‘What The World Needs Now Is Love’ – Jackie DeShannon

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When Lyricist Hal David and Co-songwriter Burt Bacharach wrote the song “What the World Needs Now Is Love”, they couldn’t have imagined its glorious future.

While the song was first recorded and made popular by Jackie DeShannon in 1965, its humble beginnings were lined with rejection and uncertainty.

The subtext for David’s lyrics referred to the controversy and disagreements among Americans about the Vietnam War at the time. With this in mind, both writers didn’t expect much success from the song.

Jackie DeShannon

And later when the song was offered to singer Dionne Warwick, she turned it down for being ‘too country’ and ‘too preachy’ for her taste.

Singer Gene Pitney also rejected the song. And even Bacharach himself confessed to not believing in it.

He was so doubtful that he was initially reluctant to play it for DeShannon – who was possibly destined to sing it to greatness.

Jackie DeShannon was one of the first female singer-songwriters of the rock and roll era. She is well-known as a singer, composer, and radio broadcaster.

DeShannon started her walk to fame at the young age of 6 when she started singing country tunes on a local radio show.

She was 11 when she hosted her first radio show and by 13 years old DeShannon was featured in the local newspaper for her vocal talents and personal appearances at events.

Jackie DeShannon

Jackie’s eventful career includes a string of hit songs from the 1960s till date.

Her version of the song “What the World Needs Now Is Love” led to club tours and regular television appearances. The song quickly soared to No. 7 on the US charts and No. 1 in Canada.

Her recording of the song was also used in the 1969 film Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.

And now in 2023, DeShannon’s  “What the World Needs Now Is Love” has been selected by the U.S. Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry.

This selection comes after reviewing more than 1000 titles nominated by the public.

The Library of Congress makes its annual selection of 25 distinguished song titles based on the premise that they are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

And when Librarian Carla Hayden named the 25 recordings, she added that they were audio treasures “preserving our history through recorded sound and reflecting the nation’s diverse culture.”

DeShannon’s  “What the World Needs Now Is Love “forever reflects the depths and breadth of human struggles and triumphs. It evokes feelings of hope for a fractured world. The timeless piece continues to touch hearts.

Other songs celebrated and inducted alongside DeShannon’s include “Imagine” by John Lennon, “Sweet Dreams” by The Eurythmics, and “Ode to Billy Joe” by Bobbie Gentry.

Jackie has recorded several other milestones such as topping the Billboard charts, a Grammy award, and getting inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.

Her other hit songs include “When You Walk in the Room,” “Needles and Pins,” “The Weight” and her million-seller “Put A Little Love in Your Heart,”.

Still a beacon of inspiration, DeShannon now serves as an entertainment broadcast correspondent.

Read more from I On The Scene: HERE

About Suzanne Tripaldi

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