It was a surprise to discover that 88-year-old songwriting legend Burt Bacharach had decided to score a new movie, and write a new movie song, for the first time in 16 years. It’s no shame to admit that I was thrilled to get the opportunity to sit down with the man who wrote “The Look of Love,” “What the World Needs Now Is Love” and so many of my favorite songs of the ’60s and ’70s. In talking with him (and with director John Asher) about scoring the low-budget Po, I discovered why he wanted to do it; the connection with his late daughter Nikki makes it especially poignant. His song, “Dancing With Your Shadow,” sung by Sheryl Crow, is a real contender for this year’s Academy Awards, as I discuss in a story for this week’s Music for Screens section of Variety.
It was a distinct honor to be asked to interview legendary songwriter Burt Bacharach Wednesday night before a Society of Composers & Lyricists screening of the new film Po, about a single father struggling to raise his autistic son. Joining me onstage was director John Asher, who himself has an autistic son — and whose accidental meeting of Bacharach on a plane a few months ago led the three-time Oscar winner (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Arthur) to decide not just to write a song for Po but to score the entire film. Bacharach told the tragic story of his own daughter Nikki, born prematurely in 1966 and who was only diagnosed late in life as autistic; she committed suicide in 2007. I’ll be writing in more depth about Bacharach and his score later this month for Variety.