Book Review: Twisting by the Pool

Rock & roll summer reading

Twisting by the Pool

Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music

by Burt Bacharach with Robert Greenfield
Harper, 304 pp, $27.99

Although Burt Bacharach's prose reads a tad less elegant than his sublimely sophisticated songs, Anyone Who Had a Heart does exactly what a memoir by a veteran musician ought to do, surveying history and musical achievements with the benefit of insight and introspection gained through time, experience, and therapy. Indeed, those familiar with the songwriting icon's genial public persona and jet-set Sixties image may be surprised by his willingness to explore darker emotional territory here. Bacharach's refreshingly honest in accepting responsibility for professional and personal failures, employing the often illuminating device of allowing various exes, friends, and collaborators to chime in with their own recollections, not all of them complimentary, and some conflicting with Bacharach's own version of events. That said, deeper exploration of his star-crossed partnerships with lyricist Hal David (whom he admits to taking for granted) and vocal muse Dionne Warwick would've been nice. Despite that, what's here is consistently absorbing and informative, offering enough glimpses into Bacharach's character and creative process to make the book worthwhile.

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Burt Bacharach, Robert Greenfield

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