Dionne Warwick knows her way to San Jose

dionne warwick
See Gallery
Dionne Warwick knows her way to San Jose
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 03: John Conyers and Dionne Warwick speak during GRAMMY's On The Hill/Lobby Day on Capitol Hill on April 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/WireImage for NARAS)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 19: Recording artist Dionne Warwick at Being Dionne Warwick- A Reel To Reel Benefit For MusiCares And The GRAMMY Museum at The GRAMMY Museum on March 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/WireImage)
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - FEBRUARY 15: Five-time Grammy Award winner Dionne Warrick performs on stage at Route 66 Casinos Legends Theater on February 15, 2014 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Photo by Steve Snowden/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 08: (L-R) Sevyn Streeter, Dionne Warwick, and Janelle Monae attend the 2013 Soul Train Awards on November 8, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/BET/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 28: Singer Dionne Warwick attends the 2013 Global Citizen Festival to end extreme poverty in Central Park on September 28, 2013 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images for Global Citizen Festival)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Dionne Warwick speaks to students during the 2013 GRAMMY Camp Legends Luncheon at Converse Rubber Tracks on August 6, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/WireImage for NARAS)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 27: Singer Dionne Warwick attends the 1st Annual Unite4:humanity Event hosted by Unite4good and Variety on February 27, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - In 1968, Dionne Warwick had never been to San Jose and didn't think much of the song.

But after the iconic singer recorded "Do You Know The Way To San Jose?" and the song became a huge hit, the 73-year old singer says with a laugh that she "cried all the way to the bank."

The catchy tune penned by the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David would become her biggest international seller and won Warwick her first Grammy Award in 1968.

This week, Warwick is heading back to San Jose to be dubbed the city's "global ambassador of goodwill." She'll sing that song, as part of a Sister Cities International conference, on Friday.

Warwick said that while for years she didn't like singing it, recasting the song as a duet with Celia Cruz has given it new life. "I'm having a lot of fun with it now," she said.

Warwick told The Associated Press that she first recorded the song as a favor to her dear friend and songwriter David, who wrote the lyrics after developing an affinity for the town while he was stationed there in the Navy.

When the song became a hit, Warwick said she figured she'd better visit San Jose, which was then a farming community growing prunes, grapes and apricots.

"It was a little country town. But one of the most beautiful things I saw when I was there for the first time was their rose garden," she said.

Today, that 5 ½-acre Municipal Rose Garden is still blooming, but what's really flourishing is technology, as the orchards have been replaced by Silicon Valley firms.

"It's a thriving city now," Warwick said.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said he's pleased Warwick is coming back to town to sing. "It's a great song and a great story about San Jose," he said.

Over the years, especially during stints living in smog-laden Los Angeles, Warwick said there was one line that always got stuck in her head: "You can really breathe in San Jose."

"It's true," she said. "The weather is great there."

More AOL Content:
Deadly Ebola virus claims another country
Police officer's surprising move goes viral

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.