Bacharach-David Award Draws Wonder, Krall, Lovett, Crow

Gershwin Prize
Burt Bacharach, the recipient of the 2012 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Photo: Library of Congress via Bloomberg

Dionne Warwick performed “What the World Needs Now Is Love” last night at the Library of Congress.

The crowd, which included Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, sang along.

The song’s composer/lyricist team, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, were honored with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song during a dinner and concert that featured Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder, Lyle Lovett and Diana Krall. Crow and Lovett sang a duet on “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.”

During his rendition of “What’s New Pussycat,” comedian Mike Myers peeled off his suit to reveal a sparkly Elvis Presley-like outfit. Afterward, he grew somber recalling how much his late father enjoyed Bacharach and David’s songs.

Bacharach, 83, said the prize was “the best of all awards,” adding that he accepted it “with a heavy heart” as his long-time collaborator, who is 90, was too ill to attend.

The prize was established in 2007 to continue the spirit of Ira and George Gershwin by supporting musical and literary projects. Previous winners include Wonder, Paul Simon and Paul McCartney.

“It’s Gershwin, so it wouldn’t be rap music,” said Senator Pat Roberts, the Kansas Republican, explaining why he attended the event with his daughter and wife. “I’d rather go to the dentist than listen to rap music.”

Ornate Ceiling

Senator Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat and an avid photographer, took shots of the ornate ceiling in the library’s Thomas Jefferson Building and regaled guests with stories about how Vermonters helped build it.

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle caught up with his one-time fundraiser Melissa Maxfield, now the senior vice president for congressional and federal government affairs for Comcast Corp., while Napolitano chatted with Italian ambassador Claudio Bisogniero.

Paul Pelosi, the investor husband of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat, said he didn’t mind that the popular Bacharach-David hit “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” was left off the program, because as a San Franciscan, he never cared for the song.

(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

Today’s Muse highlights include: Martin Gayford on London art, Ryan Sutton on food.

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