PBS announces Elvis Costello, Burt Bacharach TV special

Musical partnership captured in 1998 appearance on Sessions at West 54th

PBS has announced Elvis Costello/Burt Bacharach: Sessions at West 54th as part of special programming premiering on PBS stations beginning Saturday, February 25th. Bacharach and Costello’s decades long partnership was captured in the public television series Sessions at West 54th, with host David Byrne interviewing the duo between performances. Songs in the program include “Toledo,” “Painted from Memory,” “In the Darkest Place,” “I Still Have That Other Girl” and “God Give Me Strength.”

In 1996, Grace of My Heart, a musical drama about Sixties pop directed by Allison Anders, featured the sweeping song “God Give Me Strength.” It was written by Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello, who had been commissioned to create a romantic ballad for the film. Pleased with the result, Costello and Bacharach decided to continue their collaboration and, in September 1998, released the album Painted from Memory on Mercury Records. One of the songs from that album, “I Still Have That Other Girl,” won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

The special precedes the release of The Songs of Bacharach & Costello, a lavish 4 CD + 2 LP box set that celebrates Costello’s and Burt Bacharach’s three decade songwriting partnership. Releasing March 3rd via UMe, The Songs of Bacharach & Costello, honors a collaboration which began in 1995 and continued until Bacharach’s death at 94 last week.

The comprehensive 45-song set includes a newly remastered version of Painted From Memory, a new collection called Taken From Life featuring unreleased songs from proposed Painted From Memory musical score and two newly recorded, orchestrally accompanied songs, plus live performances of Bacharach and Costello performing several of the songs from Painted From Memory, as well as other beloved Bacharach numbers, with orchestras in New York and London.

Housed in a lavish 12.75” x 12.5” box, the expansive set features a 20-page booklet with photography from William Claxton and Rankin, in and out of the studio, early drafts of lyrics, studio notes, pages from the Painted From Memory musical script, and a newly written 10,000-word essay by Costello that beautifully details his friendship and prolific musical partnership with Bacharach, and how influential the legendary songwriter has been throughout his life.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com