MUSIC CLIP - OSCAR PETERSON, “MOONGLOW”
Welcome to Afterglow, I’m your host, Mark Chilla.
The words of lyricist Hal David have been sung by countless pop stars over the years, from Frank Sinatra and Perry Como, to Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin. He’s one of the most prolific contributors to the American Songbook, penning over 700 songs. Hal David passed away in 2012, but this week marks what would have been his 100th birthday. So to honor him, we’ll be thumbing through the Hal David songbook, exploring his work alongside composer Burt Bacharach and others, as performed by classic jazz-pop singers like Nancy Wilson and Carmen McRae, and new jazz stars like Diana Krall and Kurt Elling.
It’s Magic Moments with Hal David, a centennial celebration, coming up next on Afterglow
MUSIC - STACEY KENT, “WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW”
Jazz singer Stacey Kent in 2003 with the Burt Bacharach and Hal David song “What The World Needs Now Is Love.” That comes from her album The Boy Next Door, an album devoted to the male singers and songwriters that she admires. In the case of this song, those males are Bacharach and David, since the original performer of this song in 1965 was female pop singer Jackie DeShannon, who turned it into a top ten hit.
MUSIC CLIP - JACKIE DESHANNON, “WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE”
Mark Chilla here on Afterglow. On this show, we’re exploring the songbook of songwriter Hal David. This week marks what would have been David’s 100th birthday.
Alongside his longtime musical partner Burt Bacharach, Hal David wrote the lyrics to some of the most memorable songs from the 1960s, including “Alfie,” "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head", "Walk On By", "I Say a Little Prayer", and so many more.
Hal David was born May 25, 1921 in Brooklyn. By the time Hal entered the music business in the 1950s, his older brother Mack David (nearly a decade his senior) was already an established songwriter. Mack’s credits included the lyrics to Duke Ellington’s “I’m Just A Lucky So-And-So”, the songs to the Disney film Cinderella, and the English lyrics to the French hit song “La Vie En Rose.”
Hal David’s first hit came in 1949, when he was employed by bandleader Sammy Kaye. He worked with composer Don Rodney to write the lyrics to the evocative song called “The Four Winds and The Seven Seas,” all about a wandering, brokenhearted man.
Here’s a version of that song from that same year. This is Mel Tormé with Hal David and Don Rodney’s “The Four Winds and The Seven Seas,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - MEL TORMÉ, “THE FOUR WINDS AND THE SEVEN SEAS”
Mel Tormé and Frank De Vol’s orchestra, with an early Capitol recording from 1949. That was Hal David and Don Rodney’s “The Four Winds And The Seven Seas.”
As Hal David entered the 1950s, he began to work with other composers, including Redd Evans, Sherman Edwards, and Frank Weldon, and his songs began to be picked up by various performers. Let’s hear two 1950s hits for Hal David, one sung by Frank Sinatra and one sung by Sarah Vaughan.
We’ll begin with the song “American Beauty Rose.” Sinatra had a minor hit with this song back in 1950, when he was recording for Columbia Records. But he had an even bigger hit with the song over a decade later on his final Capitol LP Come Swing With Me.
This is Frank Sinatra in 1951 with Hal David, Redd Evans, and Arthur Altman’s “American Beauty Rose,” on Afterglow
MUSIC - FRANK SINATRA, “AMERICAN BEAUTY ROSE”
MUSIC - SARAH VAUGHAN, “BROKEN-HEARTED MELODY”
Sarah Vaughan in 1959 with the Hal David and Sherman Edwards tune “Broken-Hearted Melody,” a top-ten Billboard hit for the singer. Before that, Frank Sinatra in 1961 with the Hal David, Redd Evans and Arthur Altman tune “American Beauty Rose.” That song also hit the pop charts, but not quite as high.
In 1957, Hal David met composer Burt Bacharach, and the two decided to partner, writing songs for the Famous Paramount Music Company, a publishing company headquartered in the Brill Building in midtown Manhattan. The two had hits right out of the gate, including with country crooner Marty Robbins and the song “The Story of My Life” and with Perry Como and the song “Magic Moments.”
These two songwriters—Bacharach and David—would form a permanent bond, and their songs would go on to define the elegant pop sound of the 1960s, earning Academy Awards, Grammys, and other accolades as well.
Let’s hear two Bacharach and David songs now, beginning with the title song from the 1966 film Alfie. This is jazz singer Carmen McRae that same year with Bacharach and David’s “Alfie,” on Afterglow
MUSIC - CARMEN MCRAE, “ALFIE”
MUSIC - RAY CHARLES, “I WAKE UP CRYING”
MUSIC - DIONNE WARWICK, “DON’T MAKE ME OVER”
The first Hal David and Burt Bacharach hit song performed by the one and only Dionne Warwick. That was “Don’t Make Me Over,” a top 40 hit in 1962. Before that, Ray Charles in 1964 with the Bacharach and David song “I Wake Up Crying.” And starting that set, another Bacharach and David song, “Alfie,” performed by jazz singer Carmen McRae in 1966.
Dionne Warwick was by far the most frequent performer of songs by Hal David and Burt Bacharach. She was the original artist (or the most popular artist) on more than 20 songs written by the duo, including such perennial favorites as “Wishin’ and Hopin’,” “Do You Know The Way To San Jose,” “Walk On By,” and “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again.”
However, other jazz and jazz-pop artists also tackled some Bacharach and David songs in the 1960s as well, including ones originally performed by Dionne Warwick. Let’s hear a few now.
First up, here is Ella Fitzgerald in 1969, with a Burt Bacharach and Hal David song originally written for their 1968 musical Promises, Promises. This is “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - ELLA FITZGERALD, “I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN”
MUSIC - NANCY WILSON, “RAINDROPS KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD”
Nancy Wilson in 1970 with “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head,” the Burt Bacharach and Hal David song from the Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. Before that, we heard Ella Fitzgerald in 1969 with the Bacharach and David song “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again.”
Coming up in just a moment we’ll hear more from the Hal David songbook, in honor of the songwriter’s centennial, including some more modern interpretations of his songs. Stay with us.
I’m Mark Chilla, and you’re listening to Afterglow
Welcome back to Afterglow, I’m Mark Chilla. We’ve been exploring the songbook of lyricist Hal David this week, in honor of what would have been the songwriter’s 100th birthday.
Let’s turn our attention now to some more modern jazz interpretations of his songs. Hal David and his songwriting partner Burt Bacharach became the kings of the sophisticated adult pop market in the 1960s. And ever since then, their songs were among the first to be included in the next generation of what might be called the American Songbook. Bacharach and David songs have been performed by dozens, if not hundreds of different artists over the years, including many jazz singers.
Since the early 2000s, jazz singer Diana Krall was among the first to reinterpret these pop standards in a jazz style. Let’s hear two of her interpretations now. First up, here is Diana Krall in 2001 with her interpretation of the 1967 Bacharach and David song “The Look Of Love,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - DIANA KRALL, “THE LOOK OF LOVE”
MUSIC - DIANA KRALL, “WALK ON BY”
Diana Krall in 2009 from her album Quiet Nights with the Hal David and Burt Bacharach tune “Walk On By.” That song was originally performed by Dionne Warwick back in 1963. Before that, we heard Diana Krall in 2001 with the title track of her album called “The Look Of Love.” That Bacharach and David song was originally performed by Dusty Springfield for the 1967 James Bond film Casino Royale.
Hal David and Burt Bacharach became one of the biggest successes to come out of New York City’s famed Brill Building, the location of many music publishing companies that created pop hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Other notable Brill Building songwriters included Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, and lots of other songwriters who helped define the 1960s American pop sound of artists like The Drifters, Frankie Valli, Leslie Gore, and The Shirelles.
In 2012, jazz singer Kurt Elling released an album paying tribute to the songwriters who came from this location called 1619 Broadway - The Brill Building Project. On the album, he recorded one of the most famous David and Bacharach songs. Let’s hear it now.
This is Kurt Elling in 2012 with “A House Is Not A Home,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - KURT ELLING, “A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME”
Kurt Elling from his 2012 album 1619 Broadway - The Brill Building Project with “A House Is Not A Home,” a song written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach in 1964, and originally performed by Dionne Warwick.
Songs are fickle things. While I’d love to believe in the “universality” of a great song, it doesn’t always work that way. Certainly some songs have the ability to communicate across generations, but songwriters themselves are still products of their times. Take the Burt Bacharach and Hal David song “Wives And Lovers,” a pretty overtly sexist song about how women must put in the work to keep their husbands interested. It’s not a good look for lyricist Hal David, a dark spot on his otherwise stellar 700+-song catalog—but to be fair, this song was written more as an assignment instead of a completely independent creative endeavor. Bacharach and David were given the task for writing a song about marriage infidelity called “Wives And Lovers,” for the promotion of the 1963 film all about marriage infidelity called Wives And Lovers. So they were boxed in… at least to a certain extent.
While the song was quite popular in the 1960s—it was a top 20 Billboard hit and even won singer Jack Jones a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance—the song feels especially out of place in the 21st century. However, many artists have sardonically highlighted the sexist nature of the song. It was featured in an episode of the TV show Mad Men for just that reason, and jazz singer Cecile McLorin Salvant gives an over-exaggerated performance of this song on her 2015 album For One To Love. To close off this hour, let’s hear that now.
This is Cecile McLorin Salvant with her sardonic interpretation of the quite dated 1963 Burt Bacharach and Hal David song “Wives And Lovers,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - CECILE MCLORIN SALVANT, “WIVES AND LOVERS”
A song that can only be performed today couched in layers of irony… that was Cecile McLorin Salvant in 2015 with the Burt Bacharach and Hal David song “Wives and Lovers.” That comes from her album For One To Love.
Thanks for tuning in to this celebration of the songs of Hal David on Afterglow.
Afterglow is part of the educational mission of Indiana University and produced by WFIU Public Radio in beautiful Bloomington, Indiana. The executive producer is John Bailey.
Playlists for this and other Afterglow programs are available on our website. That’s at indianapublicmedia.org/afterglow.
I’m Mark Chilla, and join me next week for our mix of Vocal Jazz and popular song from the Great American Songbook, here on Afterglow