Watch Elvis Costello Pay Tribute To Burt Bacharach With Covers Of “Baby It’s You” & “Anyone Who Had A Heart”
Earlier this week, Burt Bacharach died at the age of 94. Bacharach was one of the giants of pop songwriting in the ’60s, but his career remained relevant decades later. Bacharach continued to write giant hits well into the ’80s. In the ’90s, Bacharach formed a working partnership with Elvis Costello. Last night, Costello paid tribute to his old friend.
Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach first worked together in 1996, when they collaborated on the song “God Gave Me Strength” for the Grace Of My Heart soundtrack. Two years later, they released the much-acclaimed album Painted From Memory. Costello and Bacharach kept working together over the years, and there’s a box set of all the songs that they wrote together coming out next month.
Last year, Elvis Costello announced an ambitious, concept-heavy residency at New York’s Gramercy Theatre. By the time it’s over, Costello will have played 10 shows, 20 songs each night, and he won’t have repeated any songs. He even revealed incomplete setlists for every show. The first of those shows was last night, and life intervened. As Rolling Stone points out, Costello planned to dedicate last night to songs that he’d written in 1977 and earlier, and he did play all the songs that he planned to play. But Costello also took time to sing a couple of Burt Bacharach classics.
Costello told the crowd, “It’s been a tough day, I can’t deny. A really great man left us yesterday. And when somebody reached a great age, people say, ‘Well, it was a good ending.’ Yeah, it’s never time to say goodbye to somebody if you love them. I’m not ashamed to say I did love this man for everything he gave, Mr. Burt Bacharach.” Costello also took issue with the idea that Bacharach was an apolitical songwriter before covering “Baby It’s You,” a pop standard that Bacharach co-wrote with Luther Dixon and Mack David for the Shirelles in 1961. Here’s a fan-made video:
Later in the set, Costello also sang “Anyone Who Had A Heart,” which Bacharach and Hal David wrote for Dionne Warwick in 1963:
Costello told last night’s crowd that the residency will continue to salute Burt Bacharach, especially when his pianist Steve Nieve joins him: “We will, of course, be delving into the songbook that Burt and I assembled over 30 years.”