Sep 012012

The Holy Trinity of '60s Living Room Pop (left to right): Hal David, Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick.

RIP Hal David. My Mom’s record collection turned me onto your work at a young age. Your lyrics combined with Burt Bacharach‘s music and Dionne Warwick‘s voice helped me navigate the adult waters stirring around me.

Here’s a good obit from The New York Times.


  17 Responses to “Hal David Is On His Way to Heaven”

  1. bostonhistorian

    An amazing body of work. Has there ever been a singer/lyricist/composer combination as successful as Dionne Warwick, Hal David, and Burt Bacharach?

  2. I really loved those records. R.I.P.

  3. Hal David was an amazing lyricist and the Bacharach-David team was perfect. Aided by the music, David’s lyrics so often seemed happy and then suddenly you’d realize all the sadness in them.

    The New York Times obit is really wonderful and seeing the songs included in it is stunning:

    If you don’t feel like reading it all, here are some favorite parts:

    “With Ms. Warwick’s voice in place, Mr. David found his own, writing with the intense romanticism of the Tin Pan Alley songwriters he grew up admiring but replacing the literary curlicues of, say, Lorenz Hart or Oscar Hammerstein II with a conversational emotionalism.”

    “Geoffrey O’Brien, reviewing the Bacharach-David body of work in The New York Review of Books in 1999, called Mr. David’s lyrics “a peculiar blend” in which “the encroachments of the maudlin are generally kept at bay by the dexterity of the rhymes.”

  4. Agree with the commentators above. Hal David and Burt Bacharach. Leiber and Stollar, Suman and Pomus. The greats in lyrics and composing. Trivial Hal David’s brother Mack David wrote the lyrics to Zippadeedoodah sp?

  5. Until Burt sued Hal, Hal sued Burt, and Dionne sued them both according to the obit I read.

  6. So, imagine an Earth-2 where there is an American Idol when Ella is in her prime. If Katy Perry can be offered $20 million to judge a season of American Idol (which, by the way, I don’t believe for a second but it’s Earth-2 I’m positing so…) or J Lo and Mariah Carey get $15 million+ on Earth-1, what would Ella be offered – $50 million, $100 million, a billion?

  7. Hot Buttered Soul was such an off the wall album when it came out. I don’t think Isaac Hayes gets his props. Between the funky and the slow jam aspects he was way out front.

  8. So Earth-2 has completely different standards of talent? I don’t recall a phase in Ella’s career where she didn’t look like Aunt Esther. I’m not saying it’s right, but on this present-day Earth-1 think of all the greats who wouldn’t get the time of day because they’re not “HOT.” If Earth-2 is the kinder, gentler, more intelligent planet I’m sure you have in mind, then yes…

  9. ladymisskirroyale

    Dionne Warwick is pleasant, but sometimes I prefer other people’s renditions of these tunes. (Then again, I’m a consumer of tribute albums…)

    Perhaps we should start a thread on our favorite covers of Bacharach/David tunes.

  10. I don’t know about kinder, gentler, and more intelligent but it is a place where a great singer is defined a wee bit differently than it is on Earth-1.

  11. bostonhistorian

    That’s one way to measure success. No one sues if there isn’t money on the able.

  12. BigSteve

    I read that the lyrics to the song Alfie are unchanged in the final version of the song from what David originally submitted to Bacharach. Amazing song.

  13. Yes, I thought the writer did a nice job of breaking down the lyrics and getting at what made them special.

  14. Even years later, here seems the place to note the reuniting of the Bacharach-David team, at least in some manner of speaking. Even though i have always felt Hal David didn’t get the credit he deserved, Bacharach certainly deserved all the credit he got.

    And while Elvis Costello was no Hal David, Painted From Memory was the best thing EC has done in a quarter century.

    Coincidence? I think not.

    I noted in the NYT obit this portion:

    “Reflecting on his split with Mr. David in 2013 in his autobiography, “Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music,” written with Robert Greenfield, Mr. Bacharach acknowledged that “it was all my fault, and I can’t imagine how many great songs I could have written with Hal in the years we were apart.” ”

    If only…

Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube