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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

Britain always had a love for Burt Bacharach's melodies, rewarding him with six number one singles before he had the first one in his homeland, including back to back number ones in 1958 with Magic Moments and The Story Of My Life. But it wasn't until 14th April 1965 that his music was celebrated on British TV with Granada's The Bacharach Sound, several months before they did the same with The Songs Of Lennon and McCartney. The show saw Burt introducing Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick, Chuck Jackson, The Searchers and The Merseybeats, while the classic opening sequence had Burt driving around Swinging London landmarks. Surprised at the invitation Burt told the Daily Mirror "A television show like this would be unthinkable in the States." While he was in London over the summer he would also pop up on Ready Steady Go and Top Of The Pops. Appearances on Andy Willaims and Jose Feliciano specials kept his profile active throughout the remainder of the sixties, but his talent and star drawing power meant that another special of his own wouldn't be too far away.

After the success of ATV/ABC's This Is Tom Jones Bacharach was finally approached and the first of two specials in 1970 An Evening with Burt Bacharach / Good Evening Friends With Burt Bacharach appeared on 2nd August 1970 in the UK by ATV and as a part of the Kraft Music Hall in the USA. The now Academy Award winner was accompanied by Dionne Warwick, Joel Grey and Sacha Distel who ran through many of his hits. His second special of the year was the otherwise all female Burt Bacharach And The Stars / Another Evening With Burt Bacharach, broadcast 13th September 1970 by ATV with Mireille Mathieu, Dusty Springfield and Juliet Prowse in support this time.

The next special would not be shown in the UK, Singer Presents A Bacharach Potpourri was broadcast in the USA in 1971 and starred Bacharach with Barbra Streisand in a supporting role for once, along with Tom Jones.

In July 1972 ATV broadcast Burt Bacharach, Close To You as a part of their Saturday Variety strand. It featured Cilla Black and Isaac Hayes, while Rex Harrison joined the host in a visit to the stables of the Band of the Life Guards, while on 16th December 1972 his next special Burt Bacharach and Associates had guests Sammy Davis Jr, Anthony Newley and Vicki Carr.

In March 1973 Bacharach was back in London for the premier of the movie Lost Horizon, his last project with lyricist Hal David for over a decade. While in London he appeared on the children's show Magpie to talk about the songs for the film. He also made time for another special for ATV, The Burt Bacharach Show with guests Stevie Wonder, Gilbert O’Sullivan and Bette Midler, broadcast on 7th April 1973. While later in the month BBC1's The Sound of Petula gave up an entire show to his songs.

ATV's Bacharach ‘74 in May 1974 had Jack Jones as its guest star, but it would be the last of the ATV specials, broadcast as it was on a Friday night at 11pm. An In Concert show was broadcast by ATV five years later in June 1979, but was likely an import show.


Granada / ATV

14th April 1965 - 3rd May 1974