What’s It All About?

alfieWhat’s it all about, Alfie?

Is it just for the moment we live?
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind?

The words are by the late Hal David and music by Burt Bacharach. Alfie is one of the best songs of all time (according to me) but more importantly, Burt Bacharach’s favorite, and they had an unbelievable catalog of hits. Though Burt’s musical strength is not in singing I still find it moving when I’ve seen him perform it, because you can hear how moved he still is by the song.

Alfie had an interesting history in that it was written in 1965 by David & Bacharach for the movie, Alfie starring Michael Caine. It was then recorded by UK artist Cilla Black who did a wonderful version and the song appeared in the movie which was released in the spring of 1966. Celia had earlier recorded Anyone who Had a Heart (another great song) which was a #1 UK hit.

The song has been covered by many artists , but Alfie would not become a hit in the US until 1967 when it was recorded by Dionne Warwick, David/Bacharach’s original choice to record the song. Her version peaked at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100, not too shabby, but interestingly never even a top 10 song for what I believe is the David/Bacharach combo’s best song.

It is an instance where the lyrics and music are so seamlessly married, which why the song is so powerful.

The question What’s It All About? Is so powerful and universal to anyone who pauses to reflect on the meaning of their life.

I am happy to appreciate greatness that stands the test of time. For those not as familiar with the song Alfie, I encourage you to listen in a quiet moment and hope you can also appreciate it.

More Strumings


  1. I agree, Alfie is one of the best songs of all time. Poignant. And a challenge to sing I’m sure. Every time I hear it, I stop cold and let the questions sink in.

    • Lonny Strum says:

      Truly great. I was just talking about you with Beth the other day. We are back in Belmar on weekends. Let’s go to dinner again soon.

  2. Greg Matusky says:

    I thought Alfie was by Lilli Allen?

  3. Michael Norton says:

    Lonnie, What’s It All About is one of my favorite songs. My dear friend Gail had an incredible voice and she sang this in many a cabaret around Philly. Whenever I hear the open lyrics, I stop and think of her. Gail died at 55 from a brain tumor. We had many conversations asking, What’s it All about?

    Thank you for another great Struming.



Leave a Reply