What The World Needs Now Is Love – Jackie DeShannon
July 12, 2006
A few days ago, on July 6, I wrote about a sudden medical emergency I had that made me think I was having a heart attack! Although I fellt better after I calmed myself down with deep breathing and meditation, I decided to see a doctor. After several hours of tests, he determined that I didn’t have a heart attack or a stroke. He did say that whatever I used to calm me down worked…and asked for a copy of the technique that I used.
For the last few days, I’ve had a chance to rest and reflect on my life. I woke up this morning refreshed, did a deep meditation and turned on the news. The headlines shouted, “Terrorist Bombings in India…Israel attacks Lebanon…Wildfires sweep California, Arson suspected…Suicide bombings in Iraq!” I shook my head as the song “What the World Needs Now Is Love” started running through my mind. I turned off the TV, closed my eyes and went back to another time….
I first met Jackie DeShannon back in 1964, when she was on tour with The Beatles. We had talked on the phone a few times after I cut a couple of her songs with Joey Powers (for whom I had produced “Midnight Mary”) and we arranged to get together when she got to New York.
We hit it off immediately, with our mutual love of music, dancing and art museums. I was going to show her “My New York,” but she would up showing me hers. That world included after hour jam sessions in Greenwich Village with Dave Van Ronk, John Hammond Jr. and Tom Paxton.
My first (and only) single for Liberty Records, “Where Does A Rock and Roll Singer Go (When His Record’s Off The Charts)?” had just bombed out and I was discouraged with the music business in the States. Jackie suggested that I go to London (where I had just scored a top ten hit with “Queen For Tonight” by Helen Shapiro) in November, 1964, when she would be there promoting her latest single. Once again I was swept away to her galaxy, becoming friends with one of her co-writers, Jimmy Page, watching her perform on “Ready, Steady, Go!!” and going on several stops of the Beatles promo tour for “Beatles For Sale.”
Jackie and I never dated, but we hung out a lot, until a misunderstanding (too petty to remember) threatened our relationship and we hadn’t spoken in a month. Then, the day after I had open heart surgery (back in N.Y.), she called me from a recording studio to see how I was. She had the engineer play the backing track she was working on with Burt Bacharach and Hal David….and sang “What The World Needs Now Is Love” to me over the phone. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me….but I actually made medical history by walking around 36 hours after my operation!
Thanks to Peter Lerner and the Jackie DeShannon Society