“Anyone Who Had A Heart” was a song written by the superstar songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David in 1963. It was, according to Wikipedia, the first time polyrhythm was used in popular music; that is, it changed time signatures constantly, back and forth from /4 to 5/4, with a bar of 7/8 thrown in at the end of the song just for fun. They presented it to Dionne Warwick, their “go to girl,” in unfinished form, and she loved it, and wanted to record it, so they finished it. She recorded the song in November 1963 in one take. It was released first in Detroit, where it went to #1, and peaked at #8 on the Hot 100 and #6 on the Cash Box survey.
When George Martin heard Warwick’s version as it made its way up the British charts, he immediately thought of Cilla Black. As I mentioned on her Two for Tuesday post, warwick and Black would cover a lot of the same Bacharach-David material. Cilla’s version debuted at #28 on the British Top 50 and eventually reached #1 in 1964. The BBC says that Black’s version of the song was “the biggest female UK chart hit of the 1960’s.”
I had originally envisioned this as a battle between Ms. Warwick and Ms. Black, then discovered a number of other artists had done the song. The current “official version” is done by Josie James, who recorded it for her 2012 album, That Jazz. It occurred to me to make the battle between Ms. Warwick and Ms. James. In the end, I decided not to go with that, either. Instead, I chose two completely different artists. It’s a beautiful song, regardless of who does it.
CONTESTANT #1: Luther Vandross
The late, great Luther Vandross included his version on his 1986 album, Give Me The Reason. Luther was a “smooth jazz” favorite, and it’s sad that he died so suddenly and so young ten years ago. He left an impressive catalog of music behind.
CONTESTANT #2: Linda Ronstadt
My heart breaks any time I hear Linda Ronstadt sing. Parkinson’s disease forced her into retirement about four years ago. Again, we still have the music she recorded over the forty-plus years she was active. She recorded this song in 1993 for her album, Winter Light. This is a live performance from The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno in 1993. Branford Marsalis, Jay’s bandleader at the time, plays the saxophone solo.
Now, it’s time to vote…
With all the versions I’ve listened to, this is becoming one of my favorite songs, regardless who does it. But who do you think did it better, Luther Vandross or Linda Ronstadt? Vote, if you would, in the comments below, and I’d love to know why you chose that version.
Then, be sure and visit the other Battles of the Bands taking place today:
Tossing It Out
Far Away Series
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
Your Daily Dose
Curious as a Cathy
DC Relief – Battle of the Bands
This Belle Rocks
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Shady Dell Music & Memories *
Debbie D. at The Doglady’s Den *
Angels Bark *
Jingle Jangle Jungle *
The folks I’ve marked with an asterisk have recently started participating, and I’m sure they’d especially appreciate a visit.
Voting is open until next Monday, June 8. Be sure and join us then.
from The Sound of One Hand Typing