July 24, 2015

Burt Bacharach Brings Back The Hits: From Marlene Dietrich to Glastonbury


Long before Burt Bacharach became a household name as a very talented musician I was at a concert at which he could have been the musical director.
Sadly I missed him.

I went to see Marlene Dietrich. He had worked with her from 1958 to 1964.

I tend to think this experience helped boost his career and extended his fame.

Although she was of my parents' generation I had heard her songs, and a lot about her.

When I was offered a ticket to go I didn't hesitate.

She was, as far as I am concerned, the most charismatic performer I have ever seen on stage.

The way she walked out on stage it was like she was saying: well,,,,of course you would come to see me!

After the show I went to the stage door and shook hands with her.

She didn't say much but I think she was surprised to see a fan of my age.

In some ways she accidentally became the symbol of the Weimar Republic.

This was a time of decadence and poverty which preceded WW2.

She left her native Germany and went to Hollywood where she became famous for not only acting and singing, but also for supporting the Allied Troops.

I have watched a lot of her movies. And I still have the vinyl album which was released at the time.It is a 'live' album, and Marlene introduces Burt Bacharach  on it.

This picture, below, is truly iconic. The clip, although taken elsewhere, is exactly how she performed "Lili Marlene", and wore the same outfit when I went to see her.


The Weimar Republic is also well-depicted in the film "Cabaret" which was adapted from the novel The Berlin Stories (1939) by Christopher Isherwood and the 1951 play I Am a Camera

"Cabaret" was based on a stage musical. The music was by Kander and Ebb of "Chicago" fame.

I still remember a scene where Lisa Minelli is wearing green nail polish and says:The colour is called "Divinely Decadent".

Nowadays it's no big deal...back then things were different.

 Marlene Dietrich in "The Blue Angel" - 1930.



Just for fun: Madeleine Khan's terrific spoof of Marlene from "Blazing Saddles" - 1986.

In an era of elaborate arena tours and pop star extravaganza, an ageing yet still agile Burt Bacharach will return to Australia to show that the oldies really are the goodies. 

The 87-year-old creator of enduring singles such as I Say a Little Prayer, Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head and Walk On By will tour the country in a nostalgic look back at a six-decade career that has included collaborations with Perry Como, Aretha Franklin, Tom Jones, the Carpenters and Dionne Warwick.

After decades in the industry, Bacharach’s catchy tunes remain popular, as recently demonstrated when he charmed older fans — and gained some new ones — in a performance on the main stage at England’s Glastonbury Festival, where he provided a sentimental journey through past hits on a bill he shared with Kanye West and Pharrell Williams.

The Australian leg of Bacharach’s tour will begin in Adelaide on October 24, before he travels to Perth, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and the Gold Coast.

With many thanks to The Australian

Picture credit: Meredy, and lots more information there on Marlene Dietrich.

Marlene's Filmography here. 

Burt Bacharach's biography. 

Above: Burt at Glastonbury.                                                             


Marlene Dietrich immortalised by the legendary Hollywood photographer, George Hurrell.

Picture credit:ABC.es

See also:
Cilla Black's Biography On TV     

George Hurrell: Stars of the Silver Screen Immortalized By Master of the Hollywood Glamor Photo 

Herb Alpert Gives The Gift Of Music To LA Music Students - And Now A New Album 

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