Go with Love" was a pretty rousingly arranged ballad, and did attract
at least one other soul cover version in the late 1960s (by Barbara
Acklin). "Here Where There Is Love" itself reflected Bacharach-David's
occasional indulgence in impressively winding melodies way too complex
for success on 45s, and was an odd choice for the title track of the
LP, considering that several of its other songs were far better known.
Except for "Alfie," all of side two was turned over
to non-Bacharach-David material that allowed Warwick to explore
different directions than her trademark pop-soul. Lionel Bart's "As
Long As He Needs Me" was from the massively popular musical Oliver! Dionne might have been
influenced to record the pop standard "I Wish You Love" by Marlene
Dietrich; Burt Bacharach, who served as Dietrich's musical director in
the late 1950s and early 1960s, arranged a guest spot for Warwick on
Dietrich's show in Paris in late 1963, and Dietrich recorded "I Wish
You Love" on her 1964 album Marlene
Dietrich in London. Bob Dylan's "Blowing in the Wind" was given
a strangely jaunty reading to close the album, preceded by the more
satisfying "I Never Knew What You Were Up To," which—with its
blues-soul grit and forceful, smoky organ—sounds like little else
Warwick did in the '60s, though impressively so.
Far from being one-off experiments, Warwick's
detours into show tunes and pop unrelated to rock in any way whatsoever
seemed to be a genuine part of her musical tastes and ambitions. She'd
devote an entire LP to Broadway and movie songs on her next album, On Stage and in the Movies, also
reissued on CD by Collectors' Choice Music. -- Richie Unterberger
unless otherwise specified.
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