Sunday, December 13, 2009

Song of the Week - 6

Yesterday, I blogged about the theatrical production I saw, "Baby its You". It tells the story of New Jersey housewife, Florence Greenberg, who follows her dreams and finds her way into the music industry beginning in 1958. During that time, she also discovered the original "girl group", The Shirelles.

The story was inspiring but also sad. The Shirelles, like so many other entertainers, hit big, had a huge impact, and ultimately found themselves unable to keep up with the changing times and temporarily faded away. But, like so many others, they found their way back some 20, 30, 40 plus years later, with an influence and impact just as huge as it was originally.

The show also reminded us of some of the other greats of that time, namely Dionne Warwick. Dionne Warwick was discovered by the great music composer, Burt Bacharach, and his writing partner, Hal David. As they said in the play, "Dionne is going to be a star". She truly lived up to that!

Burt joined Florence's record label, Scepter Records, and produced the songs he wrote (with Hal) for Dionne. The last three songs of the play were Bacharach songs that Dionne made famous. As the show was wrapping up, with the once chart topping Shirelles sinking, I noticed I had tears running down my face. I was choked up. I guess in part because of the "loss" of the Shirelles (or anyone in such a position), the loss of Florence's romance with her partner, Luther Dixon, and the powerful music and lyrics of Bacharach and David, originally sung by the amazing voice of Warwick. I should add that the actress playing Dionne did it incredibly.

I also think it brought tears to my eyes because it made me think of my dad. He was a huge fan of Dionne and Bacharach. Years ago, I bought a Best of Dionne Warwick CD. I took that to a visit at my parents' house. We played the CD and my dad loved it so much that he asked if I could get him a copy of it. I left it with him and bought myself a new one.

I am pretty convinced that this week's song of the week, is one of the most powerful songs ever written. Even as I sit here typing this, I feel a lump in my throat just at the thought of this song. When I saw the play list last night, and saw this song on it, my hand just automatically landed on my heart as I leaned over to my friend and said, "oh my God, 'Don't Make Me Over'".

If you have never heard Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach or The Shirelles, do take some time and listen. You won't regret it.

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