Dionne Warwick (born December 12, 1940) is an American singer and actress who became a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and a United States Ambassador of Health.
Best known for her partnership with Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Warwick ranks among the 40 biggest hit makers of the entire rock era (1955 - 1999), based on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Charts. According to Billboard Magazine, Warwick ranks second only to Aretha Franklin as the most charted female vocalist with 56 singles making the Billboard Hot 100 between 1962 and 1998.
Her career took off in 1958 as a member of The Gospelaires, later moving on to perform background sessions at recording studios in New York. While she was performing background on The Drifters's recording of "Mexican Divorce," Warwick's voice and star presence were noticed by the song's composer, Burt Bacharach, with whom she forged a partnership.
Demo versions of "It's Love That Really Counts," and "Make It Easy on Yourself," would surface on Dionne's debut Scepter album, titled “Presenting Dionne Warwick, “which was released early in 1963.
Her fourth single, "Anyone Who Had a Heart," released in December 1963, was Warwick's first top 10 pop hit (#8) in the USA and also an international hit. This was followed by "Walk On By" in April 1964, a major international hit and million seller that solidified her career. For the rest of the 1960s, Warwick was a fixture on the US and Canadian charts, and much of Warwick's output from 1962-1971 was written and produced by the Bacharach/David team.
The mid 1960s to early 1970s became an even more successful time period for Warwick, who saw a string of Gold selling albums and Top 20 and Top 10 hit singles. "Message to Michael", a Bacharach-David composition that the duo was certain was a "man's song", became a top 10 hit for Warwick in May 1966. The January 1967 LP “Here Where There Is Love” was her first RIAA certified Gold Album and featured "Alfie", and two 1966 hits "Trains and Boats and Planes", and "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself".
In 1967 Warwick earned her first RIAA Gold Single for US sales of over one million units for the single "I Say a Little Prayer" (from her album “The Windows of the World”). "I Say a Little Prayer" became Warwick's biggest US hit to that point, reaching #4 on the US and Canadian Charts and #8 on the R & B Charts.
More hits followed into 1971 including "Promises, Promises" (#19, 1968); "Who Is Gonna Love Me" (#32, 1968) with "B" side, "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me" becoming another double-sided hit; "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" (#6, 1969); "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (#15, 1969); "This Girl's in Love with You" (#7, 1969); "Make It Easy on Yourself" (#37, 1970); "Who Is Gonna Love Me" (#33, 1968); "The April Fools" (#37, 1969); "Let Me Go To Him" (#32, 1970); and "Paper Mache" (#43, 1970). Warwick's final Bacharach/David penned single was March 1971's "Who Gets the Guy.” By the end of 1971, Dionne Warwick had sold an estimated thirty-five million singles and albums internationally in less than nine years and more than 16 million singles in the USA alone.
Without the guidance and songwriting that Bacharach/David had provided, Warwick's career stalled in the 1970s as she moved to the Warner label. There were no big hits during the decade aside from 1974's "Then Came You", recorded as a duet with the Spinners and produced by Thom Bell. It was her first US #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
She moved to Arista and released “Dionne” in 1980. That year, Dionne was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for "I'll Never Love This Way Again" and Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for "Déjà Vu". Dionne became the first female artist in the history of the awards to win in both categories the same year. Her second Arista album, 1980's No Night So Long sold 500,000 US copies and featured the title track which became a major success - hitting #1 Adult Contemporary and #23 on Billboard's Hot 100 - and the album peaked at #23 on the Billboard Albums Chart.
In 1985, Warwick contributed her voice to the multi-Grammy Award winning charity song “We Are the World.” Also that year, Warwick recorded the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR) benefit single "That's What Friends Are For" alongside Gladys Knight, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder. The single, credited to "Dionne and Friends" was released in October and eventually raised over three million dollars for that cause. The tune was a triple #1 - R&B, Adult Contemporary, and four weeks at the summit on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1986 - selling close to two million 45s in the United States alone.
In 1987 Dionne scored another hit with "Love Power", her eighth career #1 Adult Contemporary hit that went to #5 R&B and #10 on Billboard's Hot 100.