By Doug Levine
I wasn’t thinking about singer Dionne Warwick until I saw that she had just released a new album called “Now.” Well, I couldn’t help myself. After giving it my undivided attention track by track, the verdict – mine, at least – Dionne is in fine form. Not that I ever doubted her ability to carry a tune. She’s a young 71 years old, and hey, if Nancy Wilson can still belt them out at age 75, and Tony Bennett at 86, why not Dionne.
“Now” commemorates the 50th anniversary of Dionne Warwick’s debut single, “Don’t Make Me Over.” The five-time Grammy winner recorded a new version of that song for the new album, as well as other classics from the Burt Bacharach-Hal David songbook. She says choosing the songs was overwhelming, a decision too big for her alone to make. So, she took a novel approach: she asked her friends, colleagues, doctors, nurses, and even people on the street to choose their favorite Dionne Warwick song, and that’s what ended up on the album. Two songs from “Now” were written by the late Hal David after he and Bacharach went their separate ways. And Bacharach, now 84, selected two songs, including “Love Is Still The Answer.”
I personally didn’t participate in the poll but I’m happy to inject a few of my favorites, like the quintessential Bacharach-David numbers “Walk On By” and “Do You Know The Way To San Jose.” Although these two are absent from the album, Dionne does a fine job with a remake of “I Say A Little Prayer,” featuring vocals from her son David Elliott.
Check out this entertaining look back at Dionne’s past 50 years, including clips of her singing a few of her early hits, the making of “Now,” interviews with Burt Bacharach, Clive Davis and Phil Ramone, and tributes from Gladys Knight, Mary Wilson and Barry Manilow.