Bacharach and David -- whose hit songs include "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," "Walk on By" and "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me" -- join previous Gershwin recipients Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney in receiving the honor for their lifetime achievement. The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is named for George and Ira Gershwin, brothers who wrote American songbook classics such as "I Got Rhythm," "But Not for Me" and "Embraceable You," as well as the opera "Porgy and Bess."
David, 90, was unable to travel to Washington for the presentation due to a recent stroke, The Washington Post reported. Bacharach, 83, was there to hear a roster of artists, including Wonder, Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, Michael Feinstein, Mike Myers and Diana Krall, perform some of their hits.
President Barack Obama presented the award to Bacharach and David's wife Eunice during the latest in a series of cultural events titled "In Performance at the White House."
"Even though Hal cannot be here with us, this celebration is for him," the president said.
"Burt and Hal racked up Grammys and Oscars and have been honored by numerous lifetime achievement awards," Obama said.
"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.' And in 2004, Burt and Hal worked with Twista, Kanye West, and Jamie Foxx to get back to No. 1 with a slow jam medley," the president said to laughter from the audience in the East Room. "So these guys can work with anybody."
"In Performance at the White House -- Burt Bacharach & Hal David: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song" is scheduled to air May 21 on PBS.