The Library of Congress rolled out the red carpet on Tuesday to honor Burt Bacharach and Hal David with the 2012 Library of Congress
Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The prize commemorates George and Ira Gershwin, the legendary American songwriting team whose extensive collection resides in the Library of Congress.
The all-star tribute concert featured performances by Sheryl Crow, Michael Feinstein, Diana Krall, Mike Myers, Lyle Lovett, Rumer, Sheléa, Arturo Sandoval and Stevie Wonder.
Dionne Warwick’s performance of “What the World Needs Now is Love” had the crowd singing along. In 1965, Bacharach and David wrote the song but shelved it as a flop. David was stuck on what should come after the line, “No, not just for some, but for everyone.” Then, one day, he thought of, “Lord, we don’t need another mountain,” and all at once knew how the lyric should be written. It had taken him two years to get it right. Bacharach immediately came back to the table with the backing music. Still, the duo was disenchanted and put the song away again. A day came when they were short of songs for a recording session. This one was pulled and the rest, as they say, is history.
Perhaps taking away best-dressed honors was actor Myers, who peeled off his suit to reveal a sparkly Elvis Presley-like jumpsuit. If you’re familiar with the comedian’s “Austin Powers” movies, you’ll recall that Bacharach had cameos in all three and much of his music was an inspiration for them.
An emotional Bacharach said, “This is the whole conglomeration of my work that I’ve done. So it’s the best of all awards possible. I mean that with all my heart.”