Tuesday, 11 September 2012

RIP Hal David


I was so sad to hear that the amazing composer Hal David passed away last week. Although his name is not as easily recognisably as his song writing partner Burt Bacharach you will know so many of his songs.
The Genius Hal David May 25, 1921 – September 1, 2012
I first discovered the genius of Hal David whilst going through a very rubbish time about twelve years ago.I had landed my supposed "dream job" as a director at the BBC and moved to London all bright eyed and bushy tailed.
I quickly discovered that I hated the job, hated the people I was working with, hated the shifts and just really missed my friends back in Liverpool.It was grim.
Just when I thought I couldn't possibly feel any more unhappy I discovered a CD of Burt Bacharachs greatest hits in a bargain basket in Woolworth's and something about the songs on there lifted my spirits.
I truly believe some music, books and poems are sent to you in times of trouble to remind you to keep breathing and literally slap you around the chops with beauty. Hal David was that person for me. The words he wrote spoke to me and still speak to me.
I played that CD at least once a day and even now will pop it on when I need the sheer brilliance of the David/Bacharach musical mojo to work its magic.
The list of songs Hal David wrote is just ridiculous but here are some of my favourites.


Raindrops keep fallin on my head
This song is just so good its insane. I had a wind up music box as a small child which played this and I was obsessed with it even then. Some songs are just too good to have been written without some serious god like intervention and this is one of them.



What the world needs now is love
The only other song which matches this for just the most simple but moving message is Marvin Gaye's "Whats going on"
When Jackie DeShannon sings "What the world needs now is love sweet love,it's the only thing that theres just too little of" it resonates as much today right now as it did in 1965-and that dear friends is song writing genius.



Walk on by
"I just can't get over loosing you, so if I seem broken and blue walk on by" that is the feeling of heartbreak encapsulated in one sentence.
That gut wrenching feeling of seeing the person who has broken your heart in the street or across a room, making your heart beat too fast-this song is the anthem for that moment. Dionne Warwick sang a lot of David/Bacharach songs but to my mind this is just the most perfect vocal she has ever done.



I say a little prayer
Endlessly covered but nobody tops the original Queen Aretha. That constant drum beat of obsession when you can't stop thinking of someone, we've all been there right? Saying that little prayer from the moment we wake up.
This song lifts you up so high it leaves you giddy. Put it on your i-pod and stay grumpy, see it can't be done. Mental isn't it?


The Look of Love
I am a huge Dusty Springfield fan. The dusty in Memphis album is played on my record player or i-pod at least once a week. This song plays to her unique voice so well. Its as slinky as a Siamese cat. Its so gentle and yet it creeps into your brain and just refuses to budge. Joyful.

So goodnight Hal David. Thank you for everything. Your songs have brought comfort, bliss and good times to so many especially me. Blowing you a great big lipsticked kiss.


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2 comments:

  1. Oh, so sad! I had no idea (I am ashamed to say) how many famous songs he had written! He should be up there with the recognise greats!

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  2. Oh that is sad, my husband is/was a musician and I think we have a vinyl collection someplace. Its funny how certain people passing can make you quite sad, Oliver Postgate died one month before my Dad and Tony Hart died 2 weeks after my Dad and it was like having a giant chunk of my childhood die. Of course creative people live on through their work.
    Val
    xxx

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