A House Is Not a Home (song)

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"A House Is Not a Home"
Dionne Warwick – A House Is Not a Home (song).jpg
French EP release
Song by Dionne Warwick from the album Make Way for Dionne Warwick
Released 1964
A-side "You'll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)"
Recorded 1964 at Bell Sound Studios, Manhattan, Ed Smith, Engineer
Genre Soul
Length 3:08
Label Scepter
Writer(s) Burt Bacharach, Hal David
Producer(s) Burt Bacharach, Hal David

"A House Is Not a Home" is a 1964 song recorded by American singer Dionne Warwick, and written by the team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the 1964 film of the same name, starring Shelley Winters and Robert Taylor. The song was a modest hit in the United States for Warwick, peaking at #71 on the pop singles chart as the B-side of the top 40 single, "You'll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)". Another version of the song, by Brook Benton, which was the version that appeared in the film, was released at nearly the same time. It debuted two weeks earlier on the Billboard Hot 100. Benton's version split airplay with Warwick's, and ultimately peaked at #75.

Warwick's version of "A House Is Not a Home" fared better in Canada, where it was a top 40 hit, peaking at #37. The song made the R&B top 10 in Cashbox by both Warwick and Benton, with neither artist specified as best seller.

Despite its modest initial success, the song went on to achieve greater renown through frequent recordings by other artists, including a hit version in 1981 by Luther Vandross.


The Warwick single was performed in the key of F major.

Luther Vandross version[edit]

"A House Is Not a Home"
Single by Luther Vandross
from the album Never Too Much
Released 1981
Genre Soul, R&B
Length 7:07
Label Epic
Producer(s) Luther Vandross

The song was covered by R&B singer Luther Vandross on his 1981 debut album Never Too Much. The track, which was recorded at seven minutes long, was released as a single and became an R&B hit, and later one of Vandross's signature songs. His performance of the song at the 1988 NAACP Awards telecast would bring Warwick to tears.

Vandross's version was sampled on the 2004 Kanye West/Jamie Foxx/Twista hit "Slow Jamz".

Other cover versions[edit]

Following the original singles by Warwick and Benton, Bacharach himself covered the song on his 1965 debut Hit Maker!: Burt Bacharach plays the Burt Bacharach Hits.

The Anita Kerr Singers recorded a superb a cappella cover on their 1969 album Reflect.

Stevie Wonder covered the song on his 1968 album Eivets Rednow.

English rock duo The Marbles performed the song and was released on the group's 1970 self-titled album.[1]

Dusty Springfield performed the song with Bacharach on the 1970 television special Another Evening With Burt Bacharach (a performance she was "quite proud of").[2]

Barbra Streisand recorded a medley of the song with "One Less Bell to Answer" (the 5th Dimension hit) for her 1971 album Barbra Joan Streisand.

Ronald Isley would record his own version with Bacharach, using essentially the same template as Luther Vandross.

In 2001, Japanese reggae artists Reggae Disco Rockers, released a reggae version of the song that very closely follows the melodies and styles of the original.[3]

In 2002, Lynne Arriale covered the song on her album Inspiration.

In 2005, Aretha Franklin covered the song for the tribute album So Amazing: An All-Star Tribute to Luther Vandross.

In 2007, Marcia Hines covered the song on her album Life.

In 2012, Steps covered the song for their festive themed album, Light Up the World.

In 2014, Warwick released a duet version of the song with singer Ne-Yo on Feels So Good.[4]

Instrumental covers[edit]

Various jazz musicians have performed and recorded the song, and it has thus acquired the status of a jazz standard.

Sonny Rollins recorded a version at the 1974 Montreux Jazz Festival, released on The Cutting Edge.

Bill Evans recorded the song for his 1977 album I Will Say Goodbye in the key of B flat major

In 1993, pianist Joe Sample covered the song on the album Invitation.

In 1995, another instrumental rendition was released on saxophonist Nelson Rangell's album Destiny.[5]

In 2004, Eliane Elias included the song in her album Dreamer.

Other uses in theater, film and television[edit]

"A House Is Not a Home" was one of several Bacharach/David hits added to the score of the 2010 Broadway revival of Promises, Promises (a Bacharach/David musical from 1968). It was performed by Kristin Chenoweth and later recorded again for her album "The Art of Elegance".

The song was covered twice in "Home", the sixteenth episode of the television series Glee, once by Chris Colfer and Cory Monteith, and once by Matthew Morrison and Kristin Chenoweth as part of a medley with "One Less Bell to Answer".

Cultural references[edit]

Psychedelic band Love parodied the song's title on their album Forever Changes in 1967, by naming one of their songs "A House Is Not a Motel".

The song is parodied in SpongeBob SquarePants episode, "Welcome to the Chum Bucket".

Peter Hammill parodied the title on his album The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage in 1974, naming the lengthy final number "A Louse Is Not a Home".

In the song "Coming Home" by P. Diddy, the song is referenced.


  1. ^ Richie Unterberger. "The Marbles - The Marbles - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Dusty: Full Circle – Taragon Video
  3. ^ "Reggae Disco Rockers - A House Is Not A Home (Flower Records JPN)". Reggaecollector.com. Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Ramirez, Erika (May 12, 2014). "Dionne Warwick, 'A House Is Not A Home' Feat. Ne-Yo: Exclusive Song Premiere". Billboard. 
  5. ^ "Destiny overview". Allmusic.com. 

External links[edit]