The Library of Congress announced last week that composer Burt Bacharach and lyricist Hal David will receive the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the first time a songwriting team has been honored.
Bacharach was born in Kansas City; he lived here with his family until he was about four years old, when they moved to Queens borough of New York City.
Bacharach and David began collaborating in the mid-1950s. According the Library of Congress press release, their first copyrighted work was Peggy’s in the Pantry, dated May 9, 1956. Their first significant hit came in 1957 with The Story of My Life by Marty Robbins, which hit No. 1 on the country charts.
Their greatest success was with Dionne Warwick, for whom they wrote 38 charted singles. Together, they created some of the best pop music of the 1960s, including Don’t Make Me Over, Walk On By and I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.
About the Gershwin Prize
The prize commemorates the songwriting team of George and Ira Gershwin, and is awarded to musicians whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwins. The prize has previously been awarded to Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney.
According to the Library of Congress, Bacharach and David will be honored at an event in the spring of 2012.
Here’s two great examples of Bacharach’s work. The first is the first Bacharach/David release for Dionne Warwick in 1962:
Bacharach’s collaboration with Elvis Costello, Painted from Memory, is one of my favorite albums, and Toledo is one of my favorite songs from that album: