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Songwriter Hal David, Bacharach partner, dies

Hal David, the renowned pop music lyricist whose prolific collaboration with composer Burt Bacharach produced a wealth of enduringly memorable hits in the 1960s and early '70s, including "Walk on By," "What the World Needs Now Is Love" and "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," died Saturdayin Los Angeles. He was 91.

David died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of complications from a stroke, his wife, Eunice, said.

Born in Brooklyn, David wrote a number of hit songs with other collaborators before teaming with Bacharach in 1956. They scored their first hit together in 1957 with Marty Robbins' recording of "The Story of My Life," which was followed by a 1958 hit for Perry Como, "Magic Moments."

The songwriters continued to collaborate with others over the next few years but began an exclusive partnership after discovering their "magical interpreter," as David once described her: a young backup singer named Dionne Warwick.

In 1962, Warwick recorded their song "Don't Make Me Over," which became her first hit single. Her long string of pop classic hits by David and Bacharach includes "Walk on By," "Alfie," "Reach out for Me," "Message to Michael," "Trains and Boats and Planes," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Do You Know the Way to San Jose" and "I'll Never Fall in Love Again."

David and Bacharach won an Oscar for "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," from the movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," Grammys and Tonys for the songs from the hit Broadway musical "Promises, Promises."

In a 1999 interview with The Associated Press, David explained his success as a this way: "Try and tell a narrative. The songs should be like a little film, told in three or four minutes. Try to say things as simply as possible, which is probably the most difficult thing to do."

David, who lived in Roslyn, often flew to Los Angeles, where he and Bacharach would hole up for a few weeks of intense songwriting. Other times, Bacharach flew to New York and they'd meet in Manhattan. Sometimes they conferred by long-distance telephone; "I Say a Little Prayer" was written that way.

They went their separate ways in the early 1970s. David went on to collaborate with other composers, including Albert Hammond, with whom he wrote "To All the Girls I've Loved Before."

In May, David and Bacharach were honored by President Obama as "two kings of songwriting" and were presented the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the nation's highest prize for popular music. With AP

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