[Photo: Dionne Warwick via commons.wikipedia.org]
by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)
One of my most indelible musical memories as a child is riding in the back of my mom’s silver Cadillac Seville, listening her harmonize with a singular, sophisticated voice asking and answering the compelling question: “What do you get when you fall in love? A guy with a pen to burst your bubble – that’s what you get for all your trouble.”
When Mom (and Dionne) sang these words with biting, philosophical wit and charm I’d learn in my teens was more succinctly known as irony, I was instantly intrigued and couldn’t wait to hear them again and again. Especially on that “get enough germs to catch pneumonia” line. That was the best.
When Ms. Warwick and Ms. Lakin told me to take a “Message to Michael” to “Walk on By” or would ask me “Do You Know The Way to San Jose?” — I was riveted by the evocative, worldly wisdom washing over me.
Nobody on the radio sang like this. Told stories like this. Skillfully navigated between grit and grandiosity, poise and pressure, emoted the expansive sound of je ne sais quois like this. I have been a Dionne Warwick fan ever since.
What I didn’t know then but learned later is most songs sung by that mesmerizing voice were singles from the 1960s and early ’70s written by legendary songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David, two men who grasped the women’s perspective on the pain and futility of many a romance.
I also discovered those two men initially hired New Jersey native Warwick (who in her adolescence and early adulthood sang gospel with her sister Dee Dee Warwick and aunt Cissy Houston) as a demo singer so they could shop their songs. But Warwick’s interpretation and deep understanding of their work was so effective, she was signed to her own recording deal, thus beginning one of the best collaborations between singer/songwriters in the history of popular music.
She may have been hurt by promises, promises, a house may no longer have been a home, but Dionne told us despite the drama, she was still strong, still classy and would rise above it all.
During Dionne Warwick’s resurgence as a pop hitmaker when I was a teen in the 1980s, I was allowed to learn that’s what friends are for, have deja vu and know I’d never love that way again after dealing with a heartbreaker. All while watching Ms. Warwick host Solid Gold and purvey the Psychic Friends Network through late-night TV ads and 900 numbers.
While I was in college, a young singer named Whitney Houston who gave good love would say they were cousins in interviews. They would sing together years later on “Love Will Find A Way.”
Today, December 12, 2020, Dionne Warwick makes 80 years old look and sound so good. She showed up like a queen to during Patti LaBelle Verzuz Gladys Knight and sang flawlessly on “Superwoman” and “That’s What Friends Are For.”
Warwick has been recording new music lately, putting out her 2019 She’s Back album featuring collaborations with artists such as Musiq Soulchild, Kenny Lattimore and even Krayzie Bone from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony on a new version of “Deja Vu.”
For 2020, Warwick has released a Christmas LP entitled Dionne Warwick and the Voices of Christmas (featuring Chloe x Halle, Johnny Mathis, Aloe Blacc, Andra Day, Wanya Morris), and ICYMI – is serving even more wit and wisdom by going viral with it on her Twitter!
Hi, @chancetherapper. If you are very obviously a rapper why did you put it in your stage name? I cannot stop thinking about this.
— Dionne Warwick (@_DionneWarwick) December 5, 2020
Flowers forever to Ms. Dionne – thank you for a lifetime of elegant, smooth, ethereal, engaging and empowering music. #DionneTurns80
Original article source: https://goodblacknews.org/2020/12/12/dionneturns80-happy-80th-dionne-warwick-dionne-through-the-decades-playlist-and-tribute-listen/ | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council