Cleffers Burt Bacharach and Hal David are the recipients of the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
The pop tunesmiths, who will be feted at an all-star tribute in Washington next spring, join past honorees Paul Simon (2007), Stevie Wonder (2009) and Paul McCartney (2010).
Prize acknowledges lifetime achievement in the popular song field, and pays tribute to the work of George and Ira Gershwin, whose manuscript collections are held by the LOC.
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said Bacharach and David have forged “one of the richest and most recognizable multi-generational playlists known to the world…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.”
Composer Bacharach, 83, and lyricist David, 90, began their careers in the ’50s for Famous Paramount Music in New York’s Brill Building. In their ’60s and ’70s heyday, their songs propelled the careers of such performers as Dionne Warwick, B.J. Thomas, Dusty Springfield, the Carpenters, Jackie DeShannon, Gene Pitney and Herb Alpert.
The team’s almost countless pop standards include “Walk On By,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” “What the World Needs Now is Love,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Close to You,” “Alfie” and “The Look of Love.” They also collaborated on the Broadway tuner “Promises, Promises” and the film musical adaptation of “Lost Horizon.” After a long hiatus, the pair briefly worked together again in the early ’90s.