Jackie DeShannon had some success as a singer and a great deal of success as a songwriter in her long career in the pop music business.
She was born Sharon Myers in Hazel, Kentucky in 1944. She performed on local radio as early as age six. She recorded on the Glenn label, as Sherry Lee Meyers, in 1959. The promising singer/songwriter moved to Chicago, then to Los Angeles in 1960.
Jackie met with success early on as a songwriter on the West Coast in the 60's. Some of her compositions were recorded by artists such as Brenda Lee (Dum Dum) and the Kalin Twins. She worked as a performer with some groups, notably the Nighthawks and the Nomads. In 1964 she toured with the Beatles for 26 concert dates. Her big breakthrough came in 1965 when she recorded a Burt Bacharach song on the Imperial label, What The World Needs Now Is Love, and it went straight to the top ten. She was in demand as a songwriter. The Searchers had a hit with what some regard as one of the best songs Jackie ever wrote, When You Walk In The Room, as did the Byrds with her Don't Doubt Yourself Babe.
Jackie DeShannon became a prolific songwriter, often collaborating with other prominent songwriters of the day including Randy Newman, Jimmy Page, and her friend Sharon Sheeley. She appeared in a number of films, including C'mon Let's Live a Little, Surf Party, and Hide And Seek. In 1969 she released her second top ten hit Put A Little Love In Your Heart. It was to be her biggest hit ever as a performer. Her third and last top forty hit was Love Will Find A Way later the same year.
Jackie continued to work in the music business in the ensuing years. She worked with Van Morrison and did the background vocals on his 1973 album Hard Nose The Highway. She released more than twenty albums of her own. Over the years, Jackie has written or co-written over 500 songs. She married composer Randy Edelman, who has written the score for such films as Ghostbusters II, Kindergarten Cop, and Twins. In 1981 Kim Carnes took Bette Davis Eyes to number one, a song that Jackie had written with Donna Weiss.
Jackie DeShannon is a talented performer who probably did not get the recognition she deserved as a performer, but her many talents as a songwriter are evident in the body of work that she has produced over the years.
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