‘Say a Little Prayer’ and ‘What the World Needs Now Is Love’ Lyricist Dies

Hal David, who wrote the words to dozens of classic feel-good songs over the years — including “What The World Needs Now Is Love,” “That’s What Friends Are For,” “Wishin’ and Hopin’,” and “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” — died today at 91 from complications related to a stroke. Most of David’s most popular lyrics were set to the music of frequent collaborator Burt Bacharach, and the two were awarded the Library of Congress’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song by President Obama, who praised them for “capturing the emotions of our daily lives — the good times, the bad times, and everything in between” with “unmistakable authenticity.” In 1999, David described his songwriting method to a reporter: “Try and tell a narrative. The songs should be like a little film, told in three or four minutes.” So, in tribute, we’ve posted what may very well be the best use of one of his songs (or any song) in a movie — the “Say a Little Prayer” scene from My Best Friend’s Wedding. “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” which was featured in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and won David and Bacharach an Oscar, is pretty good too. 

Lyricist Hal David Dies at 91