Posted 20 hours ago

Greatest Hits

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An exceptionally gifted pianist and a sumptuous arranger, Bacharach wrote a mind-boggling number of classics and narrowing them down to a dozen best is a fool’s errand —even the briefest comprehensive “greatest hits” collections have around 50, and he wrote more than 100 with David alone and even more with others across a 70-plus-year career. What follows below aren’t necessarily his biggest hits or his best songs or even his many perfect pop songs (except for one at the end), but rather 12 stellar examples, among many, that illustrate his genius. But for all that, to countless millions of ears it’s simply beautiful music — art and ability and human spirit at its peak, the same thrill one gets when watching a gymnast or ballerina or downhill skier so talented they make it look like anyone can do it. When Rupert Everett somehow leads a singalong of Bacharach and David’s “I Say a Little Prayer” at Cameron Diaz’s’ rehearsal dinner in the 1997 film “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” some suspension of disbelief is required — it’s a really, really difficult song to sing, both melodically and rhythmically.

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