Hal David — known for hits like “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”— died of complications from a stroke at 91 years old Saturday in Los Angeles, Hollywood.com has confirmed.
He certainly will remain a legend in the music industry — David and longtime writing partner Burt Bacharach wrote for famous acts like The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, and Dionne Warwick, who collaborated with the duo on many hits, including “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” “I Say A Little Prayer,” and “Walk on By.”
Considering how many Top 40 hits David and Bacharach penned since meeting at New York’s Tin Pan Alley song factory in 1957, it was only a matter of time until Oscar took notice. David — a former president for the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers — picked up nominations for writing Casino Royale’s “The Look of Love” and the title tracks from Alfie and What’s New, Pussycat?, and, in 1970, an Oscar for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’s “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head.”
Even the White House took notice of David’s influence on pop culture. In spring 2012, President Barack Obama rewarded David and Bacharach with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. (“These guys have still got it,” Obama said at the event, which David was unable to attend due to health reasons.)
The duo might have scored their first hit in 1958 with Perry Como’s “Magic Moments” — and broke up in 1973 after poor reviews for their Lost Horizon work sparked a tenuous relationship between the two for a long 19 years — but their collaborations will continue to hit airwaves. Acts like Alicia Keys record Bacharach and David originals today.
Paul Williams, the current President and Chairman of ASCAP, released the following statement to Hollywood.com about the dearly departed songwriter: “Hal David has been a great inspiration to me both as a songwriter, a mentor, and as a leader of ASCAP. As a lyric writer, Hal was simple, concise and poetic –conveying volumes of meaning in fewest possible words and always in service to the music. It is no wonder that so many of his lyrics have become part of our everyday vocabulary and his songs… the backdrop of our lives. ASCAP enjoyed Hal’s devoted service and leadership for nearly four decades as a Board member and six years as President. He was always able to see the big picture when it came to the music business and was one of the most respected and valued voices in our music community. His concern for his fellow ASCAP members was always paramount. To me, he was a faithful friend and supporter, whom I will miss deeply. I know that all of ASCAP’s members join me in mourning his loss.”
[Image Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images]