5 Things You May Not Have Known About Dionne Warwick

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
5 Things You May Not Have Known About Dionne Warwick

There are a few things that most people know about Dionne Warwick right away: Burt Bacharach and Hal David loved to write songs for her, and she was Whitney Houston’s cousin. In fact, it’s arguable that there are more people in 2017 that know the latter relationship than know Warwick’s own chart history. As such, it’s our solemn duty to educate you a bit more about Ms. Warwick and her career, and it’s our honor to wish her a very happy birthday, too!

1.      She’s the second most-charted female performer of all time.

Only the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, is ahead of Warwick, who currently has 56 entries on the Billboard Hot 100 to her credit, with 80 singles making all Billboard charts combined.

2.      Her sister has half a dozen top-40 hits on the Billboard R&B charts herself.

You’d think the last name would be a giveaway, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t consider the fact that Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick are sisters. Although Dee Dee never crossed over enough to break into the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, she almost made it, with her 1966 single “I Want To Be With You” hitting #41. In the immortal words of Alex Trebek, “Ooh! So close…”

3.      She was a little peeved about Cilla Black scoring UK hits by recording note-perfect versions of songs that she’d made into hits in the US.

A Warwick quote made the rounds at the time where she said, “If I sneezed on a track, Cilla Black would sneeze on her version.” When asked about the quote by The Guardian in 2012, Warwick confirmed that she’d said it, though she added, “But over the years you realize it's not really the artist, it's the management and those that produce who are the guilty ones.”

4.      Warwick turned down a guest vocal turn on the new Gorillaz album.

We don’t really know much about the song in question, but Damon Albarn spoke briefly in a Q Magazine story about some of the vocalists who were offered opportunities to participate in the group’s latest album, and he said that Warwick declined “because the lyrics conflicted with her religious sensibilities.”

5.      She forgot the name of the man who was responsible for kicking off her career.

In her episode of A&E’s Biography, Warwick recalled being backstage at the Apollo Theater with the Gospelaires when a man came running frantically and said he needed background singers for a session for Sam "the Man" Taylor. “And old big-mouth here spoke up and said, ’We'll do it!'” said Warwick. “And we left and did the session.” One session led to another, and the next thing Warwick knew she was on her way to success, but not realizing that the moment would prove so crucial to her career, she forgot the man’s name. Whoops!