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Legendary Songwriter Hal David Dies at 91

Posted Sunday September 2, 2012 4:11 PM GMT

Leaving behind a great legend, Hal David died at the age of 91 on Saturday (September 1) after compilations following a stroke.

The songwriter’s accolades include a Grammy, Oscar, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Tony nomination, chairmanship of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame and presidency of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) from 1980-86.

In his own words, David explained his mission on his website writing:

“In writing I search for believability, simplicity, and emotional impact. Believability is the easiest of the three to accomplish. One thing a lyricist must learn is not to fall in love with his own lines. Once you learn that, you can walk away from the lyric and look at it with a reasonable degree of objectivity. Often I discard a good line because it is inconsistent with the basic idea. If the line happens to be witty or sad in a particularly fresh way it hurts me to take it out. But that's part of the pain of writing.

Simplicity is much harder to achieve. It is easy to be simple and bad. Being simple and good is very difficult. The sophisticated Cole Porter, the earthy Irving Berlin, the poetic Oscar Hammerstein, and the witty Lorenz Hart all have one thing in common - simplicity, the kind that is good. I must also mention a special favorite of mine, Johnny Mercer. Whether he is being poetic or humorous, he is never complicated. I seek this elusive thing called simplicity always. I hope I sometimes achieve it.

Above all, I try to create an emotion to which others can respond. Unless I can create an emotion to which I can respond, I throw the lyric away. Although I cannot know how others will react, I assume that if it moves me it may do the same for them. Sometimes I am right, sometimes I am wrong.”

Possibly one of his most famous hits was “What the World Needs Now.” He will be truly missed in the world of entertainment.

Photo Credit: Getty Images