Stop Stalking Me

This song ‘Walk On By’ is about a woman who asks her former lover to leave her alone, giving a public face to a private heartbreak.  The song was composed by Burt Bacharach, and the lyrics were written by Hal David for singer Dionne Warwick in 1963.  In the opinion of her label Scepter Records, and herself this song was her last shot at making the Top 40.  The song peaked at number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the Cash Box Rhythm and Blues Chart in June 1964 and was nominated for a 1965 Grammy Award for the Best Rhythm and Blues Recording and this song was the major international hit and a million seller that solidified her career.

Burt Freeman Bacharach is an American composer, songwriter, record producer, pianist, and singer who has composed hundreds of popular hit songs from the late 1950s through the 1980s, many in collaboration with popular lyricist Hal David. In 1957, Bacharach and lyricist Hal David met while at the Brill Building in New York City, and began their writing partnership.  They received a career breakthrough when their song ‘The Story of My Life’ was recorded by Marty Robbins, becoming a number 1 hit on the U.S. in 1957.  Burt Bacharach and Hal David were among the many Jewish kids churning out hits in the Brill Building in the late 50s along with Lieber & Stoller, Pomus & Shuman, and three married couples being Goffin & King, Barry & Greenwich and Mann & Weil.  David started working with Bacharach in the late 1950s on tunes recorded by artists including Perry Como, Gene Pitney, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, the Carpenters, Barbra Streisand and Warwick.  Some of Hal David’s other classics are ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head’, and ‘What the World Needs Now Is Love’.  Hal David was president of ASCAP American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers from 1980 till 1986.  In 1973, Burt Bacharach and Hal David ended their collaboration.

In 1961, Bacharach discovered the 21 year old singer Dionne Warwick while she was a session accompanist performing background on the Drifters’ recording of ‘Mexican Divorce’.  After agreeing to work with him, Dionne made her professional recording debut and later that year had her first hit, ‘Don’t Make Me Over’, which reached number 21 on the Hot 100 and number 5 R&B.  Dionne Warwick was a young black woman standing up to authority at a very different time in history she had confidence and conviction.  She was one of the first black recording artists to reach a mainstream pop audience that knew no racial or ethnic barriers.  At age 16, she toured the American south as a backing vocalist with Sam Cooke, the Drifters and the Shirelles when racial segregation was still in practice.

‘Walk On By’ was always part of her routine when she performed and it became Dionne Warwick’s signature song.  It was recorded at Bell Sound Studios in New York, live with a full orchestra including strings, horns, a rhythm section, and background singers and the song was featured on her album Make Way for Dionne Warwick.  Bacharach said that ‘Walk On By’ was the first time that he tried putting two grand pianos on a record in the studio.  Different takes were played with him and Artie Butler and Paul Griffin on piano.  Burt Bacharach was sitting at the piano or in the control room, and on about the 28th take, someone said “I think we may have it”, and they had done two tunes in a three-hour session, ‘Walk On By’ and ‘Anyone Who Had A Heart’.  The song was originally the B-side of ‘Any Old Time Of Day’.  It didn’t really get played on the radio until a New York DJ named Murray the K turned the record over after holding a contest for which side the listeners preferred, and they chose ‘Walk On By’.  This song is listed as #70 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and it’s been covered hundreds of times, by everyone from Johnny Mathis to Vanilla Fudge.

Within ten years after she had her first hit, Warwick and her songwriting team of Burt Bacharach & Hal David, racked up more than 30 hit singles and she had released more than 18 consecutive Top 100 singles, including her classics like, ‘Walk On By’, ‘Alfie’, ‘Say a Little Prayer’, ‘This Girl’s in Love With You’, ‘I’ll Never Fall in Love Again’ and the theme from ‘Valley of the Dolls’, and she also had about 20 best-selling albums.  Warwick received her first Grammy Award in 1968 for her mega-hit, ‘Do You Know the Way to San Jose?’ and a second Grammy in 1970 for the best-selling album, ‘I’ll Never Fall in Love Again’.  She became the first African-American solo female artist of her generation to win the prestigious award for Best Contemporary Female Vocalist Performance.  This award was only presented to one other legend, Miss Ella Fitzgerald.  Warwick is second only to Aretha Franklin as the most-charted female vocalist of all time, with 56 of Warwick’s singles making the Billboard Hot 100 between 1962 and 1998 and 80 singles making all Billboard charts combined.  It is hard to fathom that in the year 2013, at the age of 72, with all the success that Dionne Warwick had in her career that she had to file for bankruptcy, but maybe we could all say a little prayer for her.

If you see me walking down the street
And I start to cry each time we meet
Walk on by, walk on by
Make believe that you don’t see the tears
Just let me grieve in private
‘Cause each time I see you I break down and cry
Walk on by (don’t stop)
Walk on by (don’t stop)
And walk on by

I just can’t get over losing you
And so if I seem broken and blue
Walk on by, walk on by
Foolish pride, that’s all that I have left
So let me hide the tears and the sadness
You gave me when you said goodbye
Walk on by (don’t stop)
Walk on by (don’t stop)
Walk on by (don’t stop)
Walk on

Walk on by, walk on by
Foolish pride, that’s all that I have left
So let me hide the tears and the sadness
You gave me when you said goodbye
Walk on by (don’t stop)
Walk on by (don’t stop)

Now you really gotta go so walk on by (don’t stop)
Baby leave me, never see the tears I cry (don’t stop)
Now you really gotta go so walk on by (don’t stop)
Baby leave me, never see the tears I cry (don’t stop)
Now you really gotta go so walk on by (don’t stop)
Baby leave me, never see the tears I cry (don’t stop)

Written for FOWC with Fandango – Routine, for Scotts Daily Prompt – Authority and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Fathom.

8 thoughts on “Stop Stalking Me

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