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Obama honors Burt Bacharach, Hal David with Gershwin Prize

May 11, 2012|By Jamie Wetherbe
(Getty )

President Obama honored songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song during a tuneful and starry night at the White House.

The duo are the Grammy- and Oscar-winning musical minds behind such hits as "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," and "Always Something There to Remind Me,” as well as the Broadway musical "Promises Promises.” On the West Coast, Bacharach's musical "Some Lovers" about couples haunted by past relationships premiered last year at San Diego's Old Globe.

Wednesday's invitation-only show featured Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, Michael Feinstein, Diana Krall, trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and former Gershwin recipient Stevie Wonder, who played the duo's "Alfie" on harmonica and a reggae rendition of "Make It Easy on Yourself."

Comedian Mike Myers performed "What's New Pussycat" while stripping down from his tux to a rhinestone-studded suit. (Bacharach made cameos in Myers’ three Austin Powers flicks.)

PBS will broadcast the concert on May 21 for the series "In Performance at the White House."

Bacharach, 83, accepted the award from Obama. David, 90, did not attend; he is recovering from a recent stroke.

The Library of Congress prize commemorates George and Ira Gershwin, the legendary American songwriting team. Past recipients of the award, established in 2007, include Paul Simon and Paul McCartney.

Bacharach told the Associated Press he requested that the president offer another serenade of Dionne Warwick's "Walk on By." The few bars Obama sang at a recent rally went viral on YouTube.

"Nothing would make me happier because the guy can really sing," Bacharach said.

While the president declined the offer, at least on stage, Warwick performed "What the World Needs Now," a song she initially turned down and later recorded for her album "Here Where There Is Love."


Songwriter: Hal David

Theater review: 'Some Lovers' at the Old Globe

Burt Bacharach prepares for 'Some Lovers,' his first stage musical in four decades

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