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Jackie DeShannon

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Jackie DeShannon


Jackie DeShannon is best remembered for two 1960s anthems: "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" and the Bacharach-David "What the World Needs Now Is Love." Her diverse talents and tastes not always easily marketable, the former Sharon Lee Myers of Hazel, Kentucky, has sometimes slipped through the cracks of public perception. Relatively few, for instance, are aware of her role in co-writing "Bette Davis Eyes," the huge early-'80s rocker that lifted Kim Carnes from journeyman status. Even less attention is paid to DeShannon's status as an early leader in what wasn't yet called folk-rock. Her "When You Walk in the Room" is a girl-group classic dense with 12-string guitar -- a sound that made the tune a natural for British beat group the Searchers, who had their own hit with the track. Around the time of her Bacharach triumphs (which also included the smaller hit "A Lifetime of Loneliness"), DeShannon also worked with then-session man Jimmy Page on some stellar hard pop records. She contributed "Don’t Doubt Yourself, Babe" to the Byrds' debut LP, and still later made a series of L.A. studio rock albums that are revered by many. In the '70s, DeShannon's output included a couple of image-remaking discs for Atlantic. She entered a brief but impressive creative pairing with Van Morrison that resulted not only in tracks issued under her name, but also in key contributions to his Hard Nose the Highway (1973). Since then, she's remained active, regularly issuing new material and even collaborating with the young garage-rock band the Detroit Cobras. An amazingly spirited creative force, Jackie DeShannon is in some ways still a discovery waiting to happen.
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