DeShannon, Jackie (originally, Sharon Lee Myers)

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DeShannon, Jackie (originally, Sharon Lee Myers)

DeShannon, Jackie (originally, Sharon Lee Myers) , one of the most versatile artists in pop music who never got her full measure of success; b. Hazel, Ky, Aug. 21,1944. Sharon Lee Myers was performing rockabilly by the time she was 15 around her native Ky A year later, she migrated to L.A. and started recording for a series of small labels. Her first album was a cover of Ray Charles’s tunes so raw and gritty that her label wouldn’t release it. She also started getting known as a songwriter, creating or collaborating on hits for artists like Brenda Lee, the Kalin Twins, the Searchers, Mari-anne Faithfull, the Fleetwoods, and Irma Thomas. The Byrds covered her tune “Don’t Doubt Yourself, Babe.’

As a performer, ironically, DeShannon became best known for singing other people’s songs. Sonny Bono wrote “Needles and Pins” for her, soon a hit for the Searchers (as was her “When You Walk in the Room”). Her first hit was a cover of Burt Bacharach’s “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” which she took to #7 in 1965. She was one of the opening acts for The Beatles on their first major tour of the U.S.

Four years later, DeShannon had her second substantial hit, one of her own compositions this time. She took her tune “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” to gold status. It peaked at #4. She followed this with the #40 “Love Will Find a Way” several months later. That same year she was given a recurring role on the television show The Virginian.

Many of DeShannon’s songs became hits for other artists. Al Green and Annie Lennox did a version of “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” for the soundtrack to the movie Scrooged that went to #9. Her song “Bette Davis Eyes” became a chart-topping hit for another songwriter who did well with outside material, Kim Carnes. For her own albums, she recorded her own tunes and songs by the likes of Warren Zevon, Robbie Robertson, and Tim Hardin, and collaborated with folks like Randy Newman and Jack Nitzsche. She married successful soundtrack composer Randy Edelman.


Jackie DeShannon (1963); Surf Party (soundtrack; 1963); Breakin’ It Up on the Beatles Tour! (1964); This Is Jackie DeShannon (1965); In the Wind (1965); C’mon Let’s Live a Little (soundtrack; 1965); Are You Ready for This? (1966); New Image (1967); Here’s Jackie, You Won’t Forget Me (1965); For You (1967); What the World Needs Now Is Love (1968); Laurel Canyon (1968); Me about You (1968); Lonely Girl (1968); Put a Little Love in Your Heart (1969); To Be Free (1970); Songs (1971); Jackie (1972); Your Baby Is a Lady (1974); New Arrangement (1975); You’re the Only Dancer (1977); Sky High (1985); The Very Best of Jackie DeShannon (1988); Good As Gold! (1990); Trouble with Jackie Dee (1991); The Best of Jackie DeShannon (1991); What the World Needs Now (1992); What the World Needs Now…: The Definitive… (1994); You’re the Only Dancer/Quick Touches (1995); The Very Best of Jackie DeShannon… (1996).

—Hank Bordowitz

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DeShannon, Jackie (originally, Sharon Lee Myers)

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