Does Hal David have any competition as king of Brill Building lyricists?

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Does Hal David have any competition as king of Brill Building lyricists?

Post by geoff85 »

There are alot of caveats to this question first off is whether or not Laura Nyro is included as a Brill Building songwriter and whether she would be considered a lyricist. I want to note if she is included then she is hands down the best songwriter/lyricist ever(not composer/arranger) in the Brill Building and maybe of all time. Yes over Lennon/Mccartney, Dylan,Mitchell, Simon/Garfunkel, Holland/Dozier, Bell/Creed, Gamble/Huff and likely any pair and tandem you can think of. I would dream and love to be corrected on that.

However if she is not included. I would examine Gerry Goffin as Hal's closest contemporary. Of all the Brill Building lyricist he probably is the closest to having a catalogue that matches the breadth and depth of Hal's. While much of his work can be seen as sapy songs that exploited teen angst they do have a timeless quality to them. He also wrote alot of his songs from the female perspective in a very believable way. Ironically alot of his songs written from a male perspective have struck me as slightly sadist when i dwelved more into his own life. Gerry's greatness as a lyricist in juxtaposition to Hal was encasing timeless platitudes in simpler songform. Where as Burt and Hal were so refined, sophisticated, and exquisite they might have lost a couple people along the trail.

Songs like Will you still love me tomorrow? Oh no not my Baby can almost feel cliche because its a universal lived experience. Is one night worth it(if you are a woman) if the next day you are just yesterdays news? Is listening to the logical advice and reasoning of friends and family that your guy(or girl) is not being faithful too painful to bear so you ignore it to protect your heart and live in delusion happily? Gerrys song really do sound like a kid experiencing heartbreak or inflicting it which is an element of the magic to his and Carole's songs where as Hal sometimes sounds like he is giving a 3rd person sophisticated analysis with all the nuance and complexities.

Having said all that is Hal still safe sitting atop his perch as the king lyricist of Brill?
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