Soul Serenade: Dionne Warwick, “Anyone Who Had a Heart”
In 1962, Burt Bacharach and Hal David signed Dionne Warwick to their production company after Bacharach heard her sing background on a Drifters song that he had written. Bacharach and David were in turn signed to Scepter Records. Together, their amazing string of hit singles began with the November, 1962 release of “Don’t Make Me Over,” which reached #21 on the pop chart, and #4 on the R&B chart. But it was Warwick’s fourth single, “Anyone Who Had A Heart”, that became her first top ten hit, reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January, 1964. A few months later, in April of that year, the follow-up single “Walk On By” made Warwick an international star.
“Anyone Who Had A Heart” was a most unusual song for that era. For one thing, the song’s time signature is constantly shifting, making it one of the first popular songs to employ polyrhythms. Then there is the issue of the stress on the word “of” in “I dream of you.” Lyricist David wrestled with that one. He said “”I tried to find a way to make the ‘of’ do something and I could never do it … I had to let it go.” Of course history has proven that he need not have been concerned.
There have been many great covers of the song. George Martin produced a version for Cilla Black that competed with Warwick’s original for UK chart position in 1964, and far surpassed it in sales in England and Ireland. Warwick was never too fond of Black’s version, feeling it borrowed much too liberally from the original recording. In 1995, Black let it be known that she was aware of Warwick’s unhappiness saying “It (Black’s rendition of “Anyone Who Had a Heart”) was a #1; Dionne was dead choked and she’s never forgiven me to this day.”
Two are my favorite covers are the one that Dusty Springfield cut in 1964, perhaps pre-dating Cilla Black’s version, and Shelby Lynne’s great rendition which appeared on her 2008 Dusty Springfield tribute album Just A Little Lovin’.
And here’s one more for you: