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Songwriter Hal David Dead at 91

Wrote hits including 'I Say a Little Prayer' and 'Close to You' with partner Burt Bacharach

September 1, 2012 5:24 PM ET
Hal David
Hal David attends his Hollywood Walk Of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Joe Kohen/WireImage

Hal David, the longtime songwriting partner of Burt Bacharach, died on Saturday morning at the age of 91, the Associated Press reports. His wife, Eunice David, said that he died at Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of complications from a stroke.

David was the lyricist in the partnership with Bacharach, and the pair racked up Grammys, Tonys and an Oscar for the songs they crafted together, including "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," and "Promises, Promises." David served for six years as president of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He was also the head of the Songwriters Hall of Fame from 2001 to 2011, after which he became its Chairman Emeritus.

David was born in New York, where he studied Journalism at NYU before serving in the South Pacific during World War II. He met Burt Bacharach while working at the legendary Brill Building, and the pair began writing songs for Dionne Warwick in 1962, including "I Say a Little Prayer," "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," and "Always Something There to Remind Me." They also wrote hit songs for Dusty Springfield ("Wishin' and Hopin'"), Jackie DeShannon ("What the World Needs Now is Love") and Tom Jones ("What’s New, Pussycat") as well as other Top 40 hits, including "Close to You" and "That's What Friends Are For."

Last May, Bacharach and David were awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. At the White House tribute concert where the prize was presented, President Barack Obama praised the duo for their nearly six decades of work.

"Above all, they stayed true to themselves," Obama said. "And with an unmistakable authenticity, they captured the emotions of our daily lives – the good times, the bad times, and everything in between."

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