It’s no surprise that Rolling Stone magazine ranked Burt Bacharach among the top songwriters of all time. His prolific career, which began in the 1950s, has produced some of the best-loved songs of all time, including “Walk On By,” “This Guy’s in Love With You,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “(They Long to Be) Close to You” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.”

Along the way, Burt, 93, has won six Grammys, three Academy Awards and had his songs recorded by more than 1,000 different artists. And he’s not done yet! Broadway Records recently released Burt Bacharach and Steven Sater’s Some Lovers, his first original score for the stage since the 1960s. “The score is quite special,” Burt tells Closer of this concept album, which follows the lives of a couple caught between their present and their past. “I’m very proud of it.”

Was music a part of your life growing up in Kew Gardens, N.Y.?
I always liked music. I had a little band with the kids that I went to high school with. We weren’t very good! But I think if music is in your blood, you hear it and you follow that lead.

Did you always plan to become a composer?
I had no idea where I was going to wind up. No idea at all.

As a young man, you were arranger and conductor of Marlene Dietrich’s nightclub shows. How did that come about?
I needed a job! I needed the money!

What was Marlene like to work with?
Well, it was not a great joy to listen to her sing, but she was very supportive of my craft and very proud of the work that I did away from her.

Did you learn anything from her?
Yes. The one thing that I always will remember: If you want to get something done, don’t delegate it. Do it yourself. Don’t ask somebody else to do it. Do it yourself.

Do you always have faith in the songs you write? Have you ever been hesitant to put something out there?
No, I’m very careful to make a judgment call: Is it really good? Did I write something that is good enough? I like to get away from the keyboard, not play it on the piano, and just let me hear it in my head and live with it for a couple of days. You’re talking about a piece that would run three or four minutes, not a whole symphony. So make it good, carefully listen to it, and always get away from your instrument of making music. That means, playing it in my head to make sure that it holds up and it still feels and sounds good.

Burt Bacharach Opens Up About His Musical 'Some Lovers' That Has 'Some of the Best Songs' He's Written
Dezo Hoffman/Shutterstock

Do you write songs every day? Or only when you have a project due?
I don’t write every day. I’d say I try. I’m always trying to do something creatively.

Do you have a favorite among your songs?
In general, I think that “Alfie” is one of the best songs I’ll ever write. I’m very proud of it.

Of course, everyone remembers the hits you wrote for Dionne Warwick. What was it like to work with her?
We were a good trio. There was Dionne, me and [lyricist] Hal David. We’d go into the studio with Dionne, and I’d write the orchestration, and then we’d make these records like “Walk On By” and “Anyone Who Had a Heart.” She had very good musicality, and you could write for that voice.

Who else have you really enjoyed working with?
Aretha Franklin. She was just so perfectly musical.

Have any of your children followed you into music?
I have a son, Oliver, who plays in my band on the road. We’ve traveled through Europe together.

What are you proudest of in your career?
I’ve won three Academy Awards, some Grammys, but maybe the proudest would be the Gershwin award that I got from the Library of Congress given to me by [President] Barack Obama. That one doesn’t represent any one piece of music. It represents your work, period.

You’ve already done so much. Is there anything else you’d like to achieve?
I’d like to live longer!

Do you think you will ever retire?

Please tell us about the new album, Burt Bacharach and Steven Sater’s Some Lovers.
The name of the musical is Some Lovers. Steven and I started working on the show — he’s a very good writer, he wrote Spring Awakening, which was quite successful. We started writing songs for Some Lovers around the concept of a plot with four people. It opened at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. People loved the score, but they had trouble with the book and following the plot line. Since then, we have worked on different parts of the show, did workshops, just trying to make it a better show.

Why is this project so special to you?
I believe the songs are really good. They are some of the best songs musically that I have ever written. Steven is also a very good lyricist. We believe in the material, we believe in the album, and that it will find a place in these regional theaters or, maybe, off-Broadway. There are no guarantees, but I’m optimistic because I believe in the material.

Are there any young performers you’d like to work with?
Yes, John Legend is brilliant. So we’ll see, every day is a new day.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned in life?
I think being a kind person is the key. To be kind and to treat people with respect.