Burt Bacharach and Hal David to receive Gershwin Prize
The veteran songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David has been chosen to receive the Library of Congress' fourth Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, which will be presented at an all-star tribute ceremony in the spring in Washington.
The creators of dozens of hits including "I Say A Little Prayer," "Do You Know the Way To San Jose?," "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," "Walk On By," "What the World Needs Now" and "Alfie," for artists such as Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Jackie DeShannon and Herb Alpert, composer Bacharach and lyricist David are the first songwriting team to be honored with the Gershwin Prize.
"It's a great honor to receive this award and to follow the past recipients, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney -– it doesn't get any better than this," Bacharach, 83, said in a statement with Thursday's announcement.
In the same statement, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, "Their creative talents have inspired songwriters for more than five decades, and their legacy is much in the tradition of George and Ira Gershwin, for whom this award is named."
The first Bacharach-David song registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, which is part of the Library of Congress, was "Peggy in the Pantry," dated May 9, 1956. Since their heyday in the 1960s and '70s, Bacharach has teamed for varied projects with other musical partners including Elvis Costello, Don Was and Ronald Isley of the Isley Brothers.
-- Randy Lewis
Photo: Burt Bacharach, left, and Hal David in 1993. Credit: Jeffrey Mayer