Lyricist Hal David has died at 91…

 

He was probably best known as the lyricist to the songs of Bert Bacharach. Harold Lane “Hal” David grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He received an Academy Award for the lyrics to “Raindrops Keep Falling on Your Head” from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

David died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles due to complications from a stroke.

David once outlined how he wrote with Bacharach on “What The World Needs Now Is Love” (proclaimed “The Towering Song” by the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004):

Al Hirshfeld’s portrait of Hal David

Years ago Burt Bacharach and I wrote a song that we thought we liked. After looking it over we decided that our original instinct was wrong. We put it away in our desk drawer and kept it hidden there for ten months-a flop, we thought.

This was particularly disappointing to me. I had thought of the idea at least two years before showing it to Burt. The chorus section beginning with, ‘What the world needs now” came quickly. However, after I finished with, “No, not just for some but for everyone,” I was stuck. I kept thinking of lines like, “Lord, we don’t need planes that fly higher or faster…” and they all seemed wrong. Why, I didn’t know. But the idea stayed with me.

Then, one day, I thought of, “Lord, we don’t need another mountain,” and all at once I knew how the lyric should be written. Things like planes and trains and cars are man-made, and things like mountains and rivers and valleys are created by someone or something we call God. There was now a oneness of idea and language instead of a conflict. It had taken me two years to put my finger on it.

When the idea came the lyric flowed with ease. As soon as Burt saw the lyric, the music seemed to flow as naturally.

What’s New Pussycat,” “Alfie,” and “The Look of Love” received Oscar nominations. Amongst Hal David’s million-sellers are such standards as “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” “Walk on By,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me,” “One Less Bell To Answer,” and “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before.” Earlier this year, David and Bacharach received the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress, during a White House musical tribute (which David could not attend due to a previous stroke.)

 

About btchakir

Retired Theatre Producer, Graphic Designer, Usability Tester and General Troubleshooter with a keen interest in Politics and The Stage. Currently heard on WSHC, 89.7 FM (on line at www.897wshc.org) and occasionally dabbling in Community Theatre.

Posted on September 2, 2012, in Announcement, Art, Arts, creativity, Music, News, Obits, Opinion, Word from Bill and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Lyricist Hal David has died at 91….

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