One of the biggest names in the world of entertainment is performing at Bay Park Arena in November: Dionne Warwick.

She ranks among the top 40 biggest hit makers of the entire rock era and is second only to the late Aretha Franklin as the most charted female vocalist of all time, with 56 of her singles making the Billboard Hot 100 between 1962 and 1998.

She has won five Grammy Awards between 1965 and 2014 and been a finalist 14 times. Over the course of her career, she has won many other lifetime achievement awards including being a Grammy Hall of Fame recipient three times.

As a radio DJ, I have had to handle the various name changes Dionne went through over her career.


She was born Marie Dionne Warrick (the original spelling) in New Jersey in December 1940 and began singing in the family gospel choir called the Drinkard Singers in the late 50s.

They were often called on as backing singers for some of the big named groups of the time. In fact it was while she was singing background vocals on the Drifters' recording of Mexican Divorce that she was noticed by the song's composer, Burt Bacharach.

He asked her to record some of his and Hal David's compositions as demo recordings. Shortly after she was signed by Scepter Records and in 1962 released her first solo single, Don't Make Me Over.

On that original 45, Warrick's named was misspelled as Warwick which she liked and began using.

In 1971, she changed her name to Warwicke after advice from an astrologer friend, who believed the change would bring greater success. A few years later she reverted to the old spelling of Warwick.

As a young radio DJ at the time, the pronunciation of the Warwicke name became quite a contentious issue.

With hits like I Say a Little Prayer, Do You Know the Way to San Hose, I'll Never Love This Way Again and the Gibb Brothers' Heartbreaker, the November 22 concert in Tauranga is sure to be amazing.