In a 1999 interview, David explained his success as a lyricist this way: "Try and tell a narrative. The songs should be like a little film, told in three or four minutes. Try to say things as simply as possible, which is probably the most difficult thing to do."
The writer, who lived in New York, often flew to Los Angeles, where he and Bacharach would hole up for a few weeks of intense songwriting. Sometimes they conferred by long-distance telephone; "I Say a Little Prayer" was written that way.
David would recall working on a song that seemed to go nowhere. They stuck it in a desk drawer and left it there for months.
"This was particularly disappointing to me. I had thought of the idea at least two years before showing it to Burt," David wrote in a brief essay on his Web site, www.haldavid.com. "I was stuck. I kept thinking of lines like, 'Lord, we don't need planes that fly higher or faster ...' and they all seemed wrong. Why, I didn't know. But the idea stayed with me.
"Then, one day, I thought of, 'Lord, we don't need another mountain,' and all at once I knew how the lyric should be written. Things like planes and trains and cars are man-made, and things like mountains and rivers and valleys are created by someone or something we call God. There was now a oneness of idea and language instead of a conflict. It had taken me two years to put my finger on it."
And so they had another smash: "What the World Needs Now is Love"
The hit-making team broke up after the 1973 musical remake of "Lost Horizon." They had devoted two years to the movie, only to see it scorned by critics and audiences alike. Bacharach became so depressed he sequestered himself in his vacation home and refused to work.
Bacharach and David sued each other and Warwick sued them both. The cases were settled out of court in 1979 and the three went their separate ways. They reconciled in 1992 for Warwick's recording of "Sunny Weather Lover."
David, meanwhile, went on to collaborate successfully with several other composers: John Barry with the title song of the James Bond film "Moonraker;" Albert Hammond with "To All the Girls I've Loved Before," which Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson sang as a duet; and Henry Mancini with "The Greatest Gift" in "The Return of the Pink Panther."
Born in New York City, David had attended public schools before studying journalism at New York University. He served in the Army during World War II, mostly as a member of an entertainment unit in the South Pacific. After the war, he worked as a copywriter at the New York Post, but music was his passion and he had written lyrics for Sammy Kaye, Guy Lombardo and other bandleaders before hooking up with Bacharach.
He married Anne Rauchman in 1947 and the couple had two sons.
AP National Writer Hillel Italie contributed from New York.