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Profile: Dionne Warwick

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Dionne Warwick

Dionne Warwick

source: myspace.com

Born:

Marie Dionne Warrick, December 12, 1940, East Orange, NJ

Genres:

Pop, Pop-soul, Soft rock, Adult Contemporary

Instruments:

Vocals

Contributions to music:

  • Along with songwriter Burt Bacharach, created an extremely classy and urbane form of pop-soul
  • Instrumental in bringing R&B to a new level of sophistication
  • Her elegant, stylish stage presence has been an influence on several legendary vocal "divas"
  • Provided a much-needed outlet for sophisticated pop songwriters like Bacharach and David
  • Has had more chart hits than any female singer in history with the exception of Aretha Franklin

Early years:

Born into a gospel music family, Dionne originally made a name for herself as part of the Gospelaires, a vocal trio that eventually sang backup on several pop-soul classics such as Ben E. King's "Spanish Harlem" and "Stand By Me." While recording vocals for the Drifters' "Mexican Divorce," Warrick was approached by songwriter Burt Bacharach, who had her smooth style in mind for a few new songs he'd written. The first of these, "Don't Make Me Over," was released in 1962, was a minor pop hit but did well on the R&B charts; when the label mistakenly read "Warwick," she decided to adopt it as her stage name.

Success:

Her career really took off in 1964, when "Anyone Who Had A Heart," another song from Bacharach and lyricist Hal David, made it to the pop, R&B, and adult contemporary top ten. Working in a style beyond rock, she weathered the British Invasion well, and by the late Sixties was a constant presence on all three charts. By 1973, however, Bacharach-David had ceased to be a team, and Dionne was forced to find other collaborators, like Philly soulster Thom Bell ("Then Came You"), Barry Manilow (who produced "I Know I'll Never Love This Way Again") and the Bee Gees' Barry Gibb (who wrote and produced 1982's "Heartbreaker").

Later years:

In 1985, Warwick, who had always shown an interest in metaphysical phenomena, signed on to create infomercials for her Psychic Friends Network, the first national psychic hotline. The same year, she recorded the Bacharach-David reunion single "That's What Friends Are For," along with several huge guest stars, to raise money for AIDS research. Although her alliance with psychics was said to have hurt her career, it appears changing tastes are merely to blame for her declining presence on the pop charts. She does, however, continue to record and tour actively today, as well as appearing on several television shows.

Other facts:

  • Originally wanted to teach music and not perform; has a doctorate in music education from Hartt College of Music in Connecticut
  • Her 1965 song ""Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" just barely lost to Tom Jones as the theme to the James Bond movie Thunderball
  • On the advice of a numerologist, added an "e" to the end of her last name from 1971-1975
  • Hosted the syndicated music countdown Solid Gold in the 1982 season
  • Is the niece of Cissy Houston, cousin of Whitney Houston, and sister of Dee Dee Warwicke (who sang the original version of "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me")
  • Appointed US Ambassador of Health in 1987 for her AIDS work

Awards/Honors:

  • GRAMMY Awards (1969, 1970, 1979, 1986)
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame (6922 Hollywood Blvd.)

Recorded work:

#1 hits:
Pop:
  • "Then Came You" with the Spinners (1974)
  • "That's What Friends Are For" (1985)
R&B:
  • "That's What Friends Are For" (1985)
Top 10 hits:
Pop:
  • "Anyone Who Had A Heart" (1964)
  • "Walk On By" (1964)
  • "Message To Michael" (1966)
  • "I Say A Little Prayer" (1967)
  • "Do You Know The Way To San Jose" (1968)
  • "Theme From Valley Of The Dolls" (1968)
  • "Alfie" (1967)
  • "I Say A Little Prayer" (1967)
  • "Do You Know The Way To San Jose" (1968)
  • "Theme From Valley Of The Dolls" (1968)
  • "This Girl's In Love With You" (1969)
  • "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" (1970)
  • "I'll Never Love This Way Again" (1979)
  • "Heartbreaker" (1982)
R&B:
  • "Don't Make Me Over" (1963)
  • "Anyone Who Had A Heart" (1964)
  • "Walk On By" (1964)
  • "Message To Michael" (1966)
  • "I Say A Little Prayer" (1967)
  • "Alfie" (1967)
  • "This Girl's In Love With You" (1969)
  • "Then Came You" with the Spinners (1974)
  • "How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye" (1980)
  • "Love Power" (1987)
#1 albums:
R&B:
  • Here Where There Is Love (1967)
Top 10 albums:
Pop:
  • Make Way For Dionne Warwick (1965)
  • Dionne Warwick's Golden Hits, Part One (1967)
  • Valley Of The Dolls (1968)
R&B:
  • Make Way For Dionne Warwick (1965)
  • Dionne Warwick In Paris (1966)
  • Here I Am (1966)
  • Dionne Warwick's Golden Hits, Part One (1967)
  • Valley Of The Dolls (1968)
  • Dionne Warwick's Golden Hits, Part 2 (1969)
  • Dionne Warwick's Greatest Motion Picture Hits (1969)
  • Promises, Promises (1969)
  • Soulful (1969)
  • I'll Never Fall In Love Again (1970)
  • Very Dionne (1971)
  • Dionne (1979)
  • Friends (1985)
Other popular recordings: "You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart)," "A House Is Not A Home," "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself," "Trains And Boats And Planes," "The Windows Of The World," "(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me," "Promises, Promises," "Who Is Gonna Love Me?" "Let Me Go To Him," "Make It Easy On Yourself," "Paper Mache," "Who Gets The Guy," "The Green Grass Starts to Grow," "Deja Vu," "After You," "No Night So Long," "For You," "Friends In Love," "All The Love In The World," "Take The Short Way Home," "Finder Of Lost Loves," "Run To Me," "Whisper In The Dark," "Reservations For Two"
Covered by: Naked Eyes, Gloria Gaynor, The Stranglers, Average White Band, Aretha Franklin, Isaac Hayes, Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield, Stan Getz, The Pretenders, Melissa Manchester, Paul Carrack, Al Green, Sybil, The Beach Boys, Luther Vandross, Laura Nyro, Everything But The Girl, Neil Diamond
Appears in the movies: "Slaves" (1969), "The Love Machine" (1971), "The Day The Music Died" (1977), "Rent-A-Cop" (1987)
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