“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head.
“What’s New, Pussycat?”
“Walk On By.”
“What the World Needs Now Is Love.”
“Do You Know the Way to San Jose?”
“Close to You.”
Chances are you have heard at least one (if not all) of these tunes; they are an indelible part of America’s musical heritage. For that, in part, we have lyricist Hal David to thank.
Over the weekend, Hal David passed away at the age of 91, due to complications from a stroke. He had survived a prior stroke just last March.
While David had a long and extensive music career and collaborated with many different songwriters, he is perhaps best known for his long songwriting partnership with Burt Bacharach, now 84. The two met in the 1950s in New York’s legendary “Tin Pan Alley,” and collaborated into the 1970s, during which time they wrote many songs that have since become American standards. While the Bacharach-David team served as primary songwriters for Dionne Warwick, they also contributed music to the movies and Broadway, garnering an Oscar for “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” (which appeared on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), and earned a Tony award for their stage musical Promises, Promises.
Hal David was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 1972, and went on to serve as its chairman from 2001 to 2011. He was also president of ASCAP from 1980 to 1986.
While best remembered for his contributions in the 1960s and 1970s, it is reported that Hal David remained active as a composer until the end of his life, and his songs are still being recorded today by major label artists. The world has lost a great talent, but David’s legacy as a songwriter will last for many generations. Rest in peace, Hal David. You will be missed.