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Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow, Diana Krall and — who else? — Dionne Warwick were among those performing in Washington on Tuesday night to honor the sensational 1960s hitmaking team of songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
The invitation-only concert in the Coolidge Auditorium in the Thomas Jefferson Building came on the eve of the pair receiving the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from President Obama. Bacharach, who turns 84 on Saturday, was on hand for the concert; David, 90, is recovering from a stroke and unable to attend.
Mike Myers delivered a rendition of “What’s New Pussycat?” tearing off his tuxedo to unveil an Elvis-style baby blue suit and a giant rhinestone-studded belt with the word “BURT” emblazoned across it. (Bacharach had cameos in all three of Myers’ Austin Powers films and is said to be an inspiration for the 1960s-set comedies.)
Other performances included Warwick on “This Guy’s in Love With You” and “What the World Needs Now Is Love”; Wonder doing “Alfie” and a reggae-style version of “Make It Easy on Yourself”; Crow on “Walk on By”; Krall on “The Look of Love”; Lyle Lovett doing “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me”; Shelea singing “Anyone Who Had a Heart”; and Rumer on “A House Is Not a Home.”
In the 1960s and beyond, Bacharach and David produced some of the most popular music for movies, television and recording artists. They received an Oscar in 1970 for the song “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and a Tony nomination and a Grammy for the score of 2010’s Promises, Promises.
In addition to Warwick, their songs have been recorded by the likes of The Carpenters, Alicia Keys and the cast of Glee.
The Library of Congress prize commemorates George and Ira Gershwin, the legendary American songwriting team whose extensive manuscript collections reside in the Library of Congress. The previous recipients of the award, established in 2007, are Paul Simon, Wonder and Paul McCartney.
The concert will be broadcast May 21 on PBS for the series In Performance at the White House.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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