What the world needs now,
Is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.
Over the weekend, we lost a great lyricist when Hal David passed away at 91 years-old. As the sometimes thankless task of being the guy who supplies the words can be, David was often forgotten. His writing partner Burt Bacharach and their musical muse Dionne Warwick often grabbed more headlines than David did. But without David those catchy lyrics to some of the best pop songs on the planet would not exist. As I read his obituary and tributes in different publications, it blew my mind how many hits David wrote. Some, like Brokenhearted Melody, are tunes he crafted before his partnership with Bacharach. The song is a showstopper for Sarah Vaughn and I dare you to erase it from your memory after listening to it:
David’s lyrical genius can also be found in mega hits like the Oscar- winning Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, I’ll Never Fall In Love Again, Walk on By, The Look of Love, and one of my all time favorite songs, I Say a Little Prayer for You.
Naturally, everybody has their favorites and the list is endless. David and Bacharach’s hit making machine attracted the biggest names of time and their collaborations with goddess Dusty Springfield are utter genius.
What inspires me today, on this Tuesday after a long weekend, about David’s lyrics is the optimism that permeates in every song. Even the sad ballads give the listener a sense that everything will eventually work out. Sure, these sentiments might seem corny by today’s standards but as I look at the tragedy, cynicism and intolerance in today’s headlines, I think David might have been onto something. Love is still the only thing that there’s just too little of.