Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Review

Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over

Dionne Warwick

10

5.9

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UK release date 07.11.2022

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Dionne Warwick’s documentary film Don’t Make Me Over is a fascinating must-watch for Warwick fans and music appreciators. It’s a film which pays homage to a true living legend whose pioneering career includes being the first African American to win a Grammy in the pop category, one of the first artists to perform in front of the Queen Mother and one of the first recording artists to tour Europe completely. It is true that Warwick’s career has paved the way for artists of colour who have achieved success in her wake and is a story that begs to be told.

Spanning over 60 years, Don’t Make Me Over starts with a 6-year-old Warwick growing up in New Jersey, singing in church and follows her performances and accolades from high profile talent contest winner to 6 times Grammy-winning, over 100 million record-selling recording artist. It’s an insightful film full of inspiration and features a veritable mix of world-renowned music stars and superstars, famous record executives, a civil rights activist leader and even a US President, namely; Bill Clinton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Motown founder Berry Gordy, Stevie Wonder, Sir Elton John, Snoop Dogg, Gloria Estefan, Alicia Keys, Chuck Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Carlos Santana, Barry Gibb and the late Olivia Newton-John, who queue to pay homage to this modern great.

This fitting tribute highlights the contribution to Warwick’s career of hit songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and Hal David as their working relationship is detailed by Bacharach. It was a partnership which yielded 15 top 40 singles and helped these songwriting royals become one of the most successful songwriting teams of the ‘60s/‘70s. This film also throws a spotlight on (CEO of RCA Music Group and founder/president of Arista) Clive Davis’ impact on Warwick’s career from the man himself.

As you would expect, Warwick’s worldwide hits pepper the film and stories around some of those hits prove compulsive viewing, tracks include; “Don’t Make Me Over”, “Anyone Who Had A Heart”, “This Girl’s In Love With You”, “A Chair Is Still A Chair”, “Say A Little Prayer”, “Walk On By”, “Alfie”, “Do You Know The Way To San Jose?”, “What Do You Get When You Fall In Love”, “I’ll Never Love This Way Again”, “Deja Vu” and “Heartbreaker”.

This riveting watch also includes Warwick’s sons David and Damon Elliott recalling family events and their relationship with their mother as well as Warwick talking candidly about her relationship with other family members, including her aunt, soul/gospel vocalist Cissy Houston and her cousin, late pop/r&b/soul music icon Whitney Houston and Houston’s late daughter, Bobby Kristina Brown.

Other subjects Don’t Make Me Over covers include Warwick’s friendship with Marlene Dietrich, her dalliance with the Psychic Friends Network, almost career-ending bankruptcy, her brush with gangster rappers, her marriage, divorce and getting married again to the same man! Also, her determination to support the American Foundation For AIDS Research when others turned their backs at the height of the AIDS epidemic in the '80s and of course, her support for black civil rights with stories of her fight for equality. Don’t Make Me Over is a great watch! The best music documentary movie this year, that’s for sure. It will make you laugh, it will enthral, thrill and it may even make you cry - Bill Clinton, you almost got me! It’s a fitting homage to a true music great. Definitely catch it if you can!

OUT NOW ON DVD AND BLU-RAY
Words LEE TYLER

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