Tuesday, September 4, 2012

RIP Hal David (1921 – 2012)

Hal David

Over the weekend, the world became just a little bit less musical when the voice of lyricist Hal David was lost. He was 91 years old. David was best known for his work with composer Burt Bacharach, together writing some of the most successful and respected songs of the 1960s and 1970s. While it is easy to say his words were sung by some of the best voices in the music business, but in this case it is true. He and Burt are closely tied to the career for the magnificent Dionne Warwick. Together, they had hit after hit on the charts.

Burt Barcharach & Hal David
Laughing with writing partner Burt Bacharach.

But there were so many others, far more than I could put into one post. I will start with one of those magnificent voices who delivered the songs with amazing abilities. One of the many combinations that worked in addition to the Bacharach/David duo working with Dionne Warwick was the writers working with the gorgeous voice of Karen Carpenter. Richard & Karen Carpenter worked together in a band aptly called Carpenters, and were a hit factory in the 1970s and 1980s. They had a mega-hit with the single "(They Long To Be) Close To You", but that was not the only Bacharach/David song they recorded. Listen as they perform "Bacharach/David Medley: Knowing When To Leave/Make It Easy On Yourself/There's Always Something There To Remind Me/I'll Never Fall In Love Again/Walk On By/Do You Know The Way To San Jose".

The medley was recorded for the eponymous 1971 album, which went quadruple Platinum in sales. You can download "Bacharach/David Medley: Knowing When To Leave/Make It Easy On Yourself/There's Always Something There To Remind Me/I'll Never Fall In Love Again/Walk On By/Do You Know The Way To San Jose" from iTunes and Amazon. The next song was first recorded by Dionne Warwick in 1964, but was quickly covered by many others. Nineteen years later, the song was covered by the New Wave/New Romantic group Naked Eyes. "(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me" was a great success, making it to #8 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Check out the video for "(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me".

You can find "(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me" on the compilation album, The Very Best of Naked Eyes. You can purchase the single from iTunes and Amazon. In 1964, Dionne Warwick sung the achingly beautiful "A House Is Not A Home", written by Bacharach/David. It was the B-side of "You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart)", and both songs ended up on the US Billboard Hot 100. In 1967, Burt & Hal wrote "One Less Bell To Answer" for Keely Smith, but it wasn't a hit. It was recorded by the 5th Dimension featuring the gorgeous voice of Marilyn McCoo for a 1970 hit. In 1971, the two were recorded as a medley on the album 'Barbra Joan Streisand', which brought the haunting quality of both songs together is a delicious package, Streisand singing a duet with herself. Enjoy as Barbra Streisand sings "One Less Bell To Answer/A House Is Not A Home".

You can find this medley on Streisand's 1971 album, Barbra Joan Streisand. You can purchase it from iTunes and Amazon. In 1969, one of the runaway hits in the movie theaters was Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, starring the gorgeous duo of Paul Newman and Robert Redford. The soundtrack also featured a song written by Bacharach/David that was sung by B.J. Thomas that was the definition of charm. "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" went on the win the Academy Award for Best Original Song and went to #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100, Billboard Adult Contemporary, and the US Cashbox Top 100. This is B.J Thomas singing "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head".

"Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" can be found on countless albums. You can purchase it on iTunes and Amazon off the album All-Time Greatest Hits of BJ Thomas. In 1967, Columbia Pictures released Casino Royale, a comedy spoof of spy adventures like James Bond, starring David Niven and Ursula Andress. It was said Bacharach was inspired by seeing sexy Andress in a particular scene when he wrote the music. David wrote the lyrics and Dusty Springfield as asked to sing the song, and "The Look of Love" went on to earn an Academy Award nomination. Check out Dusty giving a great performance.

"The Look Of Love" can be found on the 1967 album of the same name. You can purchase it from iTunes and Amazon. And finally, I couldn't do this memorial without including the woman who was a muse for much of this great music, Dionne Warwick. She sang much of the great songs by Bacharach/David, so I decided to pick my favorite. Well, my favorite at this moment, since there were so many, I could easily pick another tomorrow. Anyway, I am going with the 1964 hit, "Walk On By". I loved the way the song sat perfectly in Warwick's voice, and delivered an amazing depth of emotion. Here is the glorious "Walk On By" as sung by Dionne Warwick.

You can find "Walk On By" on Dionne's 1964 album, Make Way For Dionne Warwick. You can purchase it from iTunes and Amazon. So much great music, and much I haven't mentioned. Rest in peace, Hal David, for you left a lifetime of music here on earth.


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