Putting himself to the fullest possible use

Lyricist Hal David often seemed to be joined at the hip to composer Burt Bacharach, so when David passed away this weekend at ninety-one, I decided to hunt down a song with David’s words and somebody else’s melody.

Fortunately, there are plenty of good examples of such, and this one is among the best:

The melodist here is Sherman Edwards, who spent several years in the Brill Building writing stuff for Elvis before he got sick of the whole scheme — or of Colonel Tom Parker, perhaps — and dropped everything to create a Great American Musical. Edwards died in 1981, by which time his 1776 had long since acquired classic status.

As for Sarah Vaughan, she was never all that fond of “Broken Hearted Melody,” deeming it “corny” — but she was happy to sing it for the fans. And if we must have a Bacharach-David song here, let’s have this one:

My personal favorite, except when it’s this.


  1. Deborah »

    3 September 2012 · 9:35 pm

    The Shelby Lynne “Anyone Who Had a Heart” is poignant and lovely. I love how it floats along. I never heard it before, but I am always late to the party. Perversely, I can sorta hear Adele belting out this song. Which is probably wrong.

  2. CGHill »

    3 September 2012 · 10:33 pm

    “Anyone Who Had a Heart” is very tricky: it’s just this side of tearful, and this is not really Adele’s strong suit: she could get the accusative part (“Why won’t you?”), but I don’t think she can radiate the proper level of desperation without waxing angry, and this song stops just short of angry.

  3. Roger Green »

    4 September 2012 · 4:11 am

    I love Linda Ronstadt’s version of Anyone who had a heart.

    My favorite David song sans Bacharach is probably Johnny Get Angry, that bizarro version by k.d. lang.

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