Marie Dionne Warwick, née Warrick, (born December 12, 1940) is an American singer, actress, television host, and former Goodwill Ambassador for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Warwick ranks among the 40 biggest hit makers between 1955 and 1999, based on her chart history on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop singles chart. She is one of the most-charted female vocalists of all time, with 56 of her singles making the Hot 100 between 1962 and 1998 (12 of them Top Ten), and 80 singles in total – either solo or collaboratively – making the Hot 100, R&B and/or adult contemporary charts.
40 studio albums from 1963 – 2019
5 live albums from 1966 – 1994
24 compilation albums from 1966 – 2008
69 times on the US Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles Chart
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Warrick was raised in a middle-class, racially integrated community in East Orange, New Jersey. Her family was both spiritually and musically inclined—her mother managed a renowned gospel choir, the Drinkard Singers, and her father became a gospel record promoter—and Dionne, as everyone called her, began singing in church at a young age. She often played piano or organ for the Drinkard Singers, and she sometimes sang in place of absent adult members. As a teen, she formed a group called the Gospelaires with her sister, Dee Dee. The group enjoyed relative success, singing backup for a number of musicians in local venues and on recordings. Warrick continued to perform with the Gospelaires after enrolling at the Hartt School of the University of Hartford, Connecticut, in 1959. She often made trips to New York to record with the group, and during one of these sessions she met composer and producer Burt Bacharach, who invited her to sing on some demos he was recording with lyricist Hal David. Her singing caught the attention of an executive at Scepter Records, and Warrick was soon signed to the label. In 1962 she released her first single—“I Smiled Yesterday,” with the more popular B side “Don’t Make Me Over”—written and produced by Bacharach and David. Warrick’s surname was misspelled as “Warwick” on the record, and she adopted the mistake as her name thereafter.