Warwick, Dionne (originally, Warrick, Marie Dionne)

views updated

Warwick, Dionne (originally, Warrick, Marie Dionne)

Warwick, Dionne (originally, Warrick, Marie Dionne ) smooth-voiced vocalist long associated with the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David; b. East Orange, N.J., Dec. 12, 1940. Dionne Warwick was born into a family of gospel singers and began singing in the New Hope Baptist Church choir in Newark, N.J., at the age of six. She played piano with the gospel group The Drinkard Singers and later was a member of The Gospelaires with sister Dee Dee and aunt Cissy Houston (Whitney’s mother). Dionne graduated from Hart Music Coll. in Conn. In the late 1950s, the Warwick sisters, Cissy Houston, and Doris Troy began singing together at recording sessions in N.Y. During the session for The Drifters’ “Mexican Divorce” in 1961, Dionne met songwriter-producer-arranger Burt Bacharach, who helped secure her sessions work and a recording contract with Scepter Records.

With Bacharach and lyricist Hal David producing and writing the songs, Dionne Warwick scored her first major pop and smash rhythm-and-blues hit with her debut single, “Don’t Make Me Over,” at the end of 1962. Subsequent successes for the team through 1966 included the smash pop, rhythm-and-blues, and easy-listening hits “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” “Walk on By,” and “Message to Michael,” and the major pop and R&B hits “Reach Out for Me,” “Trains and Boats and Planes,” and “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself.”

By 1964, sister Dee Dee Warwick was pursuing her own solo career, recording “You’re No Good” for Jubilee Records. She signed with the Blue Rock subsidiary of Mercury Records, scoring a major rhythm-and-blues hit “We’re Doing Fine,” in 1965. Moving to the parent label in 1966, she achieved major rhythm-and-blues hits with “I Want to Be with You” (the tune that crossed over onto the pop chart), “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” (another crossover hit for The Suprêmes and The Temptations in 1968 and 1969), and “Foolish Fool” through 1969. She subsequently recorded for Ateo Records, managing a near-smash rhythm-and-blues hit with “She Didn’t Know (She Kept on Talking)” in 1970. She continued to record into the 1980s for Private Stock and RCA.

Debuting on the cabaret circuit by 1967 and fully established as an international recording artist, Dionne Warwick began recording less dynamic Bacharach-David songs as the team began working on movie scores and stage musicals. Through 1968, she scored a smash crossover hits with “I Say a Little Prayer” and “(Theme from) The Valley of the Dolls,” and major crossover hits with “Alfie,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” and “Promises, Promises.” “This Girl’s in Love with You” became a pop and R&B smash in 1969 and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” became a pop smash in 1970. The rest of her smash hits through 1971, including “Who Is Gonna Love Me,” “Let Me Go to Him,” “Make It Easy on Yourself,” and “Who Gets the Guy,” came in the easy-listening field.

By 1971, Dionne Warwick had switched to Warner Bros. Records, but after a single album with Burt Bacharach and Hal David, the duo and the singer parted company. She used the last name Warwicke from late 1971 to 1975, achieving her only major pop hit until 1979 with 1974’s “Then Came You.” Recorded in Philadelphia with The Spinners and produced by Thorn Bell, the song became a top pop and smash rhythm and blues and easy-listening hit. Bell produced her Track of the Cat album, which yielded a rhythm-and-blues smash with “Once You Hit the Road,” and she next toured and recorded the live A Man and a Woman with Isaac Hayes.

In 1979, Dionne Warwick switched to Arista Records, where here debut, simply Dionne, was produced by Barry Manilow. It yielded three hits, including the smash pop hit “I’ll Never Love This Way Again” and the major pop hit “Deja Vu,” and became the best-selling album of her career. “No Night So Long” became another top easy-listening and major pop /R&B hit in 1980, and Bee Gee Barry Gibb produced her Heartbreaker album, which yielded a top easy-listening and major pop/R&B hit with the title tune. Luther Vandross produced Warwick’s How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye, and the title song, sung as a duet, became a smash rhythm-and-blues and pop hit.

In 1980 and 1981 and again in 1985 and 1986, Dionne Warwick hosted the syndicated variety television series Solid Gold. She reunited with Burt Bacharach for 1984’s Finder of Lost Loves. In 1985, she took part in the recording of USA for Africa’s “We Are the World,” scoring a top pop, rhythm-and-blues, and easy-listening hit with “That’s What Friends Are For” late in the year. Written by Bacharach and his wife Carole Bayer Sager, the song was recorded with “Friends” Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder, and, at the request of Elizabeth Taylor, profits from the song were donated to the cause of AIDS research. Frequently appearing at benefit and tribute concerts throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Warwick managed her last major pop/R&B (and top easy-listening) hit with “Love Power,” a duet with Jeffrey Osborne, in 1987.

Dionne Warwick toured with Burt Bacharach in 1992 and reunited with Bacharach and Hal David for Friends Can Be Lovers. In 1994, she recorded a collection of Brazilian songs, Aquarela Do Brasil, for Arista, and Celebration in Vienna with opera singer Placido Domingo, for Sony Classical. She subsequently became perhaps better known for her “infomercials” for the Psychic Friends Network.


Presenting Dionne Warwick (1963); Anyone Who Had a Heart (1964); Make Way for Dionne Warwick (1964); The Sensitive Sound of Dionne Warwick (1965); Here I Am (1965); In Paris (1966); Here, Where There Is Love (1966); On Stage and at the Movies (1967); The Windows of the World (1967); Magic of Believing (1968); Valley of the Dolls (1968); Promises, Promises (1968); Soulful (1969); Til Never Fall in Love Again (1970); Very Dionne (1970); Dionne (1971); From Within (1972); Just Being Myself (1973); Then Came You (1975); Track of the Cat (1975); Love at First Sight (1977); Dionne (1979); No Night So Long (1980); Hot! Live and Otherwise (1981); Friends to Love (1982); Heartbreaker (1982); How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye (1983); Finder of Lost Loves (1984); Dionne Warwick and Friends (1985); Reservations for Two (1987); Sings Cole Porter (1990); Friends Can Be Lovers (1992); Aquarela DoBrasil (1994). DIONNE WARWICK AND ISAAC HAYES: A Man and a Woman (1977). DIONNE WARWICK AND PLACIDO DOMINGO: Celebration in Vienna (1994).

—Brock Helander

About this article

Warwick, Dionne (originally, Warrick, Marie Dionne)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article


Warwick, Dionne (originally, Warrick, Marie Dionne)