25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2013
Literally could not put it down, and I don't often feel that. It's all here, warts and all. Unlike other recent celebrity-written bios, Burt is not afraid to share the facts/causation on both his successes and failures, plus the personal high points and the terrible heartaches along the way.
You will finally find out exactly what caused the split with Hal David, Dionne Warwick and his ex-wives and the inside scoop on the impact of the mega-bomb "Lost Horizon" (1973). And how they all later (respectively) reconciled. How Marlene Dietrich really was. How difficult it was to get "Promises, Promises" to Broadway with producer David Merrick threatening to replace him if Bacharach didn't get out of the hospital (with pneumonia, yet) to write replacement songs. (And how oddly-dissatisfied he was with the show.) Most devastating are the private details on his autistic daughter Nikki, her difficult life and eventual suicide.
Burt is very direct, witty, and above all candid and honest. He has the main participants in his life comment. You can hear his voice in your head, telling you his story: both the fulfillment and the many awful, blunt rejections. He sadly doesn't have room to comment on every album, song, movie or celebrity he was associated with, but what's here is choice! And you definitely know who he considered naughty and/or nice. You gotta hand it to him: some of what's in the book is a bit unflattering about him, but he tells you what you want to know. A stand-up guy. Stop reading this and order the book!
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2013
The pages felt like they were turning themselves as one story seemed to flow effortlessly into the next. Burt held nothing back and couldn't have been more honest and humble in his depiction of his life to date.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2013
Bacharach is one of the most significant song writers of the last 60 years, and his memoir is tone perfect. His story is earnestly and engagingly written. If anyone has a heart, it's Mr. Bacharach, and he shows it time and again throughout this personal account of his extraordinary life. I've always loved and admired the guy and now even more so after reading this wonderfully engrossing and candid reminiscence.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2013
I'm a huge Bacharach fan, and always have been. He's a supreme songwriter in my opinion. His memoir is very good. He does not pull any punches and is honest, brutally so at times, about his life and events. His past marriages were not successful and he never seemed to go into them with the right attitude. He has a huge ego and was too involved in his work and himself to be a good marriage partner. The man is a perfectionist and I could imagine very difficult indeed to live and work with at times. His sadness over his daughter is obvious, and there is much conflict there with past decisions regarding the best way to handle his daughter's issues (daughter he had with Angie Dickinson). Some wonderful stories in the book about working with some of the greats in the music industry - especially interesting to see him discuss Dionne Warwick, since he is so closely linked with her stellar career.
A very good read for anyone who enjoys memoirs, and more so if you are a Bacharach fan.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This is a great book of a great career by a true musician. There is much here to enjoy like his conducting for Marlene Dietrich which influenced so much of his early career. And this book is also not without controversy as you see some of the good of the person as well as the bad.
Of course as a celebrity some of the most followed parts will be about his marriages to Angie Dickinson and Carol Bayer Sager. Frankly, I didn't know he had a third marriage to Jane with whom he now has kids. But the most heartbreaking part of the book is his recount of his daughter Nikki. Here, and throughout, the book has liberal paragraph quotes from others, particularly Angie Dickinson. This strengthens the story immensely but can sometimes put Burt in a bad light. I applaud him for including these parts. Also, Carole Bayer Sager with whom he wrote after parting with Hal David is quoted, and given the manner of their divorce, it's interesting she would participate.
But a good book needs a happy ending and his final chapter being awarded the Gershwin award is a great story as is reading of his meetings with at least three Presidents.
This is a flawed man with incredible talent and his book correctly tells this story. I strongly recommend for your reading enjoyment.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2013
Yes, this a 5-star book, but Bacharach has not matured much when it comes to women. He is living in 2013 and is still describing women in 1950s neanderthal-speak -- as "dogs," having "great tits," "hot"... You get the idea. (Yeah, YOU do, but Burt still has no clue.) He does speak somewhat respectfully about his mother and Marlene Dietrich. Where he seems to go awry is with women he has sex with -- where he reveals some sort of eternal Queens, Brooklyn, or Jersey Coast teenage stunted growth. What Burt Needs Now Is To Know How To Love. Hey Burt, women ARE NOT OBJECTS!!!
Meanwhile, Burt does show us what it takes to be a great artist. That must necessarily be a combination of crushingly hard, grueling work and the love of pain associated with enormous energy, sleeplessness and persistence. This was also true of Disney, Edison, and any awesome creator you can name. And, yes, part of the price of giving yourself 100% to your art is to intentionally or unintentionally trample on the people who make the mistake of expecting a lot of affection and conversation from you.
Still, Burt's honesty merits accolades. He pulls no punches.
And if you are a musican, you will absolutely not be able to put this book down because you will learn what you must do to play with the big boys.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2014
This is a short review of the book, and has nothing to do with the wonderful songs Burt Bacharach has written.
The autobiography is thrown together and poorly edited. For example on pg. 272 he reminds us that he played for Reagan and how different it was than playing for Obama, and then three pages later, on pg. 275 he makes the exact same point again. The tone is adolescent, high-school like. I have no idea what Robert Greenfeld, his co-author, actually did.
Beyond how frustrating the book is chronologically (what year are we in, did we just jump back 8 years?), the worst is that you grow to dislike the man. I am sorry to discover how much he thinks of himself, how pleased he is with all his accomplishments and the company he keeps.
I really, really like his music. This book is a hard pill to swallow.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2013
I was hesitant in buying "Anyone Who had a Heart: My life and Music". Some of the reviews made me think that this was going to be another egotistical biography by another musician-you know-booze, broads, etc. But it is so much more than that-no one is harder on himself than Burt-he acknowledges his faults but also acknowledges that he probably would have done the same mistakes given the circumstances. He writes like a man of his generation-he was born in the '20s, was in the Korean war and had his heyday in the 1960's--(although truthfully he had heydays in almost every decade). While reading his book, he reminded me of Don Draper(Mad Men)--the women, the angst, dealing with his mother and of course, his looks. He was truly of that generation and his voice and/or writing shows it-100%. I also liked that he had people from his past put in their two cents-esp. his current and ex-wives, Hal David, Dionne, etc.
My favorite part of the book is when his daughter Nicki had just been born 3 months prematurely and is in the hospital clinging for her life (the honesty in which he writes about his daughter Nicki is very rare for a parent and also, in my opinion admirable). After being with her at the hospital every day, he takes a few minutes to relax in his pool--and he relaxes by saving the little insects that fall into the pool-by doing that he hopes that his daughter will be saved. So if you need a book to read this summer-esp. if you have any musical training, this is the book to read. Long review but one more thing-if there is unsung hero in this book-it is Burt's long-suffering, often ignored collaborator and wordsmith--Hal David.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2013
I could have read more. Bacharach was unflinching in his account of an exceptional life. You could hear his voice, probably because much of the book was written from taped interviews with him.
At his age, I think he simply wanted to put it all out there to let people know who he really is. The book reveals him as a perfectionist but not perfect, tortured at times but genius. With Hal David and Dionne Warwick, he formed one of the most successful collaborations in American music history. His meeting Dionne was, as he has called it, "a blessed event". He and Hal didn't hesitate to make her their muse during the height of the civil rights movement. I had the feeling that he wanted to write more about Dionne Warwick but didn't. He hinted that she was territorial about the music and about him, but he didn't elaborate. Classy move...people can keep speculating. It was interesting that she and his ex-wives contributed passages to the book.
Despite his seeming "Alfie-like" ways with women, he finally found love with his current wife, over 30 years his junior. And yet his first passion comes across as his music.
With every life, there is pain. Burt's was clearly his daughter Nikki, who was born with serious problems that prevented her from living a normal life.
As a major Bacharach fan, I loved the aptly titled book. I applaud Burt for telling his story his way. His fans, like me, will always come back to his songs...some of the best ever written.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2013
Burt Bacharach presents his reflections on his life from his birth in Kansas City in 1928 to his receiving The Gershwin Prize for lifetime achievement in music in 2012. I found the book to be very refreshing in terms of detailing his stories that formed his career. I also appreciated the insertion of dissenting views from various people mentioned in the memoir that tell a slightly different story from what Burt tells us. Burt was very reclusive in his early life and did not do well in high school which led him to being excluded from attending the prestigious music schools at the time. He settled on attending McGill University in Montreal, Canada where he got his early training in the music field. Of course, his stories on how he wrote famous songs like "Message to Michael," "What the World Needs Now," "Heartlight" and other songs were very readable.
The book is full of conflicts with various people. It tells of the disastrous effort in creating the score for Lost Horizon, a remake of the classic Frank Capra film. The depression that he had as a result from this fiasco led to the breaking of his partnership with Hal David. It was at this time that he had a falling out with Dionne Warwick, a longtime colleague who sang most of Bacharach's early works. His devotion to his work led to the straining of many relationships including his first three marriages, one of which was to actress Angie Dickinson. The greatest crisis in his life was his relationship with his oldest daughter Nikki. She had great health problems, both physical and mental, as a result of her being born prematurely and the constant failures of her rehabilitation led to her eventual suicide in 2007. As a non musician, I found it hard to follow the musical terms that he covers in the memoir. Four/four, three/three and seven/eighths are terms that are rather foreign to me. Also, I found it interesting that he was furious at people who made callous comments about how Nikki looked at her birth and that if they were him, they would throw her away. He also was livid about his girlfriend's decision to have an abortion. It would have been interesting if he would have fleshed out these incidents in his life.
This book was a great read and should be read by those interested in pop music history. A solid effort with an index and notes on sources. Four Stars.