Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hal David of Bacharach/David Songwriting Team Dies

Burt Bacharach and Hal David
Hal David, who wrote the beautiful lyrics to Burt Bacharach's great melodies in the 1960's and 70's, has died at the age of 91.  I grew up with this music and can remember loving it when I was as young as 9 and 10 years old, and the fact that I still love this music all these many decades later is a testament to just how great these songs are.

From the Washington Post:
Bacharach and David were among the most successful teams in modern history, with top 40 hits including “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” ‘’(They Long to Be) Close to You” and “That’s What Friends Are For.” Although most associated with Dionne Warwick, their music was recorded by many of the top acts of their time, from the Beatles and Barbra Streisand to Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin. They won an Oscar for “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” (from the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”), Grammys and Tonys for the songs from the hit Broadway musical “Promises, Promises.”

David and Bacharach met when both worked in the Brill Building, New York’s legendary Tin Pan Alley song factory where writers cranked out songs and attempted to sell them to music publishers. They scored their first big hit with “Magic Moments,” a million-selling record for Perry Como.

In 1962 they began writing for a young singer named Dionne Warwick, whose versatile voice conveyed the emotion of David’s lyrics and easily handled the changing patterns of Bacharach’s melodies. Together the trio created a succession of popular songs including “Don’t Make Me Over,” ‘’Walk On By,” ‘’I Say a Little Prayer,” ‘’Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” ‘’Trains and Boats and Planes,” ‘’Anyone Who Has a Heart,” ‘’You’ll Never Get to Heaven” and “Always Something There to Remind Me,” a hit in the 1980s for the synth pop band Naked Eyes. 
I stopped listening to contemporary pop music about 20 years ago because there were no longer any melodies, only beats, and it was all explicitly sexual.  No one writes love songs anymore, just sex songs.  Burt Bacharach and Hal David were among those who wrote truly romantic love songs that talked about commitment and caring, not just a few moments of physical passion and then on to the next one.  And the melodies were beautiful and singable, and you felt good just listening to them.

Below is a Youtube video of one of the best Bacharach/David songs ever.  It's hard for me to listen to this without tears in my eyes.

Thank you, Hal David, for this and all the other beautiful music you gave us.  God bless you, and may you rest in peace.






Here is one more video of Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach doing a medley of some of those great songs.  You will see Hal David at the end of the video.


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