This Day in Music, May 12: Burt Bacharach, Neil Young

Burt Bacharach celebrates his 83rd birthday, Neil Young gets an eight-legged claim to fame.

By , Contributor

1928 - Burt Bacharach

Born on this day in 1928, one of the most accomplished popular composers of the 20th century, American songwriter, pianist and arranger Burt Bacharach.  

In the '60s and '70s, he was a dominant figure in pop music, responsible for a remarkable 52 Top 40 songs. To-date, Bacharach has written 70 Top 40 hits in the US, and 52 Top 40 hits in the UK.  

The son of nationally syndicated columnist Bert Bacharach, Burt moved with his family in 1932 to Kew Gardens in Queens, New York. At his mother's insistence, he studied cello, drums, and then piano beginning at the age of 12. Burt hated taking piano lessons; his dream was to play professional football. 

In 1957, Bacharach collaborated for the first time with lyricist Hal David whom he had met while both worked at the Famous Paramount Music Company in New York's legendary Brill Building. 

With Hal David, Bacharach wrote many classic songs, including "Close To You", "24 Hours From Tulsa", "Make It Easy On Yourself", "Magic Moments", "I Say A Little Prayer", "Anyone Who Had a Heart", "Walk On By", "Message to Michael", "Do You Know the Way to San Jose", "This Girl's in Love with You" and "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" (I could go on!). 

Through his wife, screen star Angie Dickinson (whom he married in 1966 and divorced in 1980), Bacharach moved into film scores. His credits include the title song to Alfie, a hit for Cilla Black and Dionne Warwick, and film scores for What's New, Pussycat? (its title song was a Top 5 hit for Tom Jones in 1965), Casino Royale (which introduced "The Look of Love"), and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which spawned the #1 hit "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" and earned Bacharach a pair of Oscars. 

Cementing his reputation among a new generation of fans, Bacharach worked with Elvis Costello and Oasis' Noel Gallagher in the '90s as well as making a memorable cameo appearance in Mike Myers' film Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. 

For his latest release, Burt Bacharach has teamed up with Irish vocalist Ronan Keating for a newly recorded collection of his classic compositions. 


2008 - Neil Young

Iconic Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young had a creepy honour bestowed upon him - his very own spider.  

US university biologist Jason Bond discovered a new species of trapdoor spider and decided to name it after his favourite musician. Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi was found in Jefferson County, Alabama, in 2007. 

Young is not the first musician to have a creature named after him. A species of beetle that looks as if it is wearing a tuxedo was named Orectochilus orbisonorum also in 2008 after the late musician Roy Orbison. 

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A former musician, Neil was in the 80's group The Cheaters who were once signed to EMI's Parlophone label, and released three albums. He was also a radio presenter and is still a regular music pundit on various BBC stations. Neil is the founder of the award winning web site This Day in Music which is…

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