Honoring Burt Bacharach

Legendary composer Burt Bacharach died yesterday at age 94.

His songs could fit anywhere from Hollywood to Broadway, and they have never faded away. He has often been described as the “unapologetic epitome of cool.”

During his illustrious career, he scored over 50 chart hits in the United States and the United Kingdom, with artists including Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Dionne Warwick, Barbra Streisand, Tom Jones, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Costello, and The Beatles all recording his songs.

The winner of three Oscars, two Golden Globes, and six competitive Grammy Awards, Burt Bacharach was hailed as music’s “greatest living composer” when he accepted the Grammy Lifetime Achievement honor in 2008.

My favorite quotations from Burt Bacharach:

Music breeds its own inspiration. You can only do it by doing it. You may not feel like it, but you push yourself. It’s a work process. Or just improvise. Something will come.

Never be ashamed to write a melody that people remember.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love, It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.

The groovy thing about pop music is that it’s wide open. Anything can happen.

For me, it’s about the peaks and valleys of where a record can take you. You can tell a story and be able to be explosive one minute, then get quiet as kind of a satisfying resolution.

It wasn’t about writing songs to dance to. It was about recording music that felt right. I wanted to make it palatable. There are no guarantees.

You shouldn’t hold on to the past too much, even the good stuff.

Knowing when to leave may be the smartest thing anyone can learn.

My favorite song:


ABBA’s Amazing Comeback

According to the men—Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaenus—there was no elaborate plan to release an album forty years after their extraordinary first run. In a recent interview, Mr. Andersson commented, “What is there to prove? They’ll still play ‘Dancing Queen’ next year.”

To recap…

Between 1973 and 1981, the quartet released eight studio albums that generated 20 hits on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, sold tens of millions of albums, and built a loyal fanbase. That fanbase has continued to grow across all generations and borders. At Colin Powell’s funeral service, the U.S. Army Brass Quintet played ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” a personal favorite of the trailblazing leader and diplomat.

Considered one of Sweden’s top figures in pop music, ABBA has its own permanent museum in Stockholm.


Their new album, Voyage, was made in secret and launched on November 5, 2021. As before, the men wrote the songs but left the singing to the ladies—Agnetha Faltskog and Anna-Frid Lyngstad.

Described as “vintage ABBA, on par with their classic 1970s run,” the 10-track CD was definitely worth the wait.

The Swedish septuagenarians have made an amazing comeback, recapturing the spirit and themes of their trademark music: love, betrayal, estrangement, and reunions. In sync with the times, they’ve included an environmental message in “Bumblebees”:

“It’s quite absurd, this summer morning/To think we could be trapped/Inside a world where all is changing/Too fast for bumblebees to adapt.”

I could easily listen to the entire CD without skipping a single track. Right now, I’m leaning toward “When You Danced with Me” as a personal favorite.

Yin | Yang | Raunchy

songsaboutmermaidsWhen I Googled “Songs about Mermaids,” I came up with 1,270,000 hits. While I don’t plan to visit all those sites, I will share a selection of songs over the next few months.

In today’s post, I’m featuring a group of Canadian artists, two of whom are near and dear to me.

After receiving my contract for Between Land and Sea, I asked my musically talented brothers to compose the music for the trailer. I had envisioned my brothers collaborating and composing one theme song, but that’s not how their muses worked. Each brother had his own unique interpretation of the middle-aged mermaid who was aged beyond recognition and then dumped on the fog-drenched shores of southwest England. Unable to choose between them, I decided to use both versions and hired Erin Kelly to produce the trailers.

Ernie G came up with the Yin version. Aptly titled, “It’s Your Time,” the soft, contemplative music gently skims over the heartbreak, encouraging Isabella to imagine a happier future.

Augy G delivered the Yang version in “Father Time Blinked.” Very different music with several pointed comments and questions sprinkled throughout the lyrics. Is Augy taking Isabella to task?

I couldn’t resist adding “The Mermaid” song performed by Canadian folk rock band Great Big Sea in 2005. Written and originally recorded by Shel Silverstein, this song features the lament of a whaler who has fallen in love with a mermaid but despairs over her fish parts.


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