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Hal David Dead at 91

Gary Gershoff, Getty Images

Hal David, the legendary songwriter whose numerous hit include the Wilie Nelson-Julio Iglesias pop country smash, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” passed away Sept. 1 following a stroke. He was 91.

The New York native wrote many of his best-known hits with famed songwriter Burt Bacharach, including Marty Robbins‘ No. 1 country tune, “The Story of My Life,” the Oscar-winning “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” for B.J. Thomas, and a number of hits for Dionne Warwick, including “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me” and “Do You Know the Way to San Jose.” Other artists who recorded the iconic pair’s songs include Barbra Streisand, the Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Neil Diamond.

Elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, David also collaborated with other tunesmiths to write chart-topping hits for country acts including Ronnie Milsap (“It Was Almost Like a Song”) and Don Gibson (“Sea of Heartbreak”). He was elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984. Recipient (with songwriting partner Burt Bacharach) of the Gershwin Prize from the Library of Congress in 2011, the writing team also contributed music to several films including “Casino Royale,” “What’s New, Pussycat,” “Wives and Lovers” and “On Her Majesty’s Service.” He received a Tony nomination for Best Musical for the 1968 musical “Promises, Promises,” and credits as featured songwriter for “André DeShield’s Haarlem Nocturne” revue in 1984 and lyricist for the 2003 revue, “The Look of Love: The Songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.”

The award-winning lyricist followed one simple rule in his songwriting. “Above all, I try to create an emotion to which others can respond,” he noted in an essay on his official website. “Unless I can create an emotion to which I can respond, I throw the lyric away. Although I cannot know how others will react, I assume that if it moves me it may do the same for them. Sometimes I am right, sometimes I am wrong.”

Hal David is survived by a wife and two sons.

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