The first time I ever sang in public was the summer of 1973. The song I picked was Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s The World Is A Circle from their musical version of Lost Horizon. How I got a hold of this song I have no idea, but I still have the sheet music as a reminder of the excitement of that first thrill of performance.
“The world is a circle without a beginning and nobody knows where it really ends.” So deceptively simple. David once said that the most difficult thing to do was to express words simply…economically. If you read this blog regularly, than you know is a lesson which I still struggle with myself!
I had the chance to meet David in 2003 and to welcome him to a luncheon in his honor with a short speech I wrote. In it I acknowledged that his words had helped to create the “soundtrack of our lives” and a “shared emotional vocabulary that connected us all, one to another.” He and his wife Eunice were lovely and gracious to me and I will never forget having the chance to give a few moments of pleasure to someone whose work has given me so much joy.
One of my favorite Bacharach/David songs is Be Aware. The song was written for Barbra Streisand in 1971 to perform on a Bacharach television special but is nearly forgotten today. Here is a demo version of Be Aware sung by the amazing Laura Nyro (herself no slouch in the songwriting department). Once again, the simplicity of this rendition, along with the written words, gives us a chance to truly appreciate the contribution Hal David’s lyrics made to a song. Simply put: the world is a better place because of his songs. Enjoy this lovely video made by denknee and posted on YouTube!