Watch the Burt Bacharach and Hal David Gershwin Prize Concert at the White House live stream video on Weds. May 9, 2012 starting at 7:00 p.m. ET. The legend songwriting duo will be presented the The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song by President Barack Obama at the WH East Room. First Lady Michelle Obama will also attend. See it in real time below. Thereafter the transcript text and replay video will be posted. Full line-up of musical performers and additional details as well as the embedded live-feed video below after the jump.
UPDATE: Transcript is below.
UPDATE: Check back for video. Text is below.
Remarks by the President at “In Performance at the White House”
8:45 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening, everybody. Well, thank you all for joining us tonight to honor a legendary songwriting duo — Burt Bacharach and Hal David. (Applause.)
I want to start by thanking the outstanding artists who are here to pay tribute to Burt and Hal. They have just been extraordinary.
I’d also like to thank Dr. James Billington of the Library of Congress and the outstanding team of producers for their hand in making tonight’s wonderful evening possible. (Applause.)
And finally, I want to say a word about someone who is missing tonight. Even though Hal cannot be here with us, this celebration is for him. And we’re happy that his lovely wife Eunice David is here to receive his award — this award on his behalf.
The Gershwin Prize is named for one of the great American songwriting duos of all time. And it’s fitting that tonight’s award is being presented to another.
Burt and Hal first met at Famous Music in the Brill Building in New York. Burt had come a long way from his days of hoping to be a football player — (laughter) — as well as a musical career. And Hal had taken his word-smithing from the pages of New York newspapers to the frontlines of Big Band. Soon, the football player and the journalist started writing songs, and they struck gold in 1957 with Marty Robbins singing “The Story of My Life.”
What began as an occasional collaboration in the late ‘50s quickly became a partnership that produced dozens of Top 40 hits. There was even a span of 10 years during the 1960s and ‘70s when a week rarely went by without one of their songs being on the Billboard charts.
Burt and Hal racked up Grammys and Oscars and have been honored by numerous lifetime achievement awards. And today, more than 55 years after their first songs hit the airwaves, these guys have still got it. Alicia Keys and John Legend are recording their songs. Burt is appearing on American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. (Laughter.) And in 2004, Burt and Hal worked with Twista, Kanye West, and Jamie Foxx to get back to number one with a slow jam medley. So these guys can work with anybody. (Laughter.)
Like the Gershwin brothers, Burt and Hal have never been limited to one genre or even one generation. Burt once said that all he looks for in writing a good melody is, “to write something that I like.” Hal agreed, saying, “We just tried to write with as much integrity as we could.” Above all, they stayed true to themselves. And with an unmistakable authenticity, they captured the emotions of our daily lives — the good times, the bad times, and everything in between. They have lived their lives on their own terms, and they’ve taught Americans of all ages to embrace their individual stories, even as we move forward together.
So tonight, on behalf of a grateful nation, it is my privilege to present the nation’s highest prize for popular music to two kings of songwriting, Burt Bacharach and Hal David. (Applause.)
(The Gershwin Prize is awarded.)
Thank you, everybody. Please give it up for Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, Michael Feinstein, Rumer, Mike Myers, Sheléa, Diana Krall, Stevie Wonder, Arturo Sandoval, Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Eunice David, and the Gershwin family. (Applause.) I hope you all had a wonderful evening.
God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.)
8:57 P.M. EDT
The full concert program and award ceremony will be televised in the U.S. on PBS stations, on Weds, May 21, 2012 as “Burt Bacharach and Hal David: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize In Performance at the White House.” Subsequently full replay video is posted at the official In Performance at the White House Web site at PBS.org.
On Monday, May 9th, as part of their “In Performance at the White House” series, the President and First Lady will host a concert in the East Room honoring songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David, who will be awarded the 2012 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. President Obama will present the award as he did in 2010 and 2009, when the Library of Congress honored Sir Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, respectively. The program will include performances by Sheryl Crow, Michael Feinstein, Diana Krall, Lyle Lovett, Mike Myers, Rumer, Arturo Sandoval, Sheléa and Stevie Wonder.
The President’s remarks will be pooled press and the entire event will be streamed live on www.whitehouse.gov/live starting at 7:00 PM ET on May 9th.
On Monday, May 21st at 9:00 PM ET, the East Room concert will be broadcast on PBS stations nationwide as “Burt Bacharach & Hal David: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song In Performance at the White House” (check local listings). The program will also be broadcast at a later date via the American Forces Network to American service men and women and civilians at U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world.
This will be the first time the Gershwin Prize honor has been awarded to a songwriting team; Bacharach and David are a pianist and lyricist respectively. The Gershwin Prize commemorates George and Ira Gershwin, the legendary American songwriting team whose extensive manuscript collections reside in the Library of Congress. The prize is awarded to musicians whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwins.
The White House concert caps off two days of events celebrating the recipients of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. On Tuesday, May 8th at 7:00 PM ET, the Library of Congress will host an invitation-only concert at their Coolidge Auditorium in honor of Bacharach and David. The all-star tribute will include performances by Sheryl Crow, Diana Krall, Mike Myers, Lyle Lovett, Rumer and Stevie Wonder.
“Burt Bacharach & Hal David: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song In Performance at the White House” will be the ninth “In Performance at the White House” program hosted by the President and Mrs. Obama. Starting in February 2009, these events have honored the musical genius of Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney; celebrated Hispanic musical heritage during Hispanic Heritage Month; marked Black History Month with events featuring the music from the Civil Rights Movement, Motown and the Blues; spotlighted Broadway and the unique spirit of the American musical; and explored the rich roots of Country Music.
Watch an interview video below.
- In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues Live Stream Video: Feb. 21, 2012
- Country Music: In Performance at the White House Live Stream Video Nov. 21, 2011
- White House Evening of Poetry Live Stream Video May 11, 2011
- The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House Live Stream Video Feb. 24, 2011
- White House Dance Series: Tribute to Judith Jamison Performance Live Stream Video
- A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House Live Stream Video 7-19-10
- Paul McCartney Gershwin Prize Concert at the White House Video Live Stream 6-2-10
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