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Hal David

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Hal David
David at the 2011 ASCAP concert[1]
David at the 2011 ASCAP concert[1]
Background information
Birth nameHarold Lane David
Born(1921-05-25)May 25, 1921
New York City, U.S.
DiedSeptember 1, 2012(2012-09-01) (aged 91)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1940s–2012
(died 1987)
  • Eunice

Harold Lane David (May 25, 1921 – September 1, 2012) was an American lyricist.[2] He grew up in New York City. He was best known for his collaborations with composer Burt Bacharach and his association with Dionne Warwick.

Early life[edit]

David was born in New York City, a son of Austrian Jewish immigrants Lina (née Goldberg) and Gedalier David, who owned a delicatessen in New York. He is the younger brother of American lyricist and songwriter Mack David.[3][4] David attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn and studied Journalism at New York University.


David is credited with popular music lyrics, beginning in the 1940s with material written for bandleader Sammy Kaye and for Guy Lombardo. He worked with Morty Nevins of The Three Suns on four songs for the feature film Two Gals and a Guy (1951), starring Janis Paige and Robert Alda. They also wrote the classic Christmas song I Believe in Santa Claus which was recorded by The Stargazers in 1950.

In 1956, David began working with composer Burt Bacharach at Famous Music in the Brill Building in New York. That year, the two published several songs, including "I Cry More" (featured in the motion picture Don't Knock the Rock), "The Morning Mail", and "Peggy's In The Pantry". The next year, their song "The Story of My Life" became a country hit for singer Marty Robbins.

In the UK, a version of "The Story of My Life" recorded by Michael Holliday reached No. 1 in 1958 before being replaced by Perry Como's "Magic Moments", the first time any songwriter had consecutive #1 hits in the UK Singles Chart.

Subsequently, in the 1960s and early 1970s Bacharach and David wrote some of the most enduring songs in American popular music, many for Dionne Warwick and also for The Carpenters, Dusty Springfield, B. J. Thomas, Gene Pitney, Tom Jones, Jackie DeShannon and others.[2]

Bacharach and David hits included "Alfie", "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head", "This Guy's in Love with You", "I'll Never Fall in Love Again", "Do You Know the Way to San Jose", "Walk On By", "What the World Needs Now Is Love", "I Say a Little Prayer", "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me", "One Less Bell to Answer" and "Anyone Who Had a Heart".[2]

The duo's film work includes the Oscar-nominated title songs for "What's New Pussycat?" and "Alfie", "The Look of Love", from Casino Royale; and the Oscar-winning "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In addition, the songs "Don't Make Me Over", "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and "Walk On By" have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Bacharach and David also collaborated on two musicals with their first work in this genre being the 1966 television musical On the Flip Side which was created as a starring vehicle for Ricky Nelson and Joanie Sommers.[5] Their second musical, Promises, Promises, was nominated for the 1969 Tony Award for Best Musical at the 23rd Tony Awards. The original cast recording won the 1969 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album at the 12th Annual Grammy Awards.[6]

The Bacharach-David partnership, which had been long and both critically and financially successful, was effectively terminated by their experiences working on the score of the 1973 film Lost Horizons, a critical and commercial disappointment.[7] Increasing tensions between the two with regard to the work led to an exchange of lawsuits, destroying their professional relationship.[8]

David worked successfully as a lyricist with other composers before, during and after his time with Bacharach. Perhaps his best known non-Bacharach song was "To All the Girls I've Loved Before", with music by Albert Hammond, which was a hit for Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias.[2] He also wrote Sarah Vaughan's "Broken Hearted Melody", with Sherman Edwards; the 1962 Joanie Sommers hit "Johnny Get Angry" also with Edwards; and "99 Miles From L.A." with Albert Hammond, recorded by Hammond and later Art Garfunkel. With Paul Hampton, David co-wrote the country standard "Sea of Heartbreak", a hit for Don Gibson and others, and, with Archie Jordan, the top 20 Ronnie Milsap hit, "It Was Almost Like a Song".

David contributed lyrics to three James Bond film themes—in addition to "The Look of Love" from Casino Royale (1967) with Bacharach, he wrote "We Have All the Time in the World", with John Barry and sung by Louis Armstrong for the 1969 film On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and in 1979, "Moonraker", also with Barry, sung by Bond regular Shirley Bassey for the film of the same name.

David and Bacharach were awarded the 2011 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, bestowed by the Library of Congress, the first time a songwriting team was given the honor. David was recuperating from an illness and was unable to attend the Washington D.C. presentation ceremony in May 2012.[9]

The television tribute, What the World Needs Now: Words by Hal David was aired on public television stations and released on home video in 2019. The program was hosted by Bette Midler and contained archival interviews with Hal David, and commentary, tributes, and archival performances with Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick, Valerie Simpson, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Dusty Springfield, B.J. Thomas, and Glen Campbell.[10]

Personal life and death[edit]

David had two sons with his first wife Anne. He married his second wife Eunice and had three grandchildren.[4] David lived for many years in East Hills, New York, in the historic Mackay Estate Dairyman's Cottage of the Harbor Hill estate.[11]

On September 1, 2012, David died from a stroke at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, at the age of 91.[4][12]

He is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park beside his first wife, Anne, who died in 1987.[citation needed]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Academy Awards[edit]

Year Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1965 Best Original Song "What's New Pussycat?" (from What's New Pussycat)
(shared with Burt Bacharach)
Nominated [13]
1966 "Alfie" (from Alfie)
(shared with Burt Bacharach)
Nominated [14]
1967 "The Look of Love" (from Casino Royale)
(shared with Burt Bacharach)
Nominated [15]
1969 "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" (from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)
(shared with Burt Bacharach)
Won [16]

Academy of Country Music Awards[edit]

Year Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1984 Single Record of the Year "To All the Girls I've Loved Before"
(shared with Albert Hammond)
Won [17]
Song of the Year Nominated

Country Music Association Awards[edit]

Year Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1977 Song of the Year "It Was Almost Like a Song"
(shared with Archie Jordan)
Nominated [18]
1978 Nominated
1984 "To All the Girls I've Loved Before"
(shared with Albert Hammond)

Golden Globe Awards[edit]

Year Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1966 Best Original Song "Alfie" (from Alfie)
(shared with Burt Bacharach)
Nominated [19]
1969 "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" (from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)
(shared with Burt Bacharach)
1971 "Long Ago Tomorrow" (from The Raging Moon)
(shared with Burt Bacharach)
1973 "Send a Little Love My Way" (from Oklahoma Crude)
(shared with Henry Mancini)

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1964 Song of the Year "Wives and Lovers"
(shared with Burt Bacharach)
Nominated [20]
1968 Best Instrumental Theme "Casino Royale"
(shared with Burt Bacharach)
1970 Song of the Year "I'll Never Fall in Love Again"
(shared with Burt Bacharach)
"Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head"
(shared with Burt Bacharach)
Best Contemporary Song Nominated
Best Score from an Original Cast Show Album Promises, Promises
(shared with Burt Bacharach, Henry Jerome, and Phil Ramone)
1978 Best Country Song "It Was Almost Like a Song"
(shared with Archie Jordan)

Tony Awards[edit]

Year Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1969 Best Musical Promises, Promises
(shared with Neil Simon, Burt Bacharach, and David Merrick)
Nominated [21]



Work on Broadway[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Padua, Pat (May 12, 2011). "Pic(s) of the Week: They Write the Songs Edition". Library of Congress - In the Muse: Performing Arts Blog. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 343. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  3. ^ "Hal David Biography (1921-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Hoerburger, Rob (September 1, 2012). "Hal David, Songwriter, Is Dead at 91". The New York Times. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  5. ^ Vincent Terrace (June 19, 2013). "On the Flip Side". Television Specials: 5,336 Entertainment Programs, 1936-2012, 2d Ed. McFarland & Company. p. 286. ISBN 9780786474448.
  6. ^ "1969 GRAMMY Winners | 12th Annual GRAMMY Awards". The Recording Academy. March 11, 1970. Retrieved June 1, 2023.
  7. ^ Bacharach, Burt (2012) Anyone Who Had A Heart, HarperCollins ISBN 978-0857898012, p. 156
  8. ^ Dominic, Serene (2003) Burt Bacharach: Song by Song, Music Sales Group, pp.242-3
  9. ^ "Hal David, Burt Bacharach honored in D.C. with Gershwin Prize". Los Angeles Times. May 9, 2012.
  10. ^ "HAL DAVID MOVIE". HAL DAVID MOVIE. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  11. ^ "Mackay Estate Dairyman's Cottage | Profiles | Roslyn Landmark Society".
  12. ^ "Iconic songwriter Hal David dies at 91 in Los Angeles". Fox News. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
  13. ^ "The 38th Academy Awards (1966) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  14. ^ "The 39th Academy Awards (1967) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  15. ^ "The 40th Academy Awards (1968) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  16. ^ "The 42nd Academy Awards (1970) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  17. ^ "Academy of Country Music – Search Winners". Academy of Country Music Awards. Retrieved February 28, 2023.
  18. ^ "CMA Awards Past Winners & Nominees". Country Music Association Awards. Retrieved February 28, 2023.
  19. ^ "Hal David – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved February 28, 2023.
  20. ^ "Hal David". Grammy Awards. Retrieved February 28, 2023.
  21. ^ "1969 Tony Awards". Tony Awards. Retrieved February 28, 2023.
  22. ^ "Trustees Grammy Award". Grammy Awards. Retrieved February 28, 2023.
  23. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
  24. ^ Songwriters Hall of Fame presents first ever Visionary Leadership Award to Chairman Emeritus Hal David, archived from the original on May 23, 2011

External links[edit]