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Burt Bacharach And Hal David: A 50-Year Musical Duet.

The legendary composer and lyricist -- who collaborated on tunes like "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," "I Say a Little Prayer" and "What's New Pussycat?" -- discuss their 50-year relationship and some favorite tunes from the Broadway revival of their musical, Promises, Promises.

On May 5, 2010, Burt Bacharach and Hal David spoke to Terry Gross about their 50-year musical relationship and their lengthy careers in the music industry.


Other segments from the episode on June 11, 2010

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, June 11, 2010: Interview with Sean Hayes; Interview with Burt Bacharach and Hal David; Review of the film "Winter's Bone."


Fresh Air
12:00-13:00 PM
Offstage With Broadway Star Sean Hayes


This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross.

Our first guest, actor Sean Hayes, will host the Tony Awards Sunday, where he's
also nominated for Best Lead Actor in a Musical. In the hit NBC sitcom "Will &
Grace," Hayes played Jack, the very extroverted gay friend. Today, Sean Hayes
is starring opposite Kristin Chenoweth in the Broadway revival of the 1968
musical, "Promises, Promises."

Adapted from the movie "The Apartment," the show features songs by Burt
Bacharach and Hal David. We'll hear from them later in the show.

In "Promises, Promises," Sean Hayes plays Chuck Baxter, an employee at an
insurance company stuck in a low-level job. He has something his boss wants, an
apartment in Manhattan, an apartment the boss can use to carry on an affair. So
Baxter gives a key to his boss in return for the promise of a promotion.

Terry spoke to Sean Hayes about the show in April. Let's start with Sean Hayes
singing "Promises, Promises," the title song.

(Soundbite of song, "Promises, Promises")

Mr. SEAN HAYES (Actor): (As Chuck Baxter) (Singing) Promises, promises, I'm all
through with promises, promises now. I don't know how I got the nerve to walk
out. If I shout, remember I feel free. Now I can look at myself and be proud.
I'm laughing out loud.

Oh, promises, promises, this is where those promises, promises end. I won't
pretend that what was wrong can be right. Every night I'll sleep now, no more
lies. Things that I promised myself fell apart, but I found my heart.

Oh, promises, their kind of promises take all the joy from life. Oh, promises,
those kind of promises can just destroy your life. Oh, promises, promises, my
kind of promises can lead to joy and hope and love, yes, love.

(Soundbite of applause)

GROSS: Sean Hayes, welcome to FRESH AIR. I really enjoyed your performance in
"Promises, Promises."

Mr. HAYES: Well, thank you.

GROSS: Now, I know you performed in the Encores! production of "Damn Yankees,"
but that wasn't officially Broadway. This is your official Broadway debut. So
you know, I've heard you sing comedically as Jack in "Will and Grace," but here
you're singing for real and singing, well, for real. Did you sing much before

Mr. HAYES: No, actually, I think that's one of the reasons I did this, as well
as 50 other reasons, most of which shall remain in my head. But one of the
reasons was to challenge myself and see if I could really conquer this kind of
thing that I've always been toying with, this singing thing.

And I don't - by any means don't pretend to be a singer or label myself a
singer. I'm definitely an actor first, but it's fun to kind of, you know, push
your boundaries and see if you can do things that have scared you a little bit
your whole life.

GROSS: So if singing scares you a little bit, and you're out on a Broadway
stage singing, that's got to be scary with a capital S.

Mr. HAYES: Yeah, that's what life's about, though, isn't it? Isn't it about
getting out of your comfort zone and getting off the couch and challenging
yourself and forcing yourself to do things you wouldn't do - otherwise what are
you living for?

GROSS: Comfort. Living for comfort.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HAYES: Well, actually, I'm realizing that now. Comfort never sounded so

GROSS: Now, at the end of "Promises, Promises," there's a very high note you
have to reach. Is that easy for you, or do you get a little worried each night?

Mr. HAYES: Yeah, no, I do. Any time – because it's just you. You're bare, out
on stage, alone, in front of the audience, just you, and you feel like
everybody's judging you, which is - of course that's what's we do as an actor.
We're judged the second we walk on the stage.

So – but I've never been – and I'm okay being judged as an actor. It's new for
me to be judged as a singer. So there's a little added pressure that I put on
myself and a little added fear that I put on myself. So that's what I've had to

GROSS: Did you know some of the more famous songs from the show like "Promises,
Promises," "I'll Never Fall In Love Again," "Knowing When to Leave"? And two
other Bacharach-David songs were added to this production, "I Say A Little
Prayer" and "A House is Not a Home." How familiar were you with those songs?

Mr. HAYES: Well, I knew "Promises," and I knew "Never Fall In Love Again," only
from the radio, from being a kid; and of course "House is Not a Home" and "Say
A Little Prayer." I was unfamiliar with the rest, and to be quite honest, the
very, very first listen to those songs for me was the cast - the original cast

And a lot of them you don't walk away humming, but if you listen to it, even a
second time, let alone 100 times like I have, they really do grow on you, and
you kind of gain a certain affection for them, and you realize why the show was
a hit back in the '60s, you know.

There's a couple songs that you don't, you know, go to the urinal during
intermission and hum...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HAYES: ...but they really do stick with you.

GROSS: Now, you do have a music background. You studied music. You studied
piano. You studied conducting, I think.

Mr. HAYES: In college.

GROSS: In college, you played a lot of Mozart. Why classical music?

Mr. HAYES: I think that's just what came more natural to me. As a kid, that's
what I started on - and you know, talking about comfort zones earlier, I think
that's where my comfort zone was.

GROSS: So why did you change from music to acting?

Mr. HAYES: I think that was probably always my destiny, and I fought it because
I grew up in a family of many brothers that won accolades for their sporting
events and everything. And so I thought - I was a little embarrassed to pursue
acting at such a young age, and I thought it wasn't the macho thing to do. I'm
being completely honest.

And so, but - I always kind of had this passion for it, and I would always hang
out in the theater as much as I could because those people made me laugh the

I mean, I used to watch "Saturday Night Live" as a kid, constantly, and go,
God, they look like they're having so much fun. Why am I not doing that? And so
I think when I got to college, as do a lot of people, you discover who you are
and find yourself more than you did before. You go yeah, this feels right. This
feels right to be amongst funny people and people who enjoy what they do.

So I kind of pursued both at the same time. I was pursuing music, but - during
the day, and at night I would go hang out with all the theater folks, watch
shows and do improvisational groups and things like that. So I was on a two-way

GROSS: Now, once you decided to act, your first real role was in a film called
"Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss." This is an indie film with a lot of unknown
people in it. Did you have any confidence that it would be good?

Mr. HAYES: No.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HAYES: You know, at the time, I wasn't working. I had just moved to Los
Angeles and - because if you wanted to do TV or film, that's where you need to
be. And it was just, I literally just auditioned and got the job, like, two
days later, and my agent was like, do you want to do this or not? It's no
money, it's nothing. I was like, I'm not doing anything else. So I did it and
then from that got "Will and Grace."

DAVIES: Sean Hayes, speaking with Terry Gross. He's current starring in the
Broadway revival of "Promises, Promises." This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

DAVIES: Our guest is Sean Hayes, who is currently starring in the Broadway
revival of the musical "Promises, Promises."

A few weeks before the show opened, Sean Hayes publicly came out as gay in an
interview with The Advocate. After the show opened, in the May 10 issue of
Newsweek, a controversial essay by Ramin Setoodeh questioned whether gay actors
like Hayes could convincingly play straight characters.

Setoodeh wrote: "It's weird seeing Hayes play straight. He comes off as wooden
an insincere, like he's trying to hide something, which of course he is. While
it's okay for straight actors to play gay, it's rare for someone to pull off
the trick in reverse," unquote.

Sean Hayes' co-star Kristin Chenoweth described the Newsweek essay as
horrendously homophobic, a sentiment shared by many angry readers. Sean Hayes
has said little about the article, though he called it asinine on the TV
program "The View."

Before the magazine hit the stands, during the "Promises, Promises" opening
week, Terry Gross asked Sean Hayes about coming out and about playing the
character Jack on the NBC sitcom "Will & Grace."

GROSS: One of the things about your character, Jack, is that he always wanted
to have, you know, like a one-man show in which he'd sing, do a little dancing.
And now that you've made your Broadway singing debut, I thought it would be fun
to listen back to Jack singing. And he had this ambition to do, you know, the
show "Jack 2000" and "Jack 2001." So here's a scene in which he's trying to
cheer Grace, who's sick and in bed - he's trying to cheer her up by singing.

(Soundbite of television program, "Will & Grace")

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HAYES: (As Jack McFarland) Anyway, I find that the one thing that really
makes people smile is my music - or my oddly long tongue, your choice.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. DEBRA MESSING (Actor): (As Grace Adler) Music.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HAYES: (As Jack) Because I finally figured out how to make "Jack 2001"
different than "Jack 2000."

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. MESSING: (As Grace) You're going to get an audience?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HAYES: (As Jack) No. I'm going to sing a medley of songs with the word one
in them. Yes. So let the healing begin. Hit it.

(Soundbite of snapping)

Mr. HAYES: (As Jack) (Singing) You're still the one I want to talk to in bed,
hey, still the one that turns my head. You're still having fun, you're still
the one singular sensation, every little step she takes. One thrilling
combination, every move that she makes. One less bell to answer, one less egg
to fry, one less man to pick up after. I should be happy, but all I do is cry.

(Soundbite of laughter)

(Soundbite of crying)

Mr. HAYES: (As Jack) Oh, Grace, you're crying. Is it because of my song? I
can't believe I made you cry.

Ms. MESSING: (As Grace) It's okay.

Mr. HAYES: (As Jack) Okay, it's great. I did it. I finally moved someone to
tears with my art.

GROSS: Sean Hayes in a scene from "Will & Grace." How was your character of
Jack described in that first script, the one that you used to audition?

Mr. HAYES: Oh, gosh, I don't remember. But to me, you know, at the beginning of
"Will & Grace," I played Jack as the funny next-door-neighbor type, as we've
seen in the past, and I thought that was my role.

I didn't really play into the gay part as much, the stereotypical gay part. And
I have to say the critics, for not being that educated about the gay lifestyle,
I think, pegged Jack as the flamboyant, extremely gay character, so - because
they didn't know what else to call him.

Because if Will is seemingly straight-acting, oh, then Jack must be very
feminine and very flamboyant, whereas I wasn't playing him as feminine, because
I know a lot of gay guys who are extremely feminine, kind of like Carson
Kressley-type from the, what is that, the "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,"
those snapping, kind of girly - that to me was stereotypical gay, the very
feminine gay guy.

But if you didn't label Jack as gay, he would've just been the funny next-door
neighborhood who had a lot of energy, the way Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Marty
Short - any of these guys did.

GROSS: So you changed your interpretation of the character as time went on?

Mr. HAYES: Definitely, 100 percent, because I wanted to explore the - I wanted
more distance between the types of gay characters between Jack and Will.

If you look at the first season, Jack's not - the mannerisms and the dialogue
is more towards the stereotypical, flamboyant gay guy, but a lot of the
mannerisms aren't. And then as time went on, I added more and more and more and

GROSS: Now, you've used the word stereotypical. Were you afraid that at some
point you would be playing into a stereotype?

Mr. HAYES: At that point, I didn't really care. I knew what was funny and what
was true to that character - the growth of Jack - to that character. And so
what was true to the growth of that character was to play him that way. That
was so well-written, you know, so well-written.

GROSS: Right before "Promises, Promises" opened, you did an interview with The
Advocate in which you acknowledged you were gay, whereas previously you
declined to talk about that, saying that the less people knew about your
personal life, the more open-minded they could be about each role that you
played. And I was wondering, like, why now?

Mr. HAYES: So we wouldn't have to talk about it.

GROSS: And so here am I talking about it.

Mr. HAYES: Right.

GROSS: Is that your point?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HAYES: Yeah.

GROSS: Okay. So can I just ask you...?

Mr. HAYES: Because it's, you know, it's just there's nothing relevant about
someone's sexuality to what they do for a living.

GROSS: But what's relevant to me is that you've, your first big roles, both in
"Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss" and in "Will & Grace," were as gay characters.
And I think probably for a lot of young gay people in particular, it's great to
have gay characters on screen because, not until recently, were there any,

Mr. HAYES: Yeah, well, Billy Crystal in the '70s on "Soap." I mean, there's
tons, tons of examples. But yes, no, I think any positive that has come out
from me playing gay characters in TV or film is amazing and a wonderful
byproduct of, you know, what I've done. And if it's helped anybody, then my
life is complete because that's a wonderful thing.

GROSS: One of the things that you did was a made-for-TV movie about Dean Martin
and Jerry Lewis. You played Jerry Lewis. Jeremy Northam played Dean Martin. And
what did you most pick up on watching hours and hours and hours of Jerry Lewis?

Mr. HAYES: What did I most pick up on? A very similar kind of sense of what I
went through as playing Jack on "Will & Grace," which was how different the man
was offstage than he was playing, as he called, the idiot.

Jerry Lewis - I don't know if a lot of people know this. Jerry Lewis referred
to his on-camera persona, whether in movies or TV, as the idiot. And so the
idiot couldn't be further from who Jerry Lewis was, and I kind of completely
relate to that.

Whereas people recognize me as the idiot Jack, but I don't see myself as that.
I know others do, but I don't. But that's what I picked up most upon.

GROSS: So why don't we hear a scene with you as Jerry Lewis from the Jerry
Lewis movie that was made for TV. And in this scene, Dean Martin, played by
Jeremy Northam, is doing his act at a club, and you kind of crash the act. You
come in dressed as a waiter and with a tower of dishes on your arm that you
keep dropping, and they come crashing to the floor as Dean Martin is doing his
act. So here's the scene.

(Soundbite of television movie, "Martin and Lewis")

Mr. JEREMY NORTHAM (Actor): (As Dean Martin) (Singing) And when I look up at
the stars and ask them all what's new, they join me in their answer, darling
it's you...

Mr. HAYES: (As Jerry Lewis) Excuse me, pardon me, coming through, coming

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. NORTHAM: (As Martin) Hold it, hold it. What the hell do you think you're

Mr. HAYES: (As Lewis) I'm very sorry, kind sir. I didn't mean to interrupt

Mr. NORTHAM: (As Martin) Oh no, no, I was getting kind of tired of that song

Mr. HAYES: (As Lewis) So was the audience, but I didn't want to say nothing.

Mr. NORTHAM: (As Martin) Oh, a wise guy.

Mr. HAYES: (As Lewis) Go ahead, Mr. Singer. Make like I'm not even here. I'm
not here.

Mr. NORTHAM: (As Martin) I wish you'd make like you weren't even here.

GROSS: That's a scene with Sean Hayes as Jerry Lewis and Jeremy Northam as Dean

Mr. HAYES: That brings back great memories.

GROSS: Does it?

Mr. HAYES: Yeah, it was really fun to do that.

GROSS: You know, I actually think maybe you didn't draw on what you learned
from that just a little bit for your role in "Promises, Promises," just like, a

Mr. HAYES: Playing Jerry Lewis?

GROSS: Just a little bit of Jerry Lewis in there, yeah.

Mr. HAYES: Yeah, people have said that. It wasn't conscious, but if you picked
up on that, maybe it was subconscious. But that's actually, I love that scene.
That's a really funny story, true story about how they began working together
was Jerry saw that Dean wasn't doing too well with the audience at that time
and wanted to kind of amp it up a bit and get the audience going. So he came in
with plates and just started dropping them.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HAYES: I mean, the guy was fearless. I love that. And that's how that
relationship started. It was a beautiful thing.

GROSS: Well, Sean Hayes, thanks so much for talking with us, and good luck with
"Promises, Promises."

Mr. HAYES: Thank you so much.

DAVIES: Sean Hayes, speaking with Terry Gross. He's nominated for a Tony Award
for his performance in the Broadway revival of "Promises, Promises," and he's
hosting the Tony Awards Sunday night. We'll hear from Burt Bacharach and Hal
David, who wrote the music for "Promises, Promises," in the second half of the

And this Monday on FRESH AIR, we'll hear an interview Terry recorded with
singer Jackie DeShannon. She recorded the Bacharach and David song "What The
World Needs Now Is Love," which hit number seven on the charts when it came out
in 1965. Here it is. I'm Dave Davies, and this is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of song, "What The World Needs Now Is Love")

Ms. JACKIE DeSHANNON (Singer): (Singing) What the world needs now is love,
sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just too little of. What the world
needs now is love, sweet love, no not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don't need another mountain. There are mountains and hillsides enough
to climb. There are oceans and rivers, enough to cross, enough to last 'til the
end of time.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It's the only thing that there's
just too little of. What the world needs now is love, sweet love, no not just
for some...
Fresh Air
12:00-13:00 PM
Burt Bacharach And Hal David: A 50-Year Musical Duet


This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. The Tony Awards are this
Sunday and four nominations have gone to the revival of "Promises, Promises,"
featuring songs by our next guests, Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

Bacharach and David are one of the greatest songwriting teams of the second
half of the 20th century. Among their songs are "Make it Easy on Yourself,"
"Only Love Can Break a Heart," "Don't Make Me Over," "Anyone Who Had a Heart,"
"Wishin' and Hopin'," "There's Always Something There to Remind Me," "What The
World Needs Now is Love" and "The Look of Love."

Dionne Warwick recorded 38 singles written by Bacharach and David that made the
charts. "Promises, Promises" is the only Broadway musical they've done. Two
songs from the original 1968 production became hits: the title song and "I Say
A Little Prayer." Neil Simon wrote the book for the show, adapting it from the
Billy Wilder movie "The Apartment." The revival stars Sean Hayes and Kristin

Terry spoke to Burt Bacharach and Hal David in April when the show opened.


Burt Bacharach, Hal David, welcome to FRESH AIR. You know, it's such an honor
to talk with you together. I was always hoping for a chance this would happen,
and I'm grateful that it has.

Let's talk about some of the songs you wrote for the show. Let's start with the
title song "Promises, Promises," which Jerry Orbach sang in the original
production. So let's start by hearing his performance of "Promises, Promises."
So here we go.

(Soundbite of song, "Promises, Promises")

Mr. JERRY ORBACH (Actor): (as Chuck Baxter) (Singing) Promises, promises, I'm
all through with promises, promises now. I don't know how I got the nerve to
walk out. If I shout, remember I feel free. Now I can look at myself and be
proud. I'm laughing out loud.

Oh, promises, promises, this is where those promises, promises end. I won't
pretend that what was wrong can be right. Every night I'll sleep now, no more
lies. Things that I promised myself fell apart, but I found my heart.

Oh, promises, their kind of promises take all the joy from life. Oh, promises,
those kind of promises can just destroy your life. Oh, promises, promises, my
kind of promises can lead to joy and hope and love, yes, love.

(Soundbite of applause)

GROSS: That's Jerry Orbach in the original cast recording of "Promises,

Burt Bacharach, Hal David, let's talk about how you wrote this song. Let's
start with the title. Hal David, did the title "Promises, Promises" start with
the song or with the show?

Mr. HAL DAVID (Songwriter): I think it started with David Merrick, who wanted a
title song for the show.

GROSS: And was the show already called "Promises, Promises?"

Mr. DAVID: Am I correct, Burt?

Mr. BURT BACHARACH (Songwriter): Yeah, and I think Neil wanted to call it
"Promises, Promises."

Mr. DAVID: Yeah.

Mr. BACHARACH: And not "The Apartment." That was the source from the original
film, the Billy Wilder film. And it was just kind of nice to hear Jerry Orbach
singing there.

GROSS: Yeah.

Mr. BACHARACH: Because I hadn't, I guess I hadn't heard that cast album in...

Mr. DAVID: In 40 years.

Mr. BACHARACH: Yeah, I mean, I don't know about you, Hal. I don't sit around
listening to...

Mr. DAVID: No, I don't either.

Mr. BACHARACH: ...our old cast album. But Jerry Orbach, he was wonderful in the
show. I mean, and Sean Hayes is just magnificent in the show. But I remember
with Jerry Orbach, coming into New York, when I came into New York and would
come to see the show maybe after it had been playing three months, and I'd go
backstage and see the cast, and Jerry Orbach would say to me: Man, if I have to
sing this song again, one more it's because it's - granted, it is a very notey
- in other words, it's not an easy song to sing.

My motivation was the urgency that makes it work dramatically, or you think
it's going to work dramatically by the anger that comes through in that many
notes and that many words.

But Jerry, after three months, was saying: Why do you have to make it so
difficult? Night after night, he's up there doing "Promises, Promises."

GROSS: So, Burt Bacharach, you said it's so notey because it has to show anger.
Well, the instruments, the orchestra is kind of like churning behind the
singer. And it just, like, there's such a kind of hyperactive energy going on
there, and the time signature keeps changing. It changes like 20 times during
this song.

Mr. BACHARACH: You're right. Very good.

GROSS: So it's just kind of like frenetic sounding and disorienting, in a way.
It's wonderful. Did you consciously say, when you sat down to write this song,
it needs 20 different key changes - I mean, time signature changes?

Mr. BACHARACH: No. I never do - I've never done anything, like, intentionally.
It's only when I have gotten it where I'm hearing it, where it's in my head,
where I can play it, where I can get away from it, lie on the couch, go over it
in my head, and I start to write it down. And when I write it out, I realize,
hey, that's - you've got to change time signature in this bar, time signature
in this bar.

So it's not deliberate. I mean, that's the main thing. It can drive musicians
crazy, you know, until they stop counting and just hear and feel the music. I
think it's kind of selfish on my part. I just write it, say, we've got to get
it done. You know, it'll get done.

So as far as your observation about the churning in the orchestra, yeah. So
much of what I've written, whether it's from the show or whenever, it's always
been - it's almost like they come out of the same bed, you know. It's not just
piano and voice. It's, like, where the drums will be playing, where the strings
come in. Where the - they are made and created about the same time as the song
is being written.

GROSS: You hear that all in your head as you're writing the song. You hear the
percussion. You hear the trumpet.

Mr. BACHARACH: Yeah. Yeah.

GROSS: Okay. Well, that leads me to the final version I want to play of
"Promises, Promises," and that's the one that was the really big hit, Dionne
Warwick's version. Did you know at the start that you would ask her to do this

Mr. BACHARACH: Well...

GROSS: She had already had hits with some of your songs.

Mr. BACHARACH: Well, she was like our star vehicle, you know, and we had been
recording Dionne and producing her, kind of trying to tailor-make songs that
would fit her. And she was an extraordinary vocalist and a great vehicle for
what we would write. And the more that we would write for Dionne, the more we
would see where we could go with her, the challenges that we could do.

Mr. DAVID: Dionne is a great musician.


Mr. DAVID: Has a great feel for the songs we wrote.

Mr. BACHARACH: And also, Hal, you know, by having that kind of mobility - I
mean, you take a song like "Promises, Promises." In somebody else's hands, it
could sound maybe labored or under duress being sung. Dionne just kind of
floated through it, like, effortlessly, and that was one of the things that she
had - the ease.

GROSS: She's incredible. Let's hear her recording of "Promises, "Promises."

(Soundbite of song, "Promises, Promises")

Ms. DIONNE WARWICK (Singer): (Singing) Promises, promises, I'm all through with
promises, promises now. I don't know how I got the nerve to walk out. If I
shout, remember I feel free. Now I can look at myself and be proud. I'm
laughing out loud.

Oh, promises, promises, this is where those promises, promises end. I won't
pretend that what was wrong can be right. Every night I'll sleep now, no more
lies. Things that I promised myself fell apart, but I found my heart.

Oh, promises, their kind of promises can just destroy your life. Oh...

DAVIES: We'll hear more from the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal
David after a break.

This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of song, "Don't Make Me Over)

Ms. WARWICK: (Singing) Don't make me over. Now that I'd do anything for you.

DAVIES: Let's get back to Terry's interview with Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
Their songs are featured in the Broadway revival of "Promises, Promises."

GROSS: Let's talk about your other really big hit from the show, "I'll Never
Fall in Love Again." There's a great story behind this song. So whichever one
of you wants to start telling it, go ahead.

Mr. DAVID: Well, when Burt was hospitalized with pneumonia and...

Mr. BACHARACH: It was, like, maybe three days after we opened in Boston.

Mr. DAVID: Yeah.

Mr. BACHARACH: And we had good reviews in Boston.

Mr. DAVID: Yeah.

Mr. BACHARACH: We thought we had a hit.

Mr. DAVID: We thought we had a hit. But there was one spot in the show, we had
a song called "Wouldn't That Be a Stroke of Luck?" or something similar to


Mr. DAVID: And...

Mr. BACHARACH: That's a good title, Hal.

Mr. DAVID: Yeah, but we threw it out.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. DAVID: That song didn't work. Everybody liked the song but the audience
didn't like the song. And while Burt was in the hospital, I started writing
lyrics for that song. You know, the famous lines: what do you get when you kiss
a girl? You get enough germs to catch pneumonia after you do. She'll never
phone you. I don't recall thinking that Burt was in a hospital and had
pneumonia, but obviously there was some subconscious thing about it, because
that's what I wrote.

GROSS: So...

Mr. BACHARACH: And we wrote it really quickly. I mean...

Mr. DAVID: I think you wrote it - I gave you a lot of the lyric. I think we
wrote it in one day.

Mr. BACHARACH: The day I got out of the hospital.

Mr. DAVID: The day you got out of the hospital, we played it for Neil and David
Merrick. They wanted it in the show the next day. It stopped the show, like a
Hollywood movie. It just stopped the show.

Mr. BACHARACH: As it did the other night when the opening of the revival.

Mr. DAVID: Yeah, yeah.

GROSS: So, Burt Bacharach, you must have been feeling pretty lousy when you
wrote this song, if you'd just gotten out of the hospital from pneumonia.

Mr. BACHARACH: Yeah, I felt there's is no way to recover from pneumonia is to
then write the song and start standing in the back of the house - meaning in
the back of the theater in Boston - for the rest of the run and then going on
to Washington, doing the same and being in a sweat and thinking you had the
pneumonia back and getting frustrated with it.

The conductor that we had, the tempos and, you know, I'm kind of a control
freak. So, what was my choice? Go and take the place of the conductor and spend
the next three years of my life in the pit, in the Broadway pit, conducting?
But it's not the way to get over pneumonia. It really isn't.

GROSS: I'll bet it's not. But I can understand your frustration. I mean, your
songs are so tricky and require, I think, a real sense of precision to really
get all the twists and turns in the rhythm and in the orchestrations. And you
must have really.

Mr. BACHARACH: And the tempos.

GROSS: ...and the tempos. And you must have really wanted to be there

Mr. BACHARACH: Well, yes. But that is not the answer, because then you put the
rest of your life and your career on hold, you know.

GROSS: Right, right. Okay, so we have to hear the song now.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: So this is "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," aka "The Pneumonia Song,"
and why don't we hear Dionne Warwick singing it?

(Soundbite of song, "I'll Never Fall in Love Again")

Ms. WARWICK: (Singing) What do you get when you fall in love? A guy with a pin
to burst your bubble. That's what you get for all your trouble. I'll never fall
in love again. I'll never fall in love again.

What do you get when you kiss a guy? You get enough germs to catch pneumonia.
After you do, he'll never phone 'ya. I'll never fall in love again. Don't you
know that I'll never fall in love again?

Don't tell me what it's all about, 'cause I've been there, and I'm glad I'm out
- out of those chains, those chains that bind you. That is why I'm here to
remind you. What do you get when you fall in love? You only get lies...

GROSS: "I'll Never Fall In Love Again," one of the hit songs from the Broadway
show "Promises, Promises," which is now being revived on Broadway. My guests
are the song's composers, the famous songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal

So, you know, we were talking before about time signature changes, and there
aren't a lot of them in "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," but the song I think
is really significant, it switches from 4/4 time to 2/4 time on the...

Mr. BACHARACH: Right. Very good.

GROSS: ...I'll of I'll never fall in love again, just like one note: I'll never
fall in love again.

Mr. BACHARACH: Yeah. Very good observation.

GROSS: So what does it do to change just for that one note to the, I'll never
fall in love again?

Mr. BACHARACH: It certainly makes it fresher for me, and it's a nice little
turn. And it always surprised me that one of the first records we got on it,
Ella Fitzgerald.

Mr. DAVID: Yeah. Great record.

Mr. BACHARACH: Except...

Mr. DAVID: She didn't do it then. She squared it out.

Mr. BACHARACH: She didn't do it.

(Singing) I'll never fall in love again.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: And that bothers you?

Mr. DAVID: But that record was on its way to being a hit, and then Dionne's
came out, and, of course, Dionne just swamped her.

Mr. BACHARACH: Yeah. It's true. But I like it with the 6/4 bar - or a 4/4, 2/4,
and you say, Terry.

GROSS: Yeah, well, what I like about that is that I think it frames the, I'll,
like everything kind of stops for a second when it's sung that way. But a lot
of singers don't do it. A lot singers just go, like, I'll never fall in love
again. You know, they don't emphasize - they don't give it the full two beats.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: ...on the, I'll, and it always frustrates me to think of that.

Mr. BACHARACH: Well, it goes to the most normal way, but an abnormal way can,
in its own right, be the right way. And, you know, it can be natural, just like
the easier way out would've been to just not change bar lines, not going 4/4,
2/4. But, hey, we didn't do it that way. It didn't hurt us. It's fine.

GROSS: So what did it mean to you in 1968 to have a Broadway show, to be on
Broadway? Was that important to you?

Mr. DAVID: Well, it was important to me. And I think it was the most fun time I
had on any project I've done. I don't know if Burt will feel the same way,

Mr. BACHARACH: If I hadn't gotten sick, I would have had a good time.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BACHARACH: You know, by the time we did the cast album, I was just looking
to get to Palm Springs and not touch a piano for a while. So we should have
written another one, but should've and would've and could've, we don't count
that, Hal.

GROSS: Were you asked?

Mr. DAVID: We did enough.

Mr. BACHARACH: I don't know if we were asked. I just know that I had some
frustration, too, that came from the actual problems of writing something for
the theater, and that was there are substitutes in the orchestra. Maybe there
are two, three subs in a given performance.

My music is not so easy to play, and I remember getting a call from David

GROSS: The producer of the show. Yeah, go ahead.

Mr. BACHARACH: ...yeah - a week and a half into the show. And he called me up
and said: I want you to know that there were five subs in the band today - it
was a Saturday matinee - five members of the band had subs, the drummer, first
trumpet player. These are key people reading the music for the first time. And
Richard Rodgers was in the house.


Mr. BACHARACH: And I say geez, you know what I mean? You just want to go and
stick your head in the sand in the desert, because you wanted him to hear it at
the best.

GROSS: So, I thought we could close with another song. And this is a song that
you wrote - that you didn't write for "Promises, Promises," but it's been
interpolated into the new production. And the song is "I Say a Little Prayer."
And I thought we'd use Aretha Franklin's 1968 recording of it.

Mr. DAVID: A great record.

GROSS: Yeah. Were you amazed to hear her record this?

Mr. BACHARACH: It's a better record than the record we made.

Mr. DAVID: Mm-hmm. We did, yeah. And we did a great record, but she topped it.


GROSS: Why is this one better?

Mr. DAVID: You'll hear it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BACHARACH: It's more natural.

Mr. DAVID: Yeah.

Mr. BACHARACH: It's just more natural. We're talking about bar changes and time
changes on the chorus of forever and forever, you stay in my heart, and I will
- you know, that's going 4/4, 3/4, 4/4, 3/4. Then regard the way it was treated
by Aretha, because Aretha just makes it seamless, the transition going from one
change to another change. You never notice it.

GROSS: Okay. It's been really an honor to speak with you both. Thank you so
much for doing this.

Mr. BACHARACH: Hey, good talking to you.

Mr. DAVID: Good to talk to you.

Mr. BACHARACH: Thank you.

(Soundbite of song, "I Say A Little Prayer For You")

Ms. ARETHA FRANKLIN (Singer): (Singing) The moment I wake up, before I put on
my makeup...

Unidentified Group: (Singing) Makeup.

Ms. FRANKLIN: (Singing) ...I say a little...

Unidentified Group (Singing): Pray for you.

Ms. FRANKLIN: (Singing) And while combing my hair now, and wondering what dress
to wear now...

Unidentified Group: (Singing) Wear now.

Ms. FRANKLIN: (Singing) ...I say a little prayer for you.

Ms. FRANKLIN and Unidentified Group: (Singing) Forever, and ever, you'll stay
in my heart, and I will love you. Forever, and ever, we never will part oh, how
I love you. Together, together, that's how it must be to live without you would
only mean heartbreak for me.

Ms. FRANKLIN: (Singing) Woo. I run for the bus, dear...

DAVIES: Burt Bacharach and Hal David spoke with Terry Gross in April. Their
songs are featured in the Broadway revival of their musical "Promises,
Promises." The show is nominated for four Tony Awards. The presentation
ceremony is set for Sunday.

Coming up, David Edelstein on the new film "Winter's Bone."

This is FRESH AIR.
Fresh Air
12:00-13:00 PM
'Winter's Bone:' A Miraculous Film From The Ozarks


Set in the Ozarks, the new film "Winter's Bone" is the story of a teenage girl
who embarks on a search for her missing father. Based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell
at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

DAVID EDELSTEIN: Daniel Woodrell is a novelist who lives in the Missouri
Ozarks. He's often grouped with the more literary types on the crime-genre
spectrum. I've heard the label country noir. His prose is spare but deeply
evocative of hardscrabble places and the near-biblical cruelty they engender.
Director Debra Granik has captured that tone in her harshly beautiful
adaptation of Woodrell's 2006 novel "Winter's Bone."

The setting is inspired by a small town near Woodrell's home in which everyone
is kin, and so alienated from American culture it's like a parallel universe.
Woodrell keeps his distance from the scariest and most shrouded of its
denizens, and so would his 17-year-old heroine, Ree Dolly, even though she's
distantly related. But the threat of homelessness compels her into the woods
and up those barren hills, past shacks and rusted-out farm equipment, in search
of answers about her father.

Ree's mother is mentally ill, near-catatonic, and Ree takes care of her young
brother and sister. Somehow she's kept them from being broken by their
circumstances. "Winter's Bone's" opening shots are of the boy and girl on a
trampoline in a landscape stripped of life, while a woman on the soundtrack
sings, unaccompanied, an Ozark lullaby. Right from the start, Granik and her
cinematographer, Michael McDonough, create a lyrical tension between death and
life, despair and determination. Then a cop drives up to tell Ree, played by
Jennifer Lawrence, that her dad, Jessup, was arrested for cooking crystal meth
and that he's now nowhere to be found.

(Soundbite of movie, "Winter's Bone")

Mr. GARRET DILLAHUNT (Actor): (as Sheriff Baskin) Where you all come into this
is he put this house here and your timbreakers(ph) up for his bond.

Ms. JENNIFER LAWRENCE (Actor): (as Ree Dolly) He what now?

Mr. DILLAHUNT: (as Sheriff Baskin) Jessup signed over everything. If he doesn't
show at trial see, the way the deal works is you all going to lose this place.
Got some place to go?

Ms. LAWRENCE: (as Ree Dolly) I'll find him.

Mr. DILLAHUNT: (as Sheriff Baskin) Girl, I've been looking.

Ms. LAWRENCE: (as Ree Dolly) I said I'll find him.

EDELSTEIN: After telling her siblings never to beg, never to ask for what ought
to be given, she sets out for their sake to ask for what ought to be given and
beg if she has to. And she has to in every charged encounter, beginning with
her best friend, played by Lauren Sweetser, and her father's brother, Teardrop,
played by a scarily volatile John Hawkes.

Teardrop tells her if she goes much farther she's liable to get quote, "et by
hogs or wishing you were." As Ree, Jennifer Lawrence is hauntingly self-
contained. She can't afford to show vulnerability, even to herself.

Despite winning a big prize at Sundance, "Winter's Bone" isn't the usual good-
for-you indie movie, what critics and industry people used to call, snarkily,
deadbeat regionalism. Beneath its plainness is an odyssey that's mythic in its
intensity, that builds to a confrontation not with the men perhaps responsible
for her father's disappearance, but their haggard wives.

Their leader, the wife of a powerful man named Thump Milton, is Merab. And as
played by Dale Dickey, it's impossible to take her full measure. Motherliness
and murderousness have melted together. You can't spot the line between this
woman's free will and her loyalty to her male-driven clan. You could watch her
remarkable performance a hundred times and never get to the bottom of it.

(Soundbite of movie, "Winter's Bone")

Ms. DALE DICKEY (Actor): (as Merab) What is it you want?

Ms. LAWRENCE: (as Ree Dolly) I got a real bad need to talk with Thump.

Ms. DICKEY: (as Merab) And he ain't got no need talk to you.

(Soundbite of footsteps)

Ms. LAWRENCE: (as Ree Dolly) But I need to. I really really got to ma'am,
please. Some of our blood at least is the same. Ain't that supposed to mean
something? Isn't that what it always said?

Ms. DICKEY: (as Merab) Ain't you got no men could do this?

Ms. LAWRENCE: (as Ree Dolly) No ma'am. I don't.

EDELSTEIN: All through "Winter's Bone" are moments in which the characters are
so unfathomably mean to Ree that we search their faces for a glimmer of
sympathy, kinship — anything human. Some filmmakers would settle for masks of
malevolence, because that would clinch the case that these clannish Ozark hill
folk were born or else worn down to pure evil. But director Granik doesn't let
her actors go dead: There is movement, barely perceptible, under the surface.
Some vein of compassion, however thin, must be down there. Somewhere.

Ree's final scene with Merab, a midnight boat ride into the marshes, is what
bad dreams are made of. But for all the horror of "Winter's Bone," it's the
drive toward life that lingers in the mind. It's a miraculous film. It gets
blood from a headstone.

DAVIES: David Edelstein is film critic for New York magazine.

For Terry Gross, I'm Dave Davies.

Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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