The Burt Bacharach Forum is a board to discuss the music and career of composer Burt Bacharach and performers associated with his songs.
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One thing the book reveals is how pissed off Bacharach was at Peter Allen getting a writing credit for 'Arthur's Theme', something that Bacharach didn't admit to in his own book. It seems that the only part of the song Bacharach wasn't responsible for musically was the line at the end of the chorus, "The best that you can do. The best that you can do is fall in love", which Carole Bayer Sager came up with, words and music.
Leaving aside all the personal stuff discussed on another thread, the first half of this book is very strong on her various songwriting collaborations and the processes involved. Her preferred method is to be sat next to the composer at the piano virtually writing word per note and there are several instances in the book when one almost feels like the proverbial fly on the wall when she gives blow by blow accounts of how some famous songs came into being. There's a lot of humour in this book, mostly self-deprecating in nature and her account of writing lyrics with Bob Dylan and how surplus to requirements she felt in eventually contributing about four lines is priceless. She's very good at the insightful pen portrait so you really get to know a lot more about the likes of Melissa Manchester, Peter Allen, Marvin Hamlisch and, of course, Burt Bacharach, the latter at great length as you can imagine and despite all the headlines, it's not all bad by any means.
What is surprising is how relatively little of her songwriting and production partnership with Bacharach gets touched upon in this book. As for her album 'Sometimes Late at Night' which was mostly co-written with Bacharach, she gives more space to Michael Jackson's involvement with the track 'Just Friends' than she does the rest of the album put together. However, she does state that Bacharach's arrangements tended to drown her out. So really it's just the three US No.1s she concentrates on and there's no reference at all to the work they did with the likes of Barbra Streisand, Roberta Flack, Natalie Cole and Gladys Knight. Even their fairly extensive working relationship with Neil Diamond is reduced to just a few paragraphs on 'Heartlight'. Sadly, and probably at the behest of her publishers she devotes far more space to her troubled marriage to Bacharach than she does to their professional relationship and the fact that she still harbours a lot of bitterness and resentment towards him is revealed in a couple of vindictive passages all too obviously designed to wound deeply and to harm his personal reputation.
Sara D wrote: ....... Sadly, and probably at the behest of her publishers she devotes far more space to her troubled marriage to Bacharach than she does to their professional relationship and the fact that she still harbours a lot of bitterness and resentment towards him is revealed in a couple of vindictive passages all too obviously designed to wound deeply and to harm his personal reputation.
And this is exactly what I object to and what I find very offensive coming from someone who should be of better character.
I just finished Carole's book, so for what it's worth, here's my reaction. I thought she devoted a reasonable amount of space to her musical collaborations with Burt. As far as what she wrote about the more personal aspects of their relationship, I actually didn't think her depiction of Burt made him look much different than his own book did. Musicians, composers, actors and other artists are generally known for their self-absorption, for better and for worse, so for me, reading Carole's description of their relationship was not a big shock. And I thought Carole was clear in conveying her love and respect for Burt then and now and her own limitations that she brought to the relationship. Since they were together for the better part of a decade, I think it would have been strange if she didn't write about all the different aspects of their relationship.
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