American lyricist Hal David, best known as the songwriting partner of Burt Bacharach and for his creative association with Dionne Warwick, has died age 91 from complications from a stroke.
A spokesman for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) confirmed that David passed away at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles last Saturday.
David and Bacharach first met in New York in 1957 at the famous Brill Building and the pair went on to create a string of hits throughout the 60s and 70s for a number of performers and film soundtracks.
Their earliest success was in penning Perry Como’s ‘Magic Moments’ and Marty Robbins’ ‘The Story Of My Life’ in 1957. The sixties saw a string of film-related songs gaining them major attention, including ‘What’s New Pussycat?’, ‘The Look Of Love’ and ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head’ for the 1969 film, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid – which won the Academy Award for Best Song.
The duo’s other big successes include Dionne Warwick’s ‘Walk On By’, Aretha Franklin’s ‘I Say A Little Prayer’ and The Carpenters’ famous version of ‘(They Long To Be) Close To You’. They’re also responsible for the hits ‘Do You Know The Way To San Jose’, ‘What The World Needs Now Is Love’ and ‘(There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me.’
Earlier this year, David and Bacharach were awarded the prestigious Gershwin Prize recognising their contribution to popular song at a ceremony and concert held at the White House.
It was the latest of many accolades awarded to David, including being inducted into the Songwriting Hall of Fame.
David is survived by his sons Jim and Craig, three grandchildren and two stepsons; as well as his wife Eunice, how told press that “even at the end, Hal always had a song in his head.”
Pop music expert Paul Gambaccini told the BBC that David was “one of the giants of all time of popular music songwriting… his list of hits is so impressive. There are so many wonderful songs.”
Paul Williams, president and chairman of ASCAP, paid tribute to David saying: “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.”
“It is no wonder that so many of his lyrics have become part of our everyday vocabulary and his songs… the backdrop of our lives,” Williams said.