On May 8, The Library of Congress kicked off a series of events honoring Grammy- and Academy-Award-winning songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David, recipients of the 2012 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, culminating a special tribute delivered by President Barack Obama. The prize commemorates George and Ira Gershwin, the legendary American songwriting team whose extensive collection resides in the Library of Congress.
Events included two tribute concerts, one of which was held at the White House, where President Barack Obama formally presented the prize.
The White House program, which was taped by WETA Washington, D.C. as part of the "In Performance at the White House" series, will premiere on PBS stations nationwide tonight, May 21, 2012 at 9 p.m. EDT (check local listings) as "Burt Bacharach & Hal David: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song In Performance at the White House."
The concerts featured performances by major stars including Sheryl Crow, Michael Feinstein, Diana Krall, Mike Myers, Lyle Lovett, Rumer, Sheléa, Arturo Sandoval, Stevie Wonder and Dionne Warwick.
BroadwayWorld has just received preview clips of tonight's broadcast and brings them to you below! Click to watch Mike Myers, Sheryl Crow, Smokie Robinson and more honor the musical greats at the White House presentation and be sure to tune into PBS tonight for the full show.
The Gershwin Prize for Popular Song honors artists whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with George and Ira Gershwin, by bridging musical styles, bringing diverse listeners together, and fostering their mutual respect and appreciation. Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney.
David, 90, a lyricist, and Bacharach, 83, who wrote the music, first began collaborating in the 1950s at the Famous Paramount Music Co. in New York's storied Brill Building. Today, their songs continue to be recorded by such artists as Diana Krall, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Cyndi Lauper and the cast of the television show "Glee."
Their extensive catalogs can be tracked through their registrations with the U.S. Copyright Office, which is a part of the Library of Congress. The first Bacharach/David song recorded in the Copyright Office is "Peggy's in the Pantry," daTed May 9, 1956. Among their first big sellers were "The Story of My Life," which became a hit for Marty Robbins, and "Magic Moments," performed by Perry Como.
Between 1962 and 1972, their songs were almost continuously listed on Billboard Magazine's singles chart and they were almost as well-known as the singers they wrote for -- who included Dionne Warwick, B.J. Thomas, Dusty Springfield, The Carpenters, Tom Jones, Jackie DeShannon, Gene Pitney and Herb Alpert. Their work in that period included "Only Love Can Break a Heart," "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Make It Easy On Yourself," "Close to You," "A House is Not a Home," "There's Always Something There to Remind Me," "One Less Bell to Answer," and "This Guy's in Love With You," among many other songs. Movie-related songs they wrote together include "Alfie," "What's New Pussycat?," "The Look of Love," "After the Fox," and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." Scores of films have incorporated their songs, including "Forrest Gump," "Catch Me If You Can" and "The First Wives' Club."