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September 1: Hal David

Lawrence Bush
August 31, 2016
5827b9adSoulful and romantic lyricist Hal David, who teamed up with Burt Bacharach to create dozens of hit songs, died at 91 on this date in 2012. David met Bacharach at the Brill Building of songwriters in New York in 1957. The pair went on to write “Alfie,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” “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,” “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” and many other songs of heartbreak and desire. Dionne Warwick was their most-used interpreter, but other singers such as the Carpenters, Dusty Springfield, Gene Pitney, Julio Igelsias, Herb Alpert, Aretha Franklin, the Fifth Dimension, Tom Jones, and Jackie DeShannon also recorded their songs. David and Bacharach were awarded the 2011 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song by the Library of Congress. In 1972, David was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and he was the president of ASCAP from 1980 to 1986. To see Dionne Warwick singing “Walk on By,” look below. To see Dusty Springfield singing “The Look of Love,” look further below. “It is easy to be simple and bad. Being simple and good is very difficult. The sophisticated Cole Porter, the earthy Irving Berlin, the poetic Oscar Hammerstein, and the witty Lorenz Hart all have one thing in common — simplicity, the kind that is good. . . . I seek this elusive thing called simplicity always. I hope sometimes I achieve it.” --Hal David

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.