Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Songwriter Hal David dies aged 91

Songwriter Hal David has died aged 91

Hal David, whose simple, heartfelt lyrics made a perfect fit with Burt Bacharach's quirky melodies and resulted in dozens of hit songs, including Do You Know The Way To San Jose and Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head, has died at 91.

David died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles on Saturday of complications from a stroke, his wife Eunice said.

"Even at the end, Hal always had a song in his head," she said. "He was always writing notes, or asking me to take a note down, so he wouldn't forget a lyric."

David and Bacharach won an Oscar for Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head from the film Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, Grammys and Tonys for the songs from the hit Broadway musical Promises, Promises, as well as other top 40 hits including Close to You and That's What Friends Are For.

Many of the duo's lyrics and tunes continue to resonate in pop culture, including I Say A Little Prayer, What The World Needs Now Is Love, and This Guy's In Love With You. Their music was recorded by legendary singers including The Beatles, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond and their long-time partner Dionne Warwick.

David joined the board of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 1974 and was its president from 1980 to 1986. He was head of the Songwriters Hall of Fame from 2001 to 2011, and was Chairman Emeritus at his death.

"As a lyric writer, Hal was simple, concise and poetic - conveying volumes of meaning in fewest possible words and always in service to the music," ASCAP's current president, songwriter Paul Williams, said. "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."

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