Dionne Warwick (b. December 12, 1940) is a highly acclaimed pop/R&B singer with a sophisticated yet deeply expressive style who became famous beginning in the early 1960s. Best known for her long and fruitful artistic collaboration with the Burt Bacharach-Hal David songwriting team throughout the 1960s, which propelled her to pop stardom, she continued to make her mark in the ensuing decades with such songs as the catchy and upbeat "Then Came You" (1974), the epic "I'll Never Love This Way Again" (1979), and the heartwarming "That's What Friends Are For" (1985).
She was born Marie Dionne Warrick in Orange, New Jersey into a musical family with a history dating back to 1938 when her maternal grandfather founded The Drinkard Singers, a renowned gospel singing group that remained active through the late 1960s. Members included her mother, Lee Drinkard Warrick, who served as the group's manager, and her aunt, famed soul singer Cissy Houston (b. Emily Drinkard) who is the mother of Whitney Houston. In 1957, while still in high school, Warrick formed The Gospelaires with her younger sister, Dee Dee, who would later also launch her own solo career. After winning a contest at the Apollo Theater, The Gospelaires began working professionally in New York City as backing vocalists for such top acts as Solomon Burke, Chuck Jackson, Ben E. King, The Shirelles, and Dinah Washington, and they continued in that capacity for several years while Warrick attended the Hartt College of Music in West Hartford, Connecticut. During a recording session for The Drifters, Warrick was discovered by Burt Bacharach who asked her to perform demos of some of his songs, which led soon after to a contract with Scepter Records.
Warrick debuted on the charts in 1962 with "Don't Make Me Over," a song written by Bacharach and David, and thereafter had a very long string of hits on the Pop/Rock, R&B, and Adult Contemporary charts that continued into the 1990s. A typo of her name on the record (which read as "Dionne Warwick" instead of "Dionne Warrick") led to her adoption of Dionne Warwick as her stage name. (Her sister Dee Dee also adopted the same misspelled surname as her own.) Some of the many other Bacharach-David-penned songs made famous by Warwick include "Anyone Who Had A Heart" (1963), "Walk On By" (1964), "Reach Out For Me" (1964), "Message To Michael" (1966), "Alfie" (1967), "I Say A Little Prayer" (1967), "Do You Know The Way To San Jose" (1968), "This Girl's In Love With You" (1969), and "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" (1969). "Do You Know The Way To San Jose" and "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" earned Warwick her first two Grammys, and the latter song also became the first of many to top the Adult Contemporary chart. "Walk On By," "Don't Make Me Over," and "Alfie" were later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame (in 1998, 2000, and 2008, respectively).
Dionne Warwick topped the Pop/Rock charts for the first time in 1974 with "Then Came You," performed as a duet with The Spinners. She was awarded two more Grammys for the 1979 hits, "I'll Never Love This Way Again" and "Deja Vu," the latter of which topped the Adult Contemporary chart along with "No Night So Long" (1980), "Heartbreaker" (1982), and "Love Power" (1987, not to be confused with the same-named 1967 hit by The Sandpebbles). Warwick had her biggest hit in late 1985 with the Burt Bacharach/Carole Bayer Sager-penned charity single, "That's What Friends Are For" (with Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder), which became one of very few songs in pop music history to top the Pop/Rock, R&B, and Adult Contemporary charts. This massive hit, which earned Warwick her fifth Grammy, also raised over $3 million for AIDS research and prevention.
Dionne Warwick has continued to perform and record actively to the present day and is a top selling artist with over 85 million records sold worldwide to date. Over her long career, she has also acted on TV and in the movies, and in the 1980s, she co-hosted "Solid Gold." In 2002, she became the Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. A six-time Grammy winner who received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, Warwick's numerous other honors and accolades include awards from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, Billboard Magazine, ASCAP, RIAA, NAACP, and People's Choice.
- For more info about Dionne Warwick and her current projects, visit officialdionnewarwick.com.
- Warwick recounts the early days of her career and discusses other topics in an interview with NPR (November 2, 2010). Also included is an excerpt from her 2010 memoir, "My Life, As I See It."
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Dionne Warwick And The Spinners
- Then Came You 1974
(This song topped the charts.)
- Alfie 1967
(This song was previously a hit for Cher (1966) and Cilla Black (1966) and later also became a hit for Eivets Rednow (1968).)
- Anyone Who Had A Heart 1963
- Do You Know The Way To San Jose 1968
- Don't Make Me Over 1962
(This song later also became a hit for Brenda & the Tabulations (1970), Jennifer Warnes (1980), and Sybil (1989).)
- I Say A Little Prayer 1967
(This song later also became a hit for Aretha Franklin (1968), Glen Campbell & Anne Murray (1971, as a medley), and Diana King (1997).)
- I'll Never Fall In Love Again 1969
(This Burt Bacharach/Hal David-penned song was previously a minor hit for Burt Bacharach (1969).)
- Make It Easy On Yourself 1970
(This song was previously a hit for Jerry Butler (1962) and the Walker Brothers (1965).)
- Message To Michael 1966
- Promises, Promises 1968
- Reach Out For Me 1964
(This song was previously a hit for Lou Johnson (1963).)
- This Girl's In Love With You 1969
(This song previously topped the charts for Herb Alpert (1968, as "This Guy's In Love With You").)
- (Theme From) Valley Of The Dolls 1968
(This song also became a hit for King Curtis (1968).)
- Walk On By 1964
(This song, which was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, later also became a hit for Isaac Hayes (1969), Gloria Gaynor (1975), AWB (1979), and Sybil (1990).)
- You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart) 1964
(This song later also became a hit for the Stylistics (1973).)
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