Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jackie DeShannon: What the World Needs Now...Tuesday Journal #2

Yesterday, to my utter and pleasant surprise, Terry Gross of NPR's Fresh Air interviewed one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Jackie DeShannon.  Her interview comes as a lead-up to her induction into the Songwriter's Hall Of Fame this Thursday(Listen on this link)

In my youngest youth, I listened to her song "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" on the Top-10 Countdown every afternoon for weeks.  I loved the song, and it made me feel, in my naive and boyish way, the stirrings of an idealistic, even psychedelic, world view:

I had also heard her classic "What the World Needs Now (Is Love Sweet Love)", countless times, and never equated her as the same singer: for a while thought I was hearing Dionne Warwick.  No matter....the song came up later in my life, when I was finally old enough to see the film "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" (see my 1969 Oscar Series), and the use of that song during the sweetly ambiguous, Fellini-esque final "encounter" was unforgettable:

Even later, DeShannon co-wrote another haunting and playful tune, "Bette Davis Eyes", forever memorialized in raspy allure by Kim Carnes. De Shannon, along with co-writer Donna Weiss, won a 1982 Grammy for Song of the Year. 

So DeShannon was a big influence on my pop-musical tastes, and I am really happy she will receive a well-deserved recognition

Ironically, as we watch the ruin of the earth before our eyes, one of her lyrics  in "What the World needs Now" seems oddly quaint today; I never thought I would question the truth of it, nor stop taking it for granted:

"...there are mountains and hillsides enough to climb,
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross
Enough to last
'Til the end of time....."

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