Synopsis of Pop Music
"Think of your fellow man,
Lending a helping hand,
Put a little love in your heart..."
You’ve probably heard Jackie DeShannon before, even if you don’t know her work by name. This exceptionally gifted pop singer and writer has had her songs recorded by artists as diverse as Brenda Lee, Al Green, Kim Carnes and the Byrds. The wide range of talent that has covered her songs is a testament to her unique ability to combine many different styles of music into stylish yet meaningful pop songs that stand the test of time. She is also blessed with a rich, soulful voice that helped propel many of these classic songs into chart success during the mid-to-late 1960’s.
Jackie DeShannon was born in Kentucky and grew up listening to all kinds of music, including everything from country to blues to folk music. She developed a knack for recreating the many sounds she heard and was performing professionally by the age of 15. The next year, she moved to Los Angeles and began a career as a recording artist. She also began writing songs and used this skill to supplement her income by penning hits for other artists. In collaboration with fellow songwriter Sharon Sheeley, DeShannon penned hits for the likes of Brenda Lee (“Heart In Hand”) and The Kalin Twins (“Trouble”).
In 1964, Jackie DeShannon struck gold as a songwriter once again when she teamed up with Randy Newman on “When You Walk In The Room.” The song became a big hit for the Searchers, thanks in part to its pioneering combination of pop hooks with a jangly guitar sound derived from folk music. DeShannon also recorded her own version, which helped pave the way for folk-rock hitmakers like the Byrds. Fittingly, the Byrds acknowledged their debt to DeShannon’s style by covering her song “Don’t Doubt Yourself Babe” on their debut album.
Jackie DeShannon’s career as a vocalist also began to take off in the mid-1960’s. Ironically, she scored her first big hit with someone else’s song: Her #7 smash “What the World Needs Now is Love” was penned by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Just the same, she made this soulful song all her own with a heartfelt vocal performance that made the song’s plea for more love in this world all the more poignant. This hit led DeShannon to focus on her own career as a vocalist, putting out a string of stylish pop albums during the mid-to-late 1960’s. Each had plenty of her songs, but she also made room for the work of rising young songwriters like Warren Zevon, Jack Nitzche, Sonny Bono and Randy Newman on these albums.
In 1969, Jackie DeShannon scored a Top-5 hit with her self-penned classic “Put A Little Love In Your Heart.” This plea for universal love infused its slickly-crafted melody with the open-hearted warmth of DeShannon’s soulful vocal delivery to create a soft-rock classic. As the 1970’s began, DeShannon’s style shifted into the intimate singer/songwriter style popularized by performers like Carole King. These albums were full of well-crafted pop gems like the sultry “Bette Davis Eyes,” which would later become a #1 hit for Kim Carnes in 1981.
Jackie DeShannon’s songs continued to provide pop artists with hits throughout the 1980’s: Tracey Ullman scored in 1983 with the frenetic pop of “Breakaway,” and Annie Lennox and Al Green enjoyed pop-chart success in 1988 with a soulful duet on “Put A Little Love In Your Heart.” Meanwhile, Jackie DeShannon continues to write and record new songs. Most recently, she has released the album You Know. Its combination of stately pop songs and DeShannon’s warm delivery prove that her gifts as a singer and songwriter are still as golden as ever.
Artist Release History07/63 - Jackie DeShannon
12/63 - Surf Party Soundtrack
10/64 - Breakin’ It Up On The Beatles Tour
08/65 - This Is Jackie DeShannon
09/65 - In The Wind
11/65 - C’Mon, Let’s Live A Little Soundtrack
09/66 - Are You Ready For This?
05/67 - New Image
09/67 - For You
03/68 - Me About You
08/68 - What The World Needs Now Is Love
10/68 - Laurel Canyon
09/69 - Put A Little Love In Your Heart
03/70 - To Be Free
06/71 - Songs
06/72 - Jackie
07/74 - Your Baby Is A Lady
09/75 - New Arrangement
09/77 - You’re The Only Dancer
1985 - Sky High
02/91 - The Best of Jackie DeShannon
07/94 - What The World Needs Now…: The Definitive Collection
06/96 - The Very Best Of Jackie DeShannon
07/00 - Best Of Jackie DeShannon: 1950-1980: Come And Get Me
09/00 - You Know Me