Significant Songs (100)

A House Is Not A Home

As this is the 100th post in this series, I saved one of my favourites especially to feature it here. The wonderful songwriting team of Hal David and Burt Bacharach has featured previously on this blog, with the marvellous ‘Look Of Love’, and others. This song is actually from a film soundtrack, and sung by Brook Benton in the original version. The single was recorded by Dionne Warwick, a Bacharach regular, and was released in 1964 also.

Burt gave a fair rendition of the song himself, in his younger days, and so many cover versions followed, I would not have room to list them all here. Perhaps the best known version was in 1981, by Luther Vandross, on his debut album. But it has also been recorded by Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and was sung accompanied by Bacharach on the piano and vocals, by Dusty Springfield.

Like most love songs, it is about loss and loneliness. Even though I was only twelve years old when I first heard it, and had never been in love, I could sense something timeless in both the lyrics and music. To some listeners in the 21st century, those who are often more involved in their music than I was back then, it may seem over-sentimental, and somewhat too emotional.

All the better for that, as far as I’m concerned.

I would like to include at least four versions of this song, but I will have to restrict myself to one version from a female vocalist, and one from a male. The first is by the Dutch singer, Trijnte Oosterhuis, giving the song the grand theatre it deserves. The second is from Luther Vandross, singing what became one of his signature songs, live. He made Dionne Warwick cry with the emotion in his voice. I make no apology for including two versions. After all, it’s the hundredth significant song.

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15 thoughts on “Significant Songs (100)

  1. When it comes to music such as this, are the listeners of the 21st century really sophisticated? Songs such as this tell stories as important today as they did 50 years ago.

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    1. It’s interesting that I chose that word, looking back. I suppose that I meant the modern audience can often be more involved, read more into lyrics, and not just ‘lie back, listen, and enjoy.’ I think I will change it. I suspect it would still be a big hit, if released by Adele, or another younger best-selling singer.
      Thanks for your thoughts on this one. Pete.

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  2. Love this series reminding us of great songs that shouldn’t be taken for granted just because they’re popular. “Dionne Warwick sings the Bacharach & David songbook” is one of my most treasured CDs. XX

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    1. I always hope to strike a chord with someone, to ease out a memory, like an old ten-shilling note from the overstuffed wallet of a mind.
      I watched a Bacharach tribute on TV last week, and all their songs came flooding back to me.
      Thanks, Pippa, hope things are getting better.
      As ever, Pete. x

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  3. love this song. i first heard it done solo by bacharach. i think a solo version was also the last time i heard it. That was in 2002, and here is my review of it from that time. although I dont really say much of interest about the concert.http://www.seattlepi.com/ae/article/Bacharach-s-medley-of-memories-is-a-joy-1093728.php
    thanks for the links. i especially liked the dutch singer,with whom i was previously unfamiliar.just a few days until ang lee. looking forward to the discussion!

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    1. I always felt that Burt had a lovely fragile quality to his vocals, though I sadly haven’t seen him live. The Dutch girl has recorded many of his songs, and is also fairly new to me, a You Tube discovery. She has a lot of CD releases available on Amazon, and I may well buy some.
      See you on the 13th.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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