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Published on Jul 10, 2010
Alfie, from the 1966 Michael Caine classic, was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and was an Adacemy Award nominee for Best Song From A Motion Picture for 1966 (Born Free, the title track from the film of the same name, won). Bacharach wrote the tune with Warwick specifically in mind, but when the tune was pitched for the movie in London, Bacharach was overridden because the producers wanted a British singer to record the tune. Cilla Black recorded the tune and her version died at number 95 in the USA, although a hit in England. Ironically, Cilla's version was not used in the UK and European prints of the film; Sonny Rollins is heard in Australian prints of the film. When the film was released in the USA, United Artists felt a singer on their label should record the tune, so for the American prints of the film, Cher can be heard over the final credits, and her version peaked at 34 on the charts in 1966. Alfie was recorded by 42 other singers before Burt finally got his wish to record Alfie with Dionne and she took it all the way to # 5 on Billboard's Hot R&B Chart and #15 on Billboard's Hot 100. Dionne has stated Burt insisted that she record the tune since he had written it specifically for her to sing in the film, and she was reluctant after 42 other versions had been released and asked Burt, "How many more recordings of Alfie do you need?" Burt's reply? "Just one more, yours." She agreed to cut the tune because she needed one more track to complete the album according to Steve Tyrell. Originally released on the Here Where There Is Love LP in early 1967, the track was pulled from the album and played frequently by DJs all over the country. Dionne sang Alfie at the Academy Awards Ceremony in March to a world wide audience to much critical acclaim and the public began snap up her LP containing the tune. In March 1967 Scepter released the tune as the "B" side of The Beginning of Loneliness, a little known but beautiful Bacharach/David ballad. But, DJ's once again had the final word on the single and flipped it to make Alfie a huge hit, after Dionne's stunning performance of Alfie at the Academy Awards. The Here Where There Is Love LP hit the top twenty on the Billboard album chart and received an RIAA gold record award. In 2008, Dionne Warwick's recording of Alfie was chosen for the Grammy Hall of Fame. Previous Warwick recordings honored by the Hall of Fame: Walk on By-1998, and Don't Make Me Over-20.