Songwriter Hal David dies aged 91

HAL David, part of a duo who wrote hits such as Walk On By and Do You Know The Way To San Jose, has died at the age of 91.

He died from complications following a stroke on Saturday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angles, his wife Eunice said.

“Even at the end, Hal always had a song in his head,” Mrs David said. “He was always writing notes, or asking me to take a note down, so he wouldn’t forget a lyric.”

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David and singer-songwriter Burt Bacharach worked for a variety of recording artists in the 1960s and beyond. They won an Oscar for Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, from the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Grammys and Tonys for the songs from the hit Broadway musical Promises, Promises, as well as other top 40 hits including Close to You.

David, originally a journalist, met Bacharach when both worked in New York’s Brill Building, where writers cranked out songs and attempted to sell them to music publishers. They scored their first big hit with Magic Moments, a million-selling record for Perry Como.

In 1962 they began writing for a young singer named Dionne Warwick, whose voice conveyed the emotion of David’s lyrics and easily handled the changing patterns of Bacharach’s melodies.

David, meanwhile, went on to collaborate with several other composers: John Barry with the title song of the Bond film Moonraker; Albert Hammond with To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before, which Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson sang as a duet; and Henry Mancini with The Greatest Gift in The Return of the Pink Panther.