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Dionne Warwick Message to Michael 1966 Top 10 Hit

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Published on Sep 9, 2010

Message to Michael" is a 1966 Top Ten hit by Dionne Warwick, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. The song was first recorded as "Message to Martha" by Jerry Butler in 1962 although his version was not released until December 1963 when it appeared on Butler's Need to Belong album. Marlene Dietrich recorded a German version of the song in 1964, singing to the instrumental track of the Butler original (with augmentations); Dietrich's version was entitled Kleine Treue Nachtigall ('faithful little nightingale'). In 1964 Bacharach had Lou Johnson record the song as "Kentucky Bluebird": this version reached Billboard's "Bubbling Under the Hot 100" chart at #104 that fall. Johnson's single was also released in the UK where it was swiftly covered by Adam Faith as "Message to Martha", which reached #12 UK in November 1964.[1]

Warwick's association with the song began when she recommended it as a concert number to Sacha Distel, with whom she was headlining at the Paris Olympia Theatre in 1966. Jacques Denjean prepped a backing track to which Distel was to sing the song in concert; when Distel decided against performing the song, Warwick considered availing herself of the prepped instrumental track to record the song herself. Both Burt Bacharach and Hal David, when contacted by Warwick, were opposed to her singing what they maintained in its English version was a man's song. David also mentioned to Warwick that the only male name that could be subbed for "Martha" was "Michael", a name David disliked. Warwick took David's comment as a suggestion, recorded "Message to Michael" in a Paris recording studio, and added her vocals to the track prepped for Distel. Warwick would say that the most difficult part of the recording session was getting the French background vocalists to pronounce 'Michael' correctly.

Although originally relegated to B-side status for Warwick's recording of a new Bacharach-David song "Here Where There is Love", "Message to Michael" was promoted to A-side status upon the single's March 1966 release, and Warwick introduced the single to American audiences on the 9 March 1966 broadcast of Hullabaloo.

Burt Bacharach and Hal David received a rote credit as Warwick's producers on "Message to Michael" despite not being involved in the recording and in fact having been opposed to it. In his 1968 book: What the World Needs Now and Other Love Lyrics, Hal David emphatically admitted his misgivings over Warwick recording "Message to Michael" proved ill-founded, indeed stating "Dionne's vocal was so brilliant that it was obvious we had subconsciously written the song for her even while we thought we were writing it for a man".

  • Category

  • Song

  • Artist

    • Dionne Warwick
  • Album

    • The Dionne Warwick Collection: Her All-Time Greatest Hits
  • Writers

    • Burt Bacharach, Hal David
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • WMG (on behalf of Rhino (Pure)); PEDL, UBEM, CMRRA, BMG Rights Management, UMPI, ARESA, UniĆ£o Brasileira de Compositores, and 11 Music Rights Societies

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