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Hal David, RIP

Hal David, RIP

Lyrical genius behind the Burt Bacharach legend, died yesterday:

Hal David, the renowned pop music lyricist whose prolific collaboration with composer Burt Bacharach produced a wealth of enduringly memorable hits in the 1960s and early ’70s, including “Walk On By,” “What the World Needs Now Is Love” and the Oscar-winning “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” died Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 91.

David died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of complications from a stroke, according to his wife, Eunice.

“As a lyric writer, Hal was simple, concise and poetic — conveying volumes of meaning in the fewest possible words and always in service to the music,” songwriter Paul Williams, president of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, said in a statement. David was a former president of the society and a longtime board member.

Here’s a medley with just a few of his songs performed by Dionne Warwick, who was so closely associated with Bacharach during the peak of her career. I could listen to this music all day, and sometimes do:

Warwick’s version of Alfie won an Academy Award for Best Song for the movie of the same name:

Bacharach and David received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize earlier this year. Here is the full ceremony including some great performances (its short video an then has you click again to select segment, here’s direct link to segment page):

Watch Burt Bacharach and Hal David: The Gershwin Prize on PBS. See more from In Performance at The White House.


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“I could listen to this music all day, and sometimes do.”

I hear you there, my friend. Magical music.

I was sitting in a cafe in Japan one day, at a low point and very homesick … when the following David, Bacharach, Warwick piece played … and I instantly felt better. That little boost I needed to beat the blues that day.

“Promises Promises”:

“One Less Bell to Answer” was my favorite Hal David tune. It’s sad that he’s gone but how fortunate we were to have had him for so long.

OT but must post…Professor, have you thought of pinning the “Empty Chair Day” post to the top of the blog? It’s being mentioned a lot on the blogosphere but not always with a direct link.

When, how and why did our artists lose their interest in of and feel for the existential, bittersweet and romantic, and their ability to weave this into popular entertainment? Listen to the lyrics of Alfie. It’s all there.

I agree about Dione Warwick. She remains my favorite Black Artist. My top group of the era was Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66. Lani Hall had an amazing voice. The look of love is so evocative. It reminds me of the good days with my ex wife before she went full bottle and served me with a restraining order. I went in person to pick it up.

I remember being up in the middle of the night feeding my son while rocking him and singing along with DO YOU KNOW THE WAY TO SAN JOSE on the radio. That was 1969, and I never tire of that music.

My favorite scene from MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING was when Rupert Everett sang I SAY A LITTLE PRAYER to Julia Roberts in the restaurant. I especially loved the waiters in the background waving their arms to the beat while wearing big red lobster claw oven mitts:

As usual I oversold the bill of goods but Dione W. is into all the New age , self help tripe. Shes not Jim Baker going bever on a couch leg crazy but to hear her interviewed is disturbing as is usual with such people.

By medly do you mean Dione Warwick and the rest of the Psychic Friends Network?

Nutwork. Krystal tangerine , daisy from gunbarrel man.

Very sad news.

I love pretty much every Bacharach/David song but I’m particularly fond of This Guy’s In Love With You.

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.