Hal David (left) with Burt Bacharach in 2010. (Photo: Joseph Marzullo / WENN.com)
Hal David was the lyric-writing partner of Burt Bacharach. The pair never quite ruled pop music but they had hit after hit in a rare vein of light sophistication. (“We were really running parallel to rock ‘n roll,” is how David aptly put it.) The set list is long: Walk on By, Close to You, What The World Needs Now Is Love, Alfie and dozens more.
What blows any writer’s mind about Hal David is how short he kept his words. He rarely went to three or even two syllables, and that ain’t easy. Dig the first lines of some of his big hits:
Do you know the way to San Jose?I’ve been away so long, I may go wrong and lose my way.Do you know the way to San Jose?I’m going back to find some peace of mind in San Jose.
The look of loveIs in your eyesA look your smile can’t disguiseThe look of loveIs saying so much moreThan just words could ever sayAnd what my heart has heardWell it takes my breath away
Now on to Walk On By:
If you see me walking down the streetAnd I start to cry each time we meetWalk on by, walk on byMake believeThat you don’t see the tearsJust let me grieveIn private ’cause each time I see youI break down and cryAnd walk on byAnd walk on by
What the world needs nowIs love, sweet loveIt’s the only thing that there’s just too little ofWhat the world needs nowIs love, sweet loveNo, not just for some but for everyone