Born Sharon Lee Myers in Hazel, Kentucky, "Jackie" was one of the first female singer-songwriters of the rock 'n' roll period. She took the name Jackie DeShannon, believing it was the name of an Irish ancestor since her record label thought her birth name was too bland.
In a Fresh Air interview on June 14, 2010, Jackie said she told the label executives she chose "Jackie" as a cross gender name, since as she had a low voice she could be heard as either male or female, and as a male she was more attractive and more likely to sell to the mostly females who bought records at that time. When she found the initial name Jackie Dee was too similar to Brenda Lee, Sandra Dee, et al, she changed it to Jackie Dee Shannon but settled on DeShannon since it was simpler.
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In March 1965, DeShannon recorded Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "What the World Needs Now Is Love," which went to #7 on the U.S. pop charts. DeShannon continued writing and recording but it was not until 1969 that she scored her next biggest smash single and album, both entitled "Put a Little Love in Your Heart." The single sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold record.
In 2010, Jackie was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.