Of his approach to writing lyrics, David told Daily Variety in 1998: "I always looked for an emotional impact and I always looked to tell stories. I like a narrative quality. I look for simplicity as opposed to being simplistic."
The inspiration for "Don't Make Me Over" came from a comment Warwick made to the songwriters after she sang "Make It Easy on Yourself" on a demonstration record, only to see it recorded by Jerry Butler.
"She was very upset, thinking that she should have been the one to record it," David recalled in 1997 on National Public Radio. "And so she said, you know, 'Don't make me over' — I mean, let me record my own songs once you write them. And so we went into the studio and we wrote this song, 'Don't Make Me Over,' and recorded it with Dionne."
Don't make me over.
Now that I'd do anything for you.
Don't make me over.
Now that you know how I adore you.
Don't pick on the things I say, the things I do.
Just love me with all my faults, the way that I love you.
I'm begging you …
David's lyrics for the title song for "Alfie," the 1966 film starring Michael Caine as a self-centered womanizer in swinging London, were "a very poignant expression of the pathos of romance," Feinstein said, and "a big hit, to boot."
What's it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
or are we meant to be kind?
Music historian Paul Grein said the songwriters' "natural inclinations" made for an ideal partnership.
"Hal's lyrics were simple and direct and conversational; he would understate," Grein told The Times in 2011. "Without even being conscious about it, they balanced each other perfectly. Burt's melodies were complex and intricate. I think if Hal's lyrics had been fussy and complicated it might have been too much."
Their film work during the 1960s resulted in Academy Award nominations for the title songs "What's New, Pussycat?" and "Alfie" and for the song "The Look of Love" in "Casino Royale."