David died at
"As a lyric writer, Hal was simple, concise and poetic — conveying volumes of meaning in the fewest possible words and always in service to the music," songwriter
When David and Bacharach were awarded the nation's highest prize for popular music in May,
"And with an unmistakable authenticity, they captured the emotions of our daily lives — the good times, the bad times and everything in between," the president said upon awarding them the
David was too ill to attend the
"It was my great fortune to have ever crossed paths with Hal David. He was a great writer of lyrics. If you need proof, just listen to the lyrics of 'A House Is Not a Home' or 'Alfie' and that would be as good as you can get," Bacharach told The Times on Saturday.
James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, called David "an American songwriting treasure."
"The pairing of Hal David lyrics with Burt Bacharach music gave us powerful and memorable songs that have been embraced across generations," Billington said in a statement.
Singer and music historian
They scored their first hit together in 1957 with
Both David and Bacharach continued to collaborate with others before committing to an exclusive songwriting partnership after discovering what David once described as "their magical interpreter": a supremely talented young recording session backup singer named
In 1962, Warwick recorded the Bacharach-David song "Don't Make Me Over" and it became her first hit single.
Warwick recorded a long string of Bacharach-David pop classics, including "Walk On By," "Alfie," "Reach Out for Me," "Message to Michael," "Trains and Boats and Planes," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Do You Know the Way to San Jose" and "I'll Never Fall in Love Again."
"She was so right for our stuff," David said of Warwick in 2003 in the Record of Bergen County, N.J. "You couldn't find anyone who could sing the melodies so well."
Of collaborating with Bacharach, he said: "We were really running parallel to rock 'n' roll. We were writing songs that I think were original and fresh and seemed to capture the imagination of the people at the time."
In 1963 — the year Warwick scored with the duo's "Anyone Who Had a Heart" — the songwriters had several other hits, including "Blue on Blue" for
Other Bacharach and David hits of the 1960s included "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance" and "Only Love Can Break a Heart" (Pitney), "Make It Easy on Yourself" (Jerry Butler), "What's New, Pussycat?" (
"We'd sit in a room and start with maybe a line that I had, or four bars of Burt's music, and we'd build a song sort of like we were building a house," David recalled in 2000 in the London Guardian. "Very often we were writing three songs at a time."
Of his approach to writing lyrics, David told Daily Variety in 1998: "I always looked for an emotional impact and I always looked to tell stories. I like a narrative quality. I look for simplicity as opposed to being simplistic."
The inspiration for "Don't Make Me Over" came from a comment Warwick made to the songwriters after she sang "Make It Easy on Yourself" on a demonstration record, only to see it recorded by Jerry Butler.
"She was very upset, thinking that she should have been the one to record it," David recalled in 1997 on
Don't make me over.
Now that I'd do anything for you.
Don't make me over.
Now that you know how I adore you.
Don't pick on the things I say, the things I do.
Just love me with all my faults, the way that I love you.
I'm begging you …
David's lyrics for the title song for "Alfie," the 1966 film starring
What's it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
or are we meant to be kind?
Music historian Paul Grein said the songwriters' "natural inclinations" made for an ideal partnership.
"Hal's lyrics were simple and direct and conversational; he would understate," Grein told The Times in 2011. "Without even being conscious about it, they balanced each other perfectly. Burt's melodies were complex and intricate. I think if Hal's lyrics had been fussy and complicated it might have been too much."
Their film work during the 1960s resulted in Academy Award nominations for the title songs "What's New, Pussycat?" and "Alfie" and for the song "The Look of Love" in "Casino Royale."
In 1970, they won the Oscar for best original song for "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" from
Bacharach and David also wrote the music and lyrics — and Neil Simon wrote the book — for the long-running 1968 Broadway hit "Promises, Promises." The songwriters were rewarded with a Grammy.
A 1972 Times profile on David noted that the easygoing lyricist had been referred to as "the shadowy, retiring" member of the partnership, while Bacharach — who also had a solo career as a performer and was married to actress
"My life is more private than Burt's," David acknowledged, "and I like it. If I could try being a celebrity one day and then decide if I liked it or not, I would. But that's impossible."
Moving into the 1970s, Bacharach and David's winning streak continued with hits such as
They collaborated on the 1973 musical remake of "Lost Horizon," but after the film flopped, the celebrated songwriting team broke up. Warwick sued them over an album they failed to produce for her, and Bacharach and David sued each other.
"Things just sort of peter out at a given point," David said in a 1983 Times article of the split. "A partnership such as we had is a case of one plus one equals three. There was a chemistry, and when the chemistry stops working you don't know why. But, my God, regrets I have none."
David's later songs included "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" (with composer Albert Hammond), which became a 1984 hit for
The youngest of three sons of Jewish-Austrian immigrant parents who owned a delicatessen, David was born May 25, 1921.
"I loved music and we always had music at home," David said in the 1975 book "In Their Own Words."
He learned to play the violin as a child and later had a band that played for weddings and bar mitzvahs. But from a young age, David said, he saw himself as a writer and as a teenager began penning songs.
He spent two years studying journalism at
Following the lead of his older brother Mack, a successful lyricist who wrote for the movies and television, David launched his songwriting career after the war.
In 1949, he was living in an attic on
"That was an important hit," David told The Times in 1972, "because it got us out of our attic."
His first wife died in 1987.
David is survived by his second wife, Eunice, of Los Angeles; two sons from his first marriage, Jim David of Studio City and Craig David of Clyde, Texas; two stepsons, KC and Donald Forester; and three grandchildren.