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Make It Easy on Yourself

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"Make It Easy on Yourself"
Single by Jerry Butler
from the album Need to Belong & Other Great Performances
B-side"It's Too Late"
ReleasedJune 1962
RecordedSpring 1962
GenreRhythm and blues
Length2:30
LabelVee-Jay
Songwriter(s)Burt Bacharach, Hal David[1]
Producer(s)Calvin Carter
Jerry Butler singles chronology
"Island of Sirens"
(1961)
"Make It Easy on Yourself"
(1962)
"You Can Run But You Can't Hide"
(1965)

"Make It Easy on Yourself" is a popular song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David which was first a hit for Jerry Butler in 1962. The best known version is the 1965 recording by the Walker Brothers for whom it was a No. 1 UK hit. Dionne Warwick, who made a demo of this song in early 1962, later had a hit with the song in 1970.

Jerry Butler

Chicago-based Vee-Jay Records head A&R man Calvin Carter brought back "Make It Easy on Yourself" from a trip to New York City scouting song publishers. Carter played the demo, featuring Dionne Warwick's vocal, for Vee-Jay artist Jerry Butler who commented: "Man, it's a great song, and the girl who's singing it, and the arrangement, is a hit." When Carter explained that Florence Greenberg, the owner of Scepter Records who'd recently signed Warwick, was not interested in "Make It Easy on Yourself" Butler recalls being "ecstatic" and, wanting the same arrangement featured on the demo flew to New York City to record the song in a session overseen by Burt Bacharach (although Bacharach's official credit was limited to arranger). "Make It Easy on Yourself" was released in June 1962 to reach No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 that August; the track's R&B chart peak was No. 18.[2]

The Walker Brothers

"Make It Easy on Yourself"
Make It Easy On Yourself sleeve.jpeg
Single by The Walker Brothers
from the album Take It Easy with the Walker Brothers
B-side
  • "But I Do",
  • "Doin' the Jerk" (second US pressing)
ReleasedAugust 1965 (UK)[3]
September 1965 (US)[4]
RecordedJune 1965 at Philips studios in Marble Arch
GenreBaroque pop[5]
Length3:11
LabelPhilips Records BF 1428[1]
Smash Records (U.S.)
Songwriter(s)Burt Bacharach and Hal David[1]
Producer(s)Johnny Franz[1]
The Walker Brothers singles chronology
"Love Her"
(1965)
"Make It Easy on Yourself"
(1965)
"My Ship Is Coming In"
(1965)

The most successful pop version of "Make It Easy on Yourself" was the 1965 single by the Walker Brothers which reached No. 16 on the Hot 100 that December;[6] this version had been a No. 1 hit in the UK in September 1965.[7] The song appeared as the opening song on the group's début studio album Take It Easy with the Walker Brothers and as the opening song on side 2 of their début US album Introducing the Walker Brothers.

Although based in London, the Walker Brothers were familiar with the original 1962 hit by Jerry Butler (which had been overlooked in its concurrent UK release) and group member John Maus suggested that the Walker Brothers make a recording of "Make It Easy on Yourself".[1] The track was recorded in a June 1965 session at the Philips studios in Marble Arch arranged by Ivor Raymonde who conducted his orchestra with production credited to Philips' head of A&R Johnny Franz; session personnel included Vic Flick and Big Jim Sullivan on guitars and Ronnie Verrell on drums.[8]

The song was done in the style of Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound", which included a wordless chorus. This version ended with a long cadence chord in the orchestra, while the Butler version ended in a fade out during the Coda.

The single was backed with "But I Do" in most territories. In the US Smash Records released a second pressing of the single in October 1965[9] with Scott Walker's debut composition "Doin' the Jerk" as the b-side. The uptempo novelty dance track had already appeared as the b-side to the group's debut single; "Pretty Girls Everywhere".

In 2001 the Walker Brothers' "Make It Easy On Yourself" was sampled extensively by the Northern Irish band, Ash, on their single "Candy".

Track listing

Philips - BF 1428 / Smash Records - S-2000
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Make It Easy on Yourself"Burt Bacharach, Hal David3:14
2."But I Do"Paul Gayten, Robert Guidry2:56
Smash Records - S-2009[9]
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Make It Easy on Yourself"Burt Bacharach, Hal David3:14
2."Doin' the Jerk"Scott Engel2:25

Chart history

Chart (1965) Peak
position
Canadian RPM Top Singles[10] 1
Irish Singles Chart[11] 3
UK Singles Chart[7] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[6] 16

Dionne Warwick

"Make It Easy on Yourself"
Make It Easy on Yourself - Dionne Warwick.jpg
Single by Dionne Warwick
from the album Very Dionne
B-side"Knowing When to Leave"
ReleasedSeptember 1970 (US)[12]
Recorded1970
GenrePop
Length3:32
LabelScepter Records
Songwriter(s)Burt Bacharach and Hal David
Producer(s)Blue Jac Production
Dionne Warwick singles chronology
"Paper Maché"
(1970)
"Make It Easy on Yourself"
(1970)
"The Green Grass Starts to Grow"
(1970)

Dionne Warwick's session work on the Drifters' track "Mexican Divorce" - recorded February 1962 – brought her to the attention of Burt Bacharach who subsequently had Warwick regularly provide vocals on demos of his songs beginning with "Make It Easy on Yourself". On the strength of her vocals on another demo: that of "It's Love That Really Counts", Warwick was signed by Florence Greenberg of Scepter Records although Greenberg gave the last-named song to the Shirelles as a B-side while rejecting "Make It Easy on Yourself" altogether leading to that song's being shopped to Jerry Butler. Warwick had assumed "Make It Easy on Yourself" would serve as her own debut single; on learning from Bacharach and co-composer Hal David that Jerry Butler was recording the song a keenly disappointed Warwick dismissed the composers' assurance of providing her with an equally potent song with the words: "Don't make me over, man" - i.e. "Don't con me". Bacharach and David in fact utilized Warwick's pessimistic response (with a shift in meaning) as the title for "Don't Make Me Over" the song which would indeed launch Warwick's hitmaking career.

Warwick's demo version of "Make It Easy on Yourself" was featured as an album track on Warwick's 1963 debut album Presenting Dionne Warwick but the track which became a hit for her was a recording of a live performance featured in a concert which took place at the Garden State Arts Center in Holmdel NJ in the summer of 1970. As with Warwick's 1966 hit "Message to Michael" the non-involvement of Bacharach and David in the track (beyond writing the song) is evidenced in its producers credit reading "a Blue Jac Production", Blue Jac Productions being the name Bacharach/David and Warwick had incorporated under in 1962 (officially Blue Jac Productions rather than Warwick personally were signed to Scepter Records). Warwick's sole live track released as a single, "Make It Easy on Yourself" served as the advance single for Warwick's final album (of new material) for Scepter, the December 1970 release Very Dionne; the single charted that autumn with chief support from easy listening radio as indicated by its No. 2 peak on that format's chart making moderate crossover to Pop - at No. 37 the final Top 40 hit of the first phase of Warwick's career - and R&B (No. 26).[13]

Track listing

US Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM, Single[14]
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Make It Easy on Yourself"Burt Bacharach, Hal David3:32
2."Knowing When to Leave"Burt Bacharach, Hal David2:41

Chart history

Chart (1970) Peak
position
Canadian (RPM) Top Singles[15] 24
Australia (KMR) Top Singles[16] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[17] 37
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary[18] 26
US Billboard Hot Soul Singles[19] 26

Other versions

In 1966, Cilla Black released a recording of the song on her second studio album Cilla Sings a Rainbow which was a Top 5 hit on the UK album chart.[citation needed]

The 1972 Johnny Mathis album Song Sung Blue - produced by Jerry Fuller - featured a version of "Make It Easy on Yourself"; issued as a single the track reached No. 16 on the U.S. Easy Listening chart[20] and "bubbled under the Hot 100" with a No. 103 peak.[21] In Canada, his version reached number two on the Adult Contemporary chart.[22] In the UK Mathis' Song Sung Blue album was released with the title Make It Easy on Yourself.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 96. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
  2. ^ Butler, Jerry (2004). Only the Strong Survive: Memoirs of a Soul Survivor (1st paperback ed.). Bloomington IN: Indiana University Press. p. 116. ISBN 0-253-21704-0.
  3. ^ "45cat - The Walker Bros. - Make It Easy On Yourself / But I Do - Philips - UK - BF 1428". 45cat. Retrieved 2014-10-11.
  4. ^ "45cat - The Walker Bros. - Make It Easy On Yourself / But I Do - Smash - USA - S-2000". 45cat. Retrieved 2014-10-11.
  5. ^ "Scott free". The Age. 21 May 2006. Retrieved 2016-05-07.
  6. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 1042/3. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
  7. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 589/590. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. ^ Reynolds, Anthony (2009). The Impossible Dream: The Story of Scott Walker and the Walker Brothers (1st ed.). London UK: Jawbone Press. p. 80. ISBN 978-1-906002-25-1.
  9. ^ a b "45cat - The Walker Brothers - Make It Easy On Yourself / Doin' The Jerk - Smash - USA - S-2009". 45cat. Retrieved 2014-09-20.
  10. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada - Top Singles - Volume 4, No. 14, November 29 1965". collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 2016-11-10. Retrieved 2016-11-09.
  11. ^ Jaclyn Ward (1962-10-01). "Irish Singles chart". www.irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
  12. ^ "45cat - Dionne Warwick - Make It Easy On Yourself / Knowing When to Leave - SCE - USA - SCE-12294". 45cat. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  13. ^ Dominic, Serene (2002). Burt Bacharach, song by song: the ultimate Burt Bacharach reference for fans. London: Omnibus Press. pp. 73, 83–84, 93. ISBN 0-8256-7280-5.
  14. ^ "Dionne Warwick - Make It Easy On Yourself/Knowing When to Leave (Vinyl)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2018-09-02.
  15. ^ "CAN Charts > Dionne Warwick". RPM. Archived from the original on 2016-03-16. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  16. ^ David Kent (1993). Australian Charts Book 1970—1992. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  17. ^ "Dionne Warwick Chart History: Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  18. ^ "Dionne Warwick Chart History: Adult Contemporary". Billboard. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Dionne Warwick Chart History: Hot R&B Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  20. ^ Billboard Adult Contemporary, September 2, 1972
  21. ^ [Joel Whitburn's Bubbling Under the Billboard Hot 100 1959-2004]
  22. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". bac-lac.gc.ca. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 2016-11-09.
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