Jackie DeShannon is an enigma to me. On the basis of just a few hit singles she managed to gain a cult following that out matches her achievements in music. Jackie's discography is filled with rather campy albums and 45s, fleshed out with two songs that are unwilling to die. The syrupy "Put A Little Love In Your Heart" and the 45 I'm discussing in this blog entry. Though DeShannon may undoubtedly have more 45s that are worth while to seek out, it is commonly agreed on that "When You Walk In The Room" is her finest achievement in what you might call a rather eclectic career. Jackie DeShannon was born Sharon Lee Myers in '44 and had already cut a few sides under various names, such as Sherry Lee and Jackie Dee, before Eddie Cochran discovered her. He introduced her to Sharon Sheeley with whom Jackie would start writing hits with promising names as "Dum Dum". Needless to say many of those hits have long since been forgotten.
Jackie picked up on recording herself again when she was signed at Liberty records. Although her first 45, "Faded Love" from 1963, was a hit, her follow up singles barely scraped the charts. Among those 45s was "When You Walk In The Room", oddly enough first considered a throw away song destined to become a B-Side. I'm not sure what changed the minds of the powers that be at Liberty, but it was issued as the DJ side. Not that it helped much. Maybe the lines "I can feel a new expression on my face, I can feel a loin sensation taking place" proved just a bit to risky for US radio. In the UK the record was largely ignored as well, untill the Searchers picked it up and scored a massive hit with the song. Suddenly loin sensations were OK again (though some lyric versions suddenly mention its a glowing sensation). The Searchers' success with the song is undoubtedly what helped her land a gig, opening for the Beatles. The blond bombshell must have been able to charm her way through her career from there, writing songs with Jimmy Page and Randy Newman, appearing in teen movies with Bobby Vee, singing for Burt Bacharch, singing with Van Morrison and of course dating the King of R&R, Elvis! I somehow suspect that her fling with the King is what created, at least some of, the cult. Today Jackie is honored with hundreds of sites and messages boards on the web. This raving blond beauty has managed to gain quite a following that doesn't seem quite justified by the output of her career. Whatever it is, Jackie continuously manages to attract some of the top brass in the entertainment industry. Aside from Springsteen covering her song live some, Annia Lennox scored a huge hit with "Put A Little Love In Your Heart" and Tom Petty with "Needles and Pins".
"When You Walk In The Room" is available on The Very Best of Jackie DeShannon
Read the story of Jackie DeShannon here for more background.