Sunday, Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m.
Sound Board at the MotorCity Casino & Hotel
At 78 Dionne Warwick has had 56 singles reach the Billboard Hot 100 between 1962 and 1998 and has built a reputation as one of the most successful female vocalists of all time. Warwick, born Marie Dionne Warrick, started out singing gospel in her family group the Drinkard Singers with her aunt, legendary singer and backing vocalist Cissy Houston.
Her first foray into secular music came about when she followed her aunt’s lead and started doing session and background work. She was singing backing vocals on the Drifters’ “Mexican Divorce” when she caught the attention of producer Burt Bacharach. Burt and his songwriting and production partner Hal David signed her to a production deal and then secured a recording contract for her with Scepter Records.
Her first single was 1962’s “Don’t Make Me Over.” The song reached No. 21 in the pop and No. 5 on the rhythm and blues charts and the Warwick-Bacharach/David partnership was off and running. Throughout the ‘60s, Warwick would score with such blockbuster hits as “Walk on By,” “Message to Michael,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” “I Say a Little Prayer” and many, many others. In less than a decade, Warwick had sold an estimated 35 million singles and albums internationally.
In the late ’70s she signed to Clive Davis’s Arista Records. She scored immediately with the Barry Manilow-produced “I’ll Never Love This Way Again” and followed up with the smash “Heartbreaker,” which was produced by Barry Gibb.
Warwick, an early supporter of HIV/AIDS causes, forever secured her spot in the hearts of the LGBTQ community with the release of 1985’s “That’s What Friends Are For,” a collaboration with Gladys Knight, Elton John and Stevie Wonder that went to #1 on the pop, R&B and adult contemporary charts and raised over $3 million for AIDS research.