Make It Easy on Yourself

Album: The Best Of Jerry Butler (1962)
Charted: 20

Songfacts®:

  • This was originally recorded by The Isley Brothers as "Are You Lonely?" but their version wasn't released for almost 40 years. The song was written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach, and was apparently promised to Dionne Warwick, who was furious when Bacharach and David reneged on their word and gave it to Jerry Butler. According to David, the songwriters tried to make amends by introducing Warwick to Scepter Records' founder Florence Greenburg, who swiftly signed her to a recording contract on the strength of her demos. (Other accounts suggest Warwick was already signed but Greenburg dismissed the tune because it wasn't in line with the label's signature girl group style.)

    Her debut single, "Don't Make Me Over," was inspired by her frustration at losing "Make It Easy On Yourself."

    Warwick did, however, include her demo version on her debut album, Presenting Dionne Warwick. She also released a live rendition as a single from her 1970 album Very Dionne. That version, featuring a slower arrangement, went to #37 on the Hot 100.
  • The Walker Brothers cover in 1965 topped the UK charts and reached #16 in the US.
  • In 2001 this song's opening was sampled by the Northern Irish band Ash on their UK Top 20 single "Candy."
  • Bacharach sang this on his 1969 solo album, Make It Easy On Yourself.
  • Several other artists recorded this, including Cilla Black, The Carpenters, Johnny Mathis, Glen Campbell, Tony Bennett, Connie Francis, and Ronan Keating. Cissy Houston - aunt to Dionne Warwick, mother to Whitney Houston, and former backing singer for Bacharach - included a version on her 1977 self-titled album. Her version opens with a spoken-word passage before launching into a dramatic, string-laden treatment.
  • Bacharach is credited as an arranger on the song, but he also produced it, which was a first for the composer. The experience led to an upswing in his career and ushered in a catalog of classics with Bacharach in the producer role. He told The Guardian: "An A&R man in Chicago – Calvin Carter at Vee-Jay Records – called me and said: 'Listen, Jerry Butler wants to record this song of yours, 'Make It Easy on Yourself.' We want you to come to New York, book the musicians, set the tempo, and you basically are in charge.” That was the first time anybody let me do that. I think we'd written some pretty good songs that became not-good songs by the time a producer or arranger got hold of them. Being allowed to be in control opened up whole new avenues: working with Dionne, Gene Pitney. I just went from there."

Comments: 4

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 25th 1962, Jerry Butler performed "Make It Easy on Yourself" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Six days later on July 1st, 1962 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #100; and on July 26th, 1962 it peaked at #20 (for 1 week) and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #18 on Billboard's R&B singles chart...
    Eight years later in 1970 Dionne Warwick released her covered version; it stayed on the Top 100 for 8 weeks, peaking at #37...
    Between 1958 and 1983 Mr. Butler had fifty-three records on the R&B Singles chart; seventeen made the Top 10 with three reaching #1, "He Will Break Your Heart" (1960), "Hey, Western Union Man" (1968), and "Only The Strong Survive" (1969)...
    'The Iceman' will celebrate his 75th birthday this coming December 8th, 2014.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyWhat a wonderful & powerful voice; hard to believe he only had two Top 10 records; "He Will Break Your Heart" & "Only The Strong Survive"!!! His "For Your Precious Love" is one of the greatest R&B songs of all time!!!
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, Caone the original carnations of this tune by Dionne Warwick(after Butler?) provided one the first versions of this wonderful song...later on, it's "feel" was to be re-arranged and explored several times...and it turns out to be a very powerful song! great stuff!
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesIn 1985, The Dream Academy (the band best-known in the USA for 'The Edge of Forever' which featured in the film 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off') scored a UK Top 20 hit with 'Life In A Northern Town' (the vocal chant from 'Life...' was later sampled by Dario G on his 1997 hit 'Sun Chyme'). Inspired by Nick Drake and with clearly influenced both lyrically and musically by 60s life and culture, the song's lyrics contained a famous reference to this song...
see more comments

Editor's Picks

American Hits With Foreign Titles

American Hits With Foreign TitlesSong Writing

What are the biggest US hits with French, Spanish (not "Rico Suave"), Italian, Scottish, Greek, and Japanese titles?

John Parr

John ParrSongwriter Interviews

John tells the "St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)" story and explains why he disappeared for so long.

Def Leppard Quiz

Def Leppard QuizMusic Quiz

Can you name Def Leppard's only #1 hit in America? Get rocked with this adrenalized quiz.

Al Kooper

Al KooperSongwriter Interviews

Kooper produced Lynyrd Skynyrd, played with Dylan and the Stones, and formed BS&T.

Matt Sorum

Matt SorumSongwriter Interviews

When he joined Guns N' Roses in 1990, Matt helped them craft an orchestral sound; his mezzo fortes and pianissimos are all over "November Rain."

Colin Hay

Colin HaySongwriter Interviews

Established as a redoubtable singer-songwriter, the Men At Work frontman explains how religion, sobriety and Jack Nicholson play into his songwriting.