Ever since June 1956 – when she released Baby Honey and I’m Crazy Darlin’ under the name of Sherry Lee on the Mar-Vel label – Jackie DeShannon (real name Sharon Myers) has been an artist to be reckoned with.
This Kentucky-born singer/songwriter is best-known in the UK for her chart successes Needles and Pins and When You Walk In The Room, which were both British 60s hits for The Searchers. These two songs were hits in the US for Jackie herself.
As a writer she scored hits with Brenda Lee (Dum Dum), The Carpenters (Boat To Sail), The Byrds (Don’t Doubt Yourself Babe), Marianne Faithfull (Come & Stay With Me) and The Searchers (When You Walk In The Room).
Growing up on a 500 acre Kentucky farm, DeShannon learned about music from her parents.
Her mother had her own radio show and both parents performed around the Mid-West. By the time the 1960s rolled around she was a blonde pop diva with a cool, seductive voice, and her talent as a songwriter was much in demand.
She was also a self-assured producer, manoeuvring – with some difficulty – through the male-dominated LA studio scene.
One of the best female vocalists of the 60s, Jackie recorded a wide range of songs herself, from such composers as Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono, Bobby Womack, Chip Taylor and early Carole Bayer Sager and Toni Wine.
She was one of the first to record a song by Jamie Robertson (The Weight), and she co-wrote Put A Little Love In My Heart with Jimmy Holiday and Randy Myers.
From sessions with Bacharach and David – who at that time were riding high with their string of hits for Dionne Warwick – What The World Needs Now charted up to Number Seven in the US, and was later used over the closing titles of the movie Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice (1969).
In addition to her musical career, Jackie acted in many US TV productions.
DeShannon returned to hit-making form in 1981 when she co-wrote Kim Carnes’s chart-topping Bette Davis Eyes.