This year's Marian Anderson Award winner has the second-most hits of any female artist ever

Sunday, 12 November 2017, 10:27:59 AM. The veteran hitmaker is the recipient of this year's award named for the Philadelphia musical giant and social activist.
In 1962, hustling Brill Building songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David were trying to coax a talented young singer named Dionne Warrick to step out as a solo artist. The North Jersey native was then splitting time between studying at the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut and singing sessions for the Drifters and the Shirelles with a group that included her sister Dee Dee and cousin Cissy Houston. She was game to go solo, on one condition: She wanted to make her debut with a particular Bacharach-David song that she had already sung on the demo version. “One day, I was one my way into New York from Hartford to do some session work, and I had the radio on in my car,” recalls the singer, who will be honored as the 2017 recipient of the Marian Anderson Award, named after the Philadelphia opera singer and social activist, at a gala concert at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall on Tuesday “I heard a song called ‘Make it Easy on Yourself’ being sung by Jerry Butler. And I was not a happy camper,” she says. “So when I walked into the studio and saw Bacharach and David, I let them know that I was not very happy that Jerry Butler had recorded my song. And I told them the one thing that they could never do was promise me one thing, and then try to make me do something I’m not ready to do. Don’t try to make me over.” An idea lit up the room. “Hal David put pen to paper and came up with a song called “Don’t Make Me Over,” says the 76-year-old singer, who was speaking from a North...Read more
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