Jackie DeShannon Biography

Sharon Lee Myers, 21 August 1944, Hazel, Kentucky, USA. This highly talented singer and songwriter was introduced to gospel, country and blues styles whilst still a child. She was actively performing by the age of 15 and, having travelled to Los Angeles, commenced a recording career in 1960 with a series of releases on minor labels. DeShannon’s collaborations with Sharon Sheeley resulted in several superior pop songs including ‘Dum Dum’ and ‘Heart In Hand’ for Brenda Lee and ‘Trouble’ for the Kalin Twins. DeShannon then forged equally fruitful partnerships with Jack Nitzsche and Randy Newman, the former of which spawned ‘When You Walk In The Room’, a 1964 smash for the Searchers. Resultant interest in the UK inspired several television appearances and DeShannon’s London sojourn was also marked by songwriting collaborations with Jimmy Page.

Despite a succession of excellent singles, DeShannon’s own recording career failed to achieve similar heights, although her work continued to be covered by Helen Shapiro, Marianne Faithfull, the Byrds and the Critters. DeShannon enjoyed a US Top 10 single with the Burt Bacharach / Hal David -penned ‘What The World Needs Now Is Love’ (1965), but her biggest hit came four years later when ‘Put A Little Love In Your Heart’ reached number 4 in the same chart. Although she continued to write and record superior pop, as evinced on Jackie and Your Baby Is A Lady, DeShannon was unable to sustain the same profile during the 70s and 80s. Her songs, however, continued to provide hits for others, notably ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ (Kim Carnes in 1981), ‘Breakaway’ (Tracey Ullman in 1983) and ‘Put A Little Love In Your Heart’ (Annie Lennox and Al Green in 1988). In September 2000 DeShannon released the anodyne You Know Me, her first new recording in over 20 years. Her position as one of the 60s leading pop composers remains undiminished, however.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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