Wishin’ and Hopin’ original
Bacharach, David and the Wishin’ and Hopin’ original
American songwriting duo Hal David and Burt Bacharach wrote “Wishin’ and Hopin'”, a 1960s pop song told from the perspective of a girl giving advice on how to snag a man. The song became Dusty Springfield’s first American top ten hit in 1964. It was also Bacharach and David’s first hit with a British Invasion artist. However, it was another Bacharach-David artist, Dionne Warwick, who recorded the “Wishin’ and Hopin'” original two years earlier. Although Springfield’s song was more successful, both versions have that fantastic stop-start sixties-sounding melody.
The Bacharach-David songwriting team
The teenage Bacharach trained as a classical pianist, but he also loved jazz. When he met David in 1957, he combined those two interests. The duo wrote songs together at the Brill Building in New York City, writing their first hit “The Story of My Life” for Marty Robbins in 1957. Bacharach and David went on to write some of the greatest pop songs of all time, including “Wishin’ and Hopin'”.
Dionne Warwick’s Wishin’ and Hopin’ original
In 1962, Warwick recorded the “Wishin’ and Hopin'” original which came out as the B-side to “This Empty Place” and featured on Warwick’s debut album Presenting Dionne Warwick. In 1963, the “Wishin’ and Hopin'” original charted in France at the number 79 position. However, it failed to chart elsewhere.
The arrangement has the Latin bounce of a classic Atlantic Records side from the era, and Warwick sings in a trio-harmony arrangement with her sister Dee Dee Warwick and cousin Cissy Houston that’s less flirty than Springfield’s take on the tune, almost innocent in its endearingly optimistic tone.”Stewart Mason, AllMusic
Dusty Springfield’s recording
In February 1964, Springfield met with Bacharach in New York City to discuss possible songs to record. Bacharach wanted her to record “Wishin’ and Hopin'” as a single, but Springfield was ambivalent. However, Bacharach convinced her to try the song. So Springfield recorded her version of “Wishin’ and Hopin'” in 1964 in Olympic Studios in London.
I remember talking Dusty into putting the record out. Dusty was always very insecure, about what to release, about her voice. What a great singer. Powerful. She was a great girl. ‘Wishing And Hopin” was great and it was a big hit.”Burt Bacharach, Record Collector magazine
Bobby Graham on drums, Big Jim Sullivan on guitar and the Breakaways vocal group accompanied Springfield in her recording of “Wishin’ and Hopin'”. The song appeared on Springfield’s solo debut albums, A Girl Called Dusty (UK) and Stay Awhile/I Only Want to Be with You (US).
Success in the UK and the US
“Wishin’ and Hopin'” wasn’t a UK hit for Springfield. This was because its release as a concurrent single was precluded by the presence of “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself” on the UK charts. However, “Wishin’ and Hopin'” did contribute to Springfield’s 1960s fame. In August 1964 she performed the song with the Merseybeats on Ready Steady Go!. In April 1965 she performed it with Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, again on Ready Steady Go!, for a “Sound of Motown” special broadcast which Springfield hosted.
In the US, “Wishin’ and Hopin'” went to number six on the Billboard Hot 100, number four on the Easy Listening and Cashbox charts, and number one on the American Bandstand top ten. The song was likewise a hit in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.
People have questioned the subservient nature of the “Wishin’ and Hopin'” lyrics, seeing they are about a female trying hard to please a man. However, Springfield stated that she never saw the song that way. From a 21st century perspective, I struggle with the song’s words, but I can tell why it was a 60s hit.
In 1966 Nancy Sinatra recorded a version of “Wishin’ and Hopin’” for her album Nancy in London. Then in 1995 Ani DiFranco released a version that featured in the opening of My Best Friend’s Wedding. Along with the Austen Powers films, this film renewed the popularity of Bacharach-David compositions in the 1990s.
The best version?
Both Warwick’s “Wishin’ and Hopin'” original and Springfield’s cover are great songs by singers with fantastic voices. The classic Bacharach-David instrumental accompaniment is pretty much the same in both songs. It’s hard to say which version I like the most, so I’ll just say that I love them both.
Read about more 60s tunes here.