Bosses at songwriter Burt Bacharach's Sony label only agreed to release the 77-year-old star's new album AT THIS TIME after he agreed to tone down the coarse language on some of the tracks.

Bacharach, who is famous for pop love songs and film scores, teamed up with hip-hop mogul Dr Dre to record the new album, and gave it a hard-hitting edge by including rap songs and anti- US President George W Bush lyrics.

But Sony bosses balked at the project when they first heard it because they feared Bacharach's fans wouldn't approve of his new tough image - they were particularly upset by the word f**k in new tune WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? and persuaded the composer to erase it.

He says, "I know all of this is going to surprise some people but I wanted to take some chances. There are things I needed to say.

"I feel I have a new kind of freedom in making an album like this... Here I went where I wanted to go."

The celebrated composer admits he was particularly adamant about letting his political feelings be known, and wrote lyrics to his own songs for the first time in his career.

He adds, "The world I see right now is so upsetting that I feel I have to say what I feel. At my age, and at this time, things are getting worse by the minute, worse by the day."