Though many young people might know Dionne Warwick best for plugging psychic hotlines on TV during the '90s, the singer had a score of pop-soul hits in the '60s, with bouncy, melodic songs written by the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
Dionne Warwick was born December 12, 1941, in East Orange, N.J. Her family was filled with gospel singers, and Warwick was trained early on to sing in the style.
She performed with the Drinkard Singers, who were managed by her mother and included her sister Dee Dee. Warwick attended the Hartt School, a performing arts school at the University of Hartford, in Hartford, Conn. After singing backup on several sessions, she was signed in 1962 by Scepter Records, to work with songwriters/producers Bacharach and David.
The team's first hit was the #21 "Don't Make Me Over," which went top five on Billboard's R&B chart as well. Warwick soon hit the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, with the Bacharach-David tunes "Anyone Who Had a Heart" (1963), "Walk on By" (1964) and "Message to Michael" (1966).
Then, in 1967, the team hit #4 with "I Say a Little Prayer" (RealAudio excerpt) and scored a top-20 hit with the title track from the film "Alfie."
Warwick next cut one of her best-remembered recordings, the top 10 "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" had a #2 smash with the theme from the movie adaptation of the Jacqueline Susann pulp novel "Valley of the Dolls" and another top 10 with "This Girl's in Love With You." But the singer wasn't through with her string of top-10 hits, closing out the '60s with the #6 "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," from the Bacharach-David musical "Promises, Promises."
Having since split with Bacharach and David, and despite the phenomenal success of the trio's collaboration, it wasn't until 1974 that Warwick had her first #1, with "Then Came You," for which she teamed with the Spinners.
Her interest in the metaphysical first surfaced at this time, when she added an "e" to her last name on the advice of a numerologist (she dropped it in 1975).
The '70s came to a close for Warwick with the Barry Manilowproduced "I'll Never Love This Way Again," which brought her to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979. She also chipped in another top-20 hit with "Déjà Vu." In 1982, Warwick's Heartbreaker featured songs and co-production by the Bee Gees' Barry Gibb and included the hit title cut.
In 1985, Warwick and Friends (Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder) had a smash with Bacharach's tune "That's What Friends Are For," which benefited victims of AIDS.
Though she subsequently made a series of infomercials for the "Psychic Friends Network," Warwick never stopped singing. Last year, for her album Dionne Sings Dionne, Warwick recut her 1966 hit "What the World Needs Now Is Love," with Coolio, Kurupt, Bobby Brown (husband of her cousin Whitney Houston), Big Daddy Kane and Flesh-N-Bone.
Though Warwick had once spoken against the negativity of rap music, the recording session with the rappers seemed to go smoothly.
"When you're bringing artists together that don't normally be together, ... and it all comes out harmonious, that's love right there," Kane said of the track.
"Everybody is so into it; they want to be here," Warwick said. "They wanted to be a part of it. The unity here, it's more than I expected it's over the moon."
In September, Warwick's Rio de Janeiro home was burgled while she was on tour in Asia.
Other birthdays on Sunday: Connie Francis, 61; Tim Hauser (Manhattan Transfer), 58; Terry Kirkman (Association), 58; Mike Pinder (Moody Blues), 57; Dickey Betts (Allman Brothers Band), 56; Alan Ward (Honeycombs), 54; Clive Bunker (Jethro Tull), 53; Bruce Kulick (ex-Kiss), 46; Cy Curnin (Fixx), 42; Sheila E., 42; Eric Schenkman (Spin Doctors), 36; Danny Boy (House of Pain), 31; Frank Sinatra, 19151998; Rob Tyner (MC5) 19441991.