Throwback: Dionne Warwick-Walk On By

Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By” was her second million-selling international hit. Warwick, who had started out as a member of The Gospelaires, was discovered by songwriting legend Burt Bacharach when she performed backup vocals for The Drifters. Bacharach got Warwick a record deal because of his production company’s partnership with Scepter Records. He worked with lyricist Hal David to write songs that take Warwick to legendary status early in her career.  Presenting Dionne Warwick was her 1963 debut album and “Walk On By” was destined to become one of her signature songs.  Warwick’s refined approach was one aspect of a powerfully agile voice that could handle the classiness of “Walk On By” but could regally command a storming range on her debut single “Don’t Make Me Over.” She was one of the most storied vocalists of the ’60s for her string of hit records that were constantly covered by British singers like Dusty Springfield and Cilla Black. Warwick was a Black woman trailblazer because she was one of a few who was seen on The Ed Sullivan Show and had her own special program The Dionne Warwick Chevy Special in 1969. “Walk On By” was Warwick’s song and it became a pop standard that would be recorded byBobby Chris & The Imperials, Isaac Hayes, Gloria Gaynor, The Stranglers, Average White Band, D-Train and Sybil. Pieces of the song can be heard in samples used by N.W.A., The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Wu-Tang Clan, MF Doom and Beyoncé. 

Presenting Dionne Warwick was a historical moment as it introduced a new singing star to the world. The magic she created with Burt Bacharach and Hal David is considered some of the greatest moments of American pop music. Warwick was the best-selling female artist of 1964 and would never be any lower than number two in relation to her peers for the rest of the decade. “Walk On By” still brings new listeners into Warwick’s audience in 2021.

It is well known that Dionne Warwick comes from a family of great singers. Her aunt is Cissy Houston and her sister is the late singer Dee Dee Warwick.  Opera singer Leontyne Price and deceased superstar Whitney Houston are her cousins. 

The documentary Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over debuted at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2021. In November of 2021 she released the single “Nothing’s Impossible” featuring Chance The Rapper to benefit two charities SocialWorks and Hunger: Not Impossible. 

Presenting Dionne Warwick