When it comes to icons of the music industry, few come close to Dionne Warwick. Since rising to fame as Burt Bacharach’s protégé in the early 1960s, she’s become one of the most charted (and beloved) female vocalists of all time, making it to the Billboard charts an astonishing 80 times between 1962 and 1998. Given the length of her recording career, picking a favorite era is hard enough. Picking a favorite song is practically impossible. But we’ve given it a shot anyway. Here’s our pick of the 10 best Dionne Warwick songs of all time.
10. (There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me
The Burt Bacharach/ Hal David song (There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me was written specifically for Warwick, but ended up becoming a hit for Lou Johnson first, who reached No. 49 on the Billboard Hot 100 with it in the summer of 1964. Warwick eventually got around to recording her own version of the song in 1968, releasing it as the B side to Who Is Gonna Love Me and earning a top ten hit in the process.
9. Make It Easy on Yourself
Make It Easy on Yourself was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. As Smooth Radio explains, Warwick actually recorded the first demo, leading Jerry Butler (who had a hit with it in 1962) to comment, “Man, it’s a great song, and the girl who’s singing it, and the arrangement, is a hit.” Warwick finally released it as a single in 1970, at which point it reached No. 2 on the Easy Listening chart, No. 37 on the Hot 100, and No. 26 on the R&B chart.
8. Anyone Who Had a Heart
Anyone Who Had a Heart was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for Warwick in 1963. According to those in the know, she nailed it in just one take. Released in November 1963, it was a top ten hit in the US, Canada, Spain, Netherlands, South Africa, Belgium, and Australia. In the UK and Ireland, she was beaten to the post by Cilla Black, whose own version of the song climbed to No. 1 before Warwick’s original had even hit the shelves
In 1982, Warwick enjoyed a top 10 hit thanks to a little help from the kings of disco. Heartbreaker was composed by Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees, who also contributed backing vocals to Warwick’s version. Speaking about the song later, Maurice recalled: “I cried my eyes out after we wrote it. I drove home and thought, ‘We should be doing this one’, and when she did it, it was brilliant. We sang on it, and it still became like a duet between the Bee Gees and Dionne Warwick.”
6. I’ll Say a Little Prayer
Aretha Franklin’s version of I’ll Say a Little Prayer may be the most famous, but Burt Bacharach and Hal David actually wrote it for Warwick, who recorded it a full 2 years before the Queen of Soul turned it into an anthem. Bacharach wasn’t happy with the original recording and thought it sounded rushed, despite 10 re-takes. It was held back until 1967, when it eventually emerged on the album The Window of the World. Released as a single in October 1967, it peaked at No. 4 on the Hot 100 and No. 8 on the Billboard R & B Chart, certifying Gold the following year.
5. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’
One of the very few songs on our list not composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ was written by Phil Spector, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and first recorded in 1964 by the Righteous Brothers. While few would argue that the original isn’t the definitive version, Warwick gave the duo a run for their money with her own lovely take on the classic, which became a top 20 hit in 1969.
4. Do You Know the Way to San Jose
Another hit written especially for Warwick by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Do You Know the Way to San Jose became one of Warwick’s biggest ever hits in 1968, peaking at No. 10 on the US Hot 100, No. 8 in the UK, Ireland, and Canada, and charting in the top 20 across numerous other countries. If all that wasn’t enough, it also snagged Warwick her first-ever Grammy award. It’s since sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide.
3. That’s What Friends Are For
That’s What Friends Are For was written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager and first recorded by Rod Stewart for the 1982 film, “Night Shift.” Three years later, Warwick teamed up with old pals Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder to record a charity version. As you’d expect of a song featuring four music legends, it was a runaway success, becoming the number 1 single in the US for 1986 and charting in the top 20 in numerous other countries. Most crucially, it helped raise $3 million towards AIDS research and prevention.
2. I’ll Never Fall in Love Again
Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote I’ll Never Fall in Love Again for the 1968 musical, “Promises, Promises.” Since then, it’s been covered by numerous artists, including Bobbie Gentry, Johnny Mathis, Deacon Blue, Carpenters, and Ella Fitzgerald. Warwick put her own stamp on the song in 1969, taking it to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spending three weeks at the top of the Easy Listening chart with it.
1. Walk On By
If any song has a claim to being Dionne Warwick’s most beloved signature song, it’s Walk On By. Like most of her early hits, it was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David specifically for Warwick. Released as a single from the album Make Way for Dionne Warwick in November 1963, it stormed the charts, climbing all the way to No. 1 on the Cash Box Rhythm and Blues Chart and peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rhythm and Blues Recording. Over the years, numerous artists have covered the song, but none have come close to besting the original.