Hal David, Lyricist And Bacharach Songwriting Partner, Dies At 91

on September 02 2012 12:07 PM
Legendary songwriter Hal David (L) receives a kiss from wife Eunice as the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honors him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California
Legendary songwriter Hal David (L) receives a kiss from wife Eunice as the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honors him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California October 14, 2011. Reuters

Hal David, longtime lyricist for the beloved pop composer Burt Bacharach, died in Los Angeles on Sunday at the age of 91.

The songwriter was known for the long string of classic hits he helped create, including "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head," "Walk On By," "I'll Never Fall In Love Again," and "What's New Pussycat?" with Bacharach as the composer.

David died in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center from complications brought on by a stroke, Jim Steinblatt of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers told Reuters.

"There are many, many broken hearts around the world today," said ASCAP President Paul Williams in a statement. "The world has lost one of its sweetest souls. Happily, the songs he gave us will live forever."

Bacharach, 84, and David were honored this year with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress at the White House, but David was too ill to attend.

The Brooklyn native's songwriting career began at the famed Brill Building in Manhattan, a hotbed for up-and-coming pop and Broadway composers in the mid-20th century, according to the Los Angeles Times. The collaboration with Bacharach began in the 1950s and would produce a string of hits for numerous stars, including Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones and Barbra Streisand.

The duo's "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" earned an Academy Award for Best Song for its use in the 1969 movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Their Broadway musical "Promises, Promises" earned Bacharach and David a Grammy in 1969 for Best Score from an Original Cast Show.

Bacharach and David parted ways in the early 1970s, and David served as president of ASCAP from 1980 to 1986. But the prolific lyricist continued his habit of writing throughout.

His widow Eunice David told Reuters her husband would spend time seated in a rocking chair, legal pad in hand.

"All of a sudden, I'd look up and there it was filled with lyrics," she said. "It never ceased to amaze me how that happened."

He is survived by his wife, two sons and three grandchildren.