Hal David, US songwriter of "Walk On By", dies at 91

Written by MCJStaff   // September 2, 2012   // Comments Off

Photo: Vince Bucci, Associated Press

(BBC)

US songwriter Hal David, who wrote dozens of hits with collaborator Burt Bacharach, has died at the age of 91.

His family said he died in Los Angeles from complications from a stroke.

He and Bacharach wrote a string of hits for Dionne Warwick, including Walk On By and I Say a Little Prayer, but also wrote for other performers, such as Tom Jones and Dusty Springfield.

Their film work included Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’s Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, which won an Oscar.

David’s wife, Eunice, told the Associated Press news agency that he had suffered a major stroke in March and was stricken again on Tuesday.

“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’s work was performed by a huge array of artists over the decades, including Perry Como, Louis Armstrong, the Carpenters and Sandie Shaw.

On Broadway, success came with the musical comedy, Promises, Promises, based on the Billy Wilder film, The Apartment.

Including the songs, l’ll Never Fall In Love Again, and Knowing When to Leave, the original cast recording was nominated for a Tony Award and won a Grammy in 1969.

The pair also turned out songs for the movies, What’s New, Pussycat, Alfie and the 1967 version of Casino Royale, which each earned them Oscar nominations for best song.

In 1974 David joined the board of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and served as 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.

The society’s current president, Paul Williams, said in a statement: “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.

“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.”

In 2011, David and Burt Bacharach were awarded the Gershwin Prize for popular song by the US Library of Congress, the first time a songwriting team has been given the honour.

 

  • Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, BJ Thomas
  • Close To You – The Carpenters
  • Alfie – Cilla Black
  • What’s New Pussycat? – Tom Jones
  • Walk On By, I Say a Little Prayer, Do You Know The Way To San Jose – Dionne Warwick
  • Twenty-Four Hours From Tulsa, Gene Pitney
  • (There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me, Sandie Shaw
  • Magic Moments – Perry Como


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