I’ve been playing the Burt Bacharach/Hal David standard ‘Wives And Lovers’ for years as a jazz waltz. I always assumed that the 1963 song had been written for the 1963 movie of the same title. (A safe assumption, one would think). Now I find out–one day before I’m to perform the song as part of a set of soundtrack songs from that era–that the song is not only not the title track of the movie, it’s not even in the movie. Which doesn’t mean it wasn’t written for the movie. Apparently the then-newly fashionable Bacharach sound was seized upon at the last minute by the producers as something that their rather anemic movie could benefit from. Rather than rescoring the entire movie, they hired Bacharach and David to write a ‘tie-in’ song, something that could possibly become a hit tune and help promote their movie. (Indeed, Bacharach and David had done this a year earlier for the John Ford/James Stewart western ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’.) This became known as an ‘exploitation song’ and in this case the producers were right–it most certainly helped the movie ‘Wives And Lovers’ attract a good deal more profile than it would have sans the song tie-in. In that sense, it joins the distinguished list of movie songs that live on long past the shelf-life of the movies they were created for. Above is the trailer for the movie (without the song that’s forever associated with the movie) and the Jack Jones hit recording of the song. I make no apologies for the lyrics. I was born a year after the song was written and am proudly stuck in the mid-century in many of that long-gone era’s attitudes and points of view about life.


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2 Responses

  1. Great melody, the lyrics would be toast nowadays :)I couldn’t get over a MASH episode I saw last week, where the camp is threatened with a bombing so they ship al the female nurses (not Klinger) to another camp. There are all kinds of sexy goodbyes and helloes when they return, and we find out of course that all the male leads are married back stateside. and it is perfectly accepted in primetime TV of the era. the too would be stoned today, just sayin’..

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