Fresh Air Remembers Lyricist Hal David | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Fresh Air Remembers Lyricist Hal David

Play associated audio

Hal David, the Oscar and Grammy-winning lyricist died Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 91. David is best known for his prolific collaboration with composer Burt Bacharach, which lasted from the late '50s to the mid-'70s. Many of their songs were recorded by Dionne Warwick, who had a string of hits in the 1960s. They also wrote the songs for the Broadway musical Promises Promises, and won an Oscar for the song "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" from the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Hear the radio of version of a Terry Gross interview with Hal David in 1997 at the audio link, and share your favorite David-penned song in the comments. We got you started with a five-song list.


On Hal David's favorite song, 'Alfie'

In writing songs, we were always trying to be as good as we can be. We're not always at our very best. I think that's an impossibility for anyone. And then there are time constrains when there are recording sessions to go into, films where the song has to be produced in a given amount of time and a theatre piece where it's got to go in very quickly. Consequently, you let go of songs before it's every bit as good as you'd hope it'd be. I think with "Alfie" — in my case, at least — that song came as close to being the way I wanted a song to be.

On writing the title song for womanizing movie character

I thought to myself, "My God, why do they keep giving me these terrible assignments." It seems such an odd phrase: Alfie. It's not a name that spells any romance whatsoever. It sounded almost like a British musical kind of song. It took me a while to find my way into the song, which was the opening line: "What's it all about?" And, suddenly, I had a sense of where I should go.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Rapper Jin Tries To Stretch His '15 Minutes' Of Fame

In 2004, Jin was one of the first Asian-Americans to drop a major label rap album. One controversial song, "Learn Chinese," raised eyebrows. A decade later, he's trying to rephrase the message.
NPR

Why Shark Finning Bans Aren't Keeping Sharks Off The Plate (Yet)

Fewer shark fins are being imported into Hong Kong, the epicenter of shark-fin soup, a culinary delicacy. But while the trade in shark fins may be down, the trade in shark meat is still going strong.
WAMU 88.5

Mixed Grades For Virginia's Ethics Overhual

The last-minute compromise was designed to pass in the General Assembly, but it wasn't built to please everybody.

WAMU 88.5

Transportation App Bridj Has Bus-Sized Ambitions For D.C.

It works similar to other ride-sharing apps, in that you establish a location and destination, and order a ride. But you'll be shown where to catch a Bridj bus, instead of getting a vehicle at your door.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.