David was born in New York City, a son of Austrian Jewish immigrants Lina (née Goldberg) and Gedalier David, who owned a delicatessen in Brooklyn, and younger brother of American lyricist and songwriter Mack David. He is credited with popular music lyrics, beginning in the 1940s with material written for bandleader Sammy Kaye and for Guy Lombardo. He worked with Morty Nevins of The Three Suns on four songs for the feature film Two Gals and a Guy (1951), starring Janis Paige and Robert Alda.
In 1957, David met composer Burt Bacharach at Famous Music in the Brill Building in New York. The two teamed up and wrote their first hit “The Story of My Life”, recorded by Marty Robbins in 1957. Subsequently, in the 1960s and early 1970s Bacharach and David wrote some of the most enduring songs in American popular music, many for Dionne Warwick but also for The Carpenters, Dusty Springfield, B. J. Thomas, Gene Pitney, Tom Jones, Jackie DeShannon and others. In the UK a version of “The Story of My Life” recorded by Michael Holliday reached #1 in 1958 before being replaced by Perry Como’s “Magic Moments”, the first time any songwriter had consecutive #1 hits in the UK charts.
Bacharach and David hits included “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”, “This Guy’s in Love with You”, “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose”, “Walk On By”, “What the World Needs Now Is Love”, “I Say a Little Prayer”, “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me”, “One Less Bell to Answer”, and “Anyone Who Had a Heart”. The duo’s film work includes the Oscar-nominated title songs for “What’s New Pussycat?” and “Alfie”, “The Look of Love”, from Casino Royale; and the Oscar-winning “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In addition, “Don’t Make Me Over”, “(They Long to Be) Close to You”, and “Walk On By” have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
David’s work with other composers includes Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias’s “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before”, with Albert Hammond; Sarah Vaughan’s “Broken Hearted Melody”, with Sherman Edwards; the 1962 Joanie Sommers hit “Johnny Get Angry” also with Edwards. With Paul Hampton, David co-wrote the country standard “Sea of Heartbreak”, a hit for Don Gibson and others.
David contributed lyrics to three James Bond film themes: in addition to “The Look of Love” from Casino Royale with Bacharach, he wrote “We Have All the Time in the World”, with John Barry and sung by Louis Armstrong for the 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and in 1979, “Moonraker”, also with Barry, sung by Bond regular Shirley Bassey for the film of the same name. David and Bacharach were awarded the 2011 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song bestowed by the Library of Congress, the first time a songwriting team was given the honor. David was recuperating from a recent illness and was unable to attend the Washington D.C. presentation ceremony in May 2012. David died in the morning hours of September 1, 2012, of a stroke. He was 91.
- May, 25, 1921
- New York, New York
- September, 01, 2012
- Los Angeles, California