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Lyricist Hal David Dead at 91

The award-winning writer collaborated with Burt Bacharach on countless songs, including "Close to You" by The Carpenters and "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" by BJ Thomas.

Hal David, the lyricist of such songs as "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" and "Close to You," died Saturday from complications of a stroke, according to a spokesman for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He was 91.

David, who collaborated with longtime songwriting partner Burt Bacharach, had suffered a stroke in March, and was stricken again Tuesday, his wife Eunice told reporters. He died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

"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."

The prolific songwriting duo won numerous awards including an Academy Award for best original song in 1970 for "Raindrops" from the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and a Grammy Award for the cast album of the 1969 Broadway play "Promises, Promises."

In May, David and Bacharach received the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. David was unable to attend due to illness.

This past October, David became the oldest recipient of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

"From time to time, I found myself stargazing on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, never dreaming that one day one of the stars would be mine," he said at the time. "My lovely wife Eunice is excited, my grandchildren Adam and Sara are excited and what do you know, I'm more excited than they are."

A few days later, Bacharach, songwriter Paul Williams and singers Dionne Warwick [who was closely associated with the songwriting team], Kristin Chenoweth, Jackie DeShannon, Marilyn McCoo and Smokey Robinson performed at a tribute in his honor at the Mark Taper Forum.

David was a former ASCAP president who was remembered by fellow songwriters for his efforts in making sure they were properly compensated. ASCAP licenses and collects royalties for musical performances.

The New York native worked for a time as a reporter for the New York Post. He met Bacharach in 1957 at the legendary Brill Building.

Their other songs include "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," "The Look of Love," "Alfie," "What's New Pussycat," "I Say a Little Prayer," "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me," "One Less Bell To Answer," "What the World Needs Now is Love," "That's What Friends Are For" and "To All The Girls I've Loved Before."

In addition to Warwick, who had a string of Bacharach-David hits, their music was recorded by the likes of The Beatles, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Dusty Springfield and Neil Diamond.

In addition to his wife, David is survived by his sons, Jim and Craig.

At 4 p.m. Saturday, flowers were placed on his Walk of Fame star at 6752 Hollywood Blvd., according to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

A private memorial service is planned.

Liz Spear September 02, 2012 at 06:32 PM
"... there's one thing, I know the blues they send to greet me won't defeat me. It won't be long 'till happiness steps up to greet me." My favorite Hal David lyric, I think, though it's hard to pick from so many great songs! These words have suck with me since I was a kid. :) What's your favorite Hal David lyric or song?

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