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Last modified 6/18/17

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What the World Needs Now--Burt Bacharach

Composed in 1965 by Burt Bacharach with lyrics by his longtime collaborator Hal David, What the World Needs Now Is Love became a hit for Jackie DeShannon, the first artist to record it.

David later said, “We showed the song to Dionne Warwick, who had recorded many of our songs, and it is the only song of ours that she ever turned down”.  Bacharach then added, “Hal pushed me to play it for Jackie DeShannon, who we were gonna record. Otherwise I would have let it be and it would still be in the drawer.  Once I heard Jackie sing four bars of it, I thought 'this is great.'  Jackie had such a great voice.”

Released on the Imperial record label, the song peaked at number seven on the US Hot 100 charts in July of 1965.  In Canada, the song was a No. 1 hit.

Due to the song's popularity, Ms. Warwick eventually recorded it the following year for her album, Here Where There is Love.  Since then, it has been recorded or performed live by over 100 artists, including The Supremes, who recorded it for their 1968 album, Reflections.

Following the shooting of Robert F. Kennedy in June 1968, the Jackie DeShannon version was played continuously on several Los Angeles radio stations as a vigil. This even continued for a few days after his death.

Ms. DeShannon's recording of the song has also been used in several films, including Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969) and Forrest Gump (1994).


What the World Needs Now is Love

20WhatTheWorldNeedsNow (1).mp3