Bacharach’s power as a composer is undeniable. His contributions to music, both inside and outside of the context of scores and film, are immense. Not only did he produce dozens of his own albums over the years, but he made countless others with and for incredible musicians. He even worked with the legendary Marlene Dietrich as an arranger and conductor for four albums over the course of ten years. The guy was a marvel.
But his contributions to the world of movies cannot, and definitely will not, go unnoticed or uncelebrated. His “Butch Cassidy” soundtrack was a decade-defining work, and “Raindrops” became a staple ballad even outside the confines of the film. It still has a heavy rotation on easy listening stations and remains a favorite of those who love soulful, emotionally thoughtful music. In short, it’s a classic.
Bacharach’s film compositions aren’t his only contributions to the genre, though. He also made some really fun and memorable appearances in big-budget pictures. He became a staple in the “Austin Powers” series, as both an emblematic icon of the time that Austin (played by Mike Myers) simply loved and also as actual cameo appearances in which he performed underscores Austin’s romantic pursuits. He was a man of many talents, but he always shined brightest through his love of music.
In 2013, The Daily Beast asked Bacharach what he wanted inscribed on his tombstone. “He tried to be a very good person,” was the musician’s response — and it’s clear with all the light his music brought to this world that he succeeded in that. The beloved composer leaves behind his wife, Jane Hansen, and three children, and will be sorely missed.