On this day in 1912, Songwriter Hall of Famer Mack David was born in New York City. A versatile lyricist and songwriter, David wrote in just about every conceivable style of popular music for film, TV, and Broadway. Whether you're a Disney fan or an avid movie/TV viewer ... you have heard his music.
Originally wanting to become an attorney, David attended Cornell University and then St. John's University Law School. But when his younger brother Hal showed interest in music as well, it was big brother Mack who advised him to take up a more stable career. But Mack failed to follow his own advice, and instead of following a career in law, began writing songs on Tin Pan Alley. (Hal David went on to have great success too as a lyricist writing many hits with songwriter Burt Bacharach.)
(Tin Pan Alley, a collection of New York City-centered music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the U.S. in the late 19th century and early 20th century, was originally a specific place at West 28th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue.)
In 1945, Mack wrote the words for Duke Ellington's "I'm Just A Lucky So-And-So," and in 1947, had a hit with a novelty tune "Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba," written with Jerry Livingston and Al Hoffman. The writing team of Livingston, Hoffman & David would continue into the 1960s with great success.
In 1948, David moved to Hollywood, where he became active in film and television. His songs were featured in the score for the Disney animated 1950 feature Cinderella, written with Livingston and Hoffman. These songs included "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes", "The Working Song", "So This is Love," and the film's hit song "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo" (which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1950). For Disney's 1951 feature Alice in Wonderland, the same team wrote "The Unbirthday Song."
The nomination for "Bibbidy Bobbidi Boo" was the first of eight Academy Award nominations David would receive and it catapulted his career. His feature film credits went on to include such classics as "The Hanging Tree" (written with Jerry Livingston from The Hanging Tree), "Bachelor in Paradise (written with the legendary Henry Mancini) from Bachelor in Paradise, and "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (written with Ernest Gold) from the classic comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
But Mack's music wasn't limited to just film, in 1961 the Shirelles had a hit with his song "Baby, It's You", written with Burt Bacharach (his brother's writing partner). "Baby, It's You" was covered a few years later by The Beatles.
Mack teamed up with Livingston throughout the 1960s and together they wrote for many successful television series, including Caspar the Friendly Ghost, 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Bourbon Street Beat and Surfside 6. Even their theme song “This is It” for 1960's The Bugs Bunny Hour became a hit!
After a long and successful career, Mack David was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1975. Sadly, he passed away on December 30, 1993 at his home in Rancho Mirage, California.
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