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Jackie Deshannon

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Jackie DeShannon

Jackie DeShannon

Walkin’ Down The Line
Blowin' In The Wind
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right

1963

In The Wind

In The Wind

Walkin’ Down The Line
Blowin' In The Wind
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right

1965

Songs

Songs

Lay, Baby, Lay

1972

Jackie Shannon's biggest break came when she opened for the Beatles on the group’s first U.S. tour in 1964, and with a band that included a young Ry Cooder, she more than held her own. That same year the Byrds covered her song “Don’t Doubt Yourself Babe” on their debut album for Columbia Records.

DeShannon moved briefly to England the next year in 1965, where she began writing songs with a pre-Led Zeppelin Jimmy Page, including “Don’t Turn Your Back on Me” and “Dream Boy.” Quickly becoming an A-list songwriter, DeShannon also penned “Come and Stay with Me” for Marianne Faithfull, who had a hit with it on both side of the Atlantic.
Moving to New York, DeShannon began writing songs with a pre-fame Randy Newman (“Did He Call Today Mama?” and “Hold Your Head High,” among others).

But DeShannon was tough to market and peg -- she was obviously young and beautiful but her natural intelligence made her seem out of place as a teen idol, and the singer/songwriter era -- which later made a similar artist, Carole King, a huge star -- was still a couple of years down the road. DeShannon was as much a writer as she was a performer, however, and she stayed creative and productive behind the scenes. In 1969 she returned to the pop charts with her own “Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” following it with the only slightly less successful “Love Will Find a Way.” DeShannon left New York and moved to Los Angeles, signing with Atlantic Records in 1970, but although her work for the label was critically acclaimed, fine albums like Jackie and Your Baby Is a Lady failed to find large audiences. She was well respected in the industry, though, and artists like Van Morrison, who had DeShannon provide backup vocals on his Hard Nose the Highway album in 1973, were eager to work with her.

But DeShannon didn’t exactly need house-to-house fame to make her career work -- she was an accomplished songwriter, and versions of her songs kept hitting the charts even if she wasn't singing them. “Bette Davis Eyes,” which DeShannon co-wrote with Donna Weiss, was a huge hit for Kim Carnes in 1981. “Break-A-Way,” originally covered by Irma Thomas in 1964, hit big in a version by Tracey Ullman in 1983. “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” charted again in 1989 in a duet version by Al Green and Annie Lennox, and then again in 1993 by Dolly Parton. Pam Tillis' rendition of “When You Walk in the Room” topped the country charts in 1994. In all, an impressive litany of artists has recorded versions of DeShannon songs, including Bruce Springsteen, Ella Fitzgerald, the Isley Brothers, Jim Croce, Steppenwolf, the Righteous Brothers, Karla Bonoff, Mahalia Jackson, Cher, the Carpenters, and Rita Coolidge, among many others. She returned in 2000 with a critically acclaimed comeback effort, You Know Me, but the album -- perhaps predictably -- failed to connect with a large audience. In 2010 she was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. DeShannon has been married since 1977 to writer and film composer Randy Edelman.

allmusicUnless otherwise noted the information was gathered from AMG.

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