Reprinted from yesterday's late editions

Popular songs have never been the pillars of Western Musical Heritage. They are more like musical footnotes - a lilting melody, a witty lyric, a soft phrase that makes one laugh or cry. Yet if they are good they persist, to be recalled in moments of nostalgia and savored.

Wednesday night (and last night) the Merriweather Post Pavillion presented Burt Bacharach and Anthony Newley, two of the most popular song-writers and two of the best. Their two sets, combined, represented a collection of songs that has dominated the recent history of popular music.

Newley performed first. His voice, with its quirky inflections and unmistakable accent, wove its way through the staggering list of hits written by himself and his partner, the amazing "Mr. (Leslie) Bricusse." He ended his set with "What Kind of Fool Am I." The crowd responded with a standing ovation.

Bacharach's voice is less engaging, so he was mostly content to conduct and play his numerous hits, but he sang a spontaneous "Alfie" or other hit here and there. He is an exciting performer and his material is obviously first-class. He presented the oldies such as "Walk On By" and "The Look of Love" along with new songs such as "Chicago Farewell."

At the end of bacharach's set, Newley joined him on stage for a delightful collection of their music.