Skip to comments.Hal David, Burt Bacharach's songwriting partner, dies at 91
Posted on 09/01/2012 7:57:16 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Hal David, who partnered with Burt Bacharach to write some of the best-known songs in pop music, has died.
David, who won an Oscar and a Grammy for his work, died Saturday (Sept. 1) in Los Angeles, the New York Times reports. He was 91 years old.
The Oscar- and Grammy-winning lyricist who in the 1960s and 70s gave pop music vernacular the questions Whats It All About?, Whats New, Pussycat?, Do You Know the Way to San Jose? and What Do You Get When You Fall in Love?, "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head," died on Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 91.
David and Bacharach met at the famed Brill Building in New York in the late 1950s and collaborated on a number of enduring pop standards, with Bacharach composing the music and David writing the lyrics. The duo had a long relationship with singer Dionne Warwick, writing hits such as "Walk on By," "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," "A House Is Not a Home" and "I Say a Little Prayer" for her.
Other Bacharach/David hits included "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" (which won the Oscar for best original song for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"), "What the World Needs Now Is Love," "(They Long to Be) Close to You," "What's New Pussycat?" and "Alfie." The latter two were also nominated for Oscars.
David and Bacharach received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2011, where artists from Stevie Wonder to Lyle Lovett interpreted their songs. Here's Sheryl Crow performing "Walk on By" at the celebration.
He was something of a late bloomer: he did not have his first Top 10 hit Magic Moments, recorded by Perry Como until 1958, when Mr. David was in his late 30s. He achieved his greatest successes well after he turned 40, at a time when many of the other successful songwriters were half his age and many young performers were writing their own songs.
Mr. Davids words also found fertile ground on Broadway, in the hit musical Promises, Promises; in the movies, in the Oscar-winning song Raindrops Keep Fallin on My Head from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; and at weddings via the classic first-dance song (They Long to Be) Close to You.
If Mr. David and Mr. Bacharachs oeuvre was more cosmopolitan and less hip than that of the Beatles or Bob Dylan, their ruminations on proclamations of youngish love and heartbreak have nonetheless proved as viable and enduring after all, not everyone went to Woodstock. Their alternate 60s was populated on one hand by the turtleneck-and-martini set, embodied by the likes of Tom Jones (who had a hit with Whats New, Pussycat?) or the debonair Mr. Bacharach himself, and on the other hand by the everywoman just breaking in her first pair of workplace shoes, like the protagonist of I Say a Little Prayer, who runs for the bus, dear and while riding thinks of us, dear.
I Say a Little Prayer, a No. 4 hit in 1967, was the most successful of the three dozen or so singles Mr. David and Mr. Bacharach wrote and produced for Ms. Warwick, whom they met in 1961 when they were journeymen on the New York music-publishing scene and she was a 20-year-old backup singer.
After she sang on some demo recordings of their songs, a disgruntled Ms. Warwick complained to them, Dont make me over, man. Mr. David turned that line into a full lyric, with an unusual (for the time) feminist stance, and Ms. Warwicks recording of the resulting song, Dont Make Me Over, became her first hit, in early 1963. From then until mid-1971, rarely a month went by when the troika were not represented on the Billboard singles chart, with charismatic hits like Walk On By, Message to Michael, Alfie and Ill Never Fall in Love Again.
With Ms. Warwicks voice in place, Mr. David found his own, writing with the intense romanticism of the Tin Pan Alley songwriters he grew up admiring but replacing the literary curlicues of, say, Lorenz Hart or Oscar Hammerstein II with a conversational emotionalism.
Many years later, Mr. David wrote on his Web site that he strove for believability, simplicity and emotional impact in his lyrics. His words, combined with the frequent slaloms of Mr. Bacharachs melodies and rhythms, often drew and required the most skilled technicians and interpreters of the time. Among them were Dusty Springfield (Wishin and Hopin, The Look of Love), Gene Pitney (Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa) and Karen Carpenter (Close to You).
One of the greatest and a real gentleman to boot. The list of songs he wrote is actually much more extensive than mentioned in the article posted; he also did stuff like “Broken-Hearted Melody” by Sarah Vaughan, “One Less Bell to Answer” by the Fifth Dimension, and lots more. Burt Bacharach is a major talent but all of his best work was co-written with David. R.I.P. Hal.
David’s work with Bacharack:
The Story of My Life
“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,”
“This Guy’s in Love with You,”
“I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,”
“Do You Know the Way to San Jose,”
“Walk On By,” “What the World Needs Now Is Love,”
“I Say a Little Prayer,” “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me,”
“One Less Bell to Answer,”
“Anyone Who Had a Heart.”
“What’s New Pussycat?”
“The Look of Love,”
“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”
“Don’t Make Me Over,”
David’s work with other composers:
“To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,”
“Broken Hearted Melody,”
“Johnny Get Angry,”
“We Have All the Time in the World,” “Sea of Heartbreak,”
“This Guy’s in Love with You”
“One Less Bell to Answer”
Dusty Springfield: “Anyone who had a Heart”
Wynona: “Anyone who had a Heart”
“Baby Its You”
I always liked the lyrics to Alfie.
Seeing that one by 5th Dimension reminded me of this one:
‘If I could Reach You’ sung by Marilyn McCoo.
A forgotten treasure.
That girl could sing.
I am reminded of this:
Elvis Costello: “This House is Empty now”
It is from this incredible tribute concert:
Wow, that’s a sad one. Don’t think I’ve heard that before.
From the same concert:
“What’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?
And if only fools are kind, Alfie,
then I guess it’s wise to be cruel.
And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie,
what will you lend on an old golden rule?
As sure as I believe there’s a heaven above, Alfie,
I know there’s something much more,
something even non-believers can believe in.
I believe in love, Alfie.
Without true love we just exist, Alfie.
Until you find the love you’ve missed you’re nothing, Alfie.
When you walk let your heart lead the way
and you’ll find love any day, Alfie, Alfie.”
Tim Curry’s version of “Anyone Who Had a Heart”...actually not bad...
Wow, that’s an extensive repertoire right there... and the great things is this -— unlike most song writers who have passed on, I ACTUALLY KNOW EVERYONE OF THESE SONGS ON THAT LIST.
Just goes to show how many hits he made and how people every where loved the songs he wrote.
We’ve lost a great talent. Not sure if we can find another one like him for a long time...
Yes, great songs that everybody knows..