Jackie DeShannon – my one true musical heroine! Incredibly enough, after almost 60 years in show business, she is still “unknown territory” to a lot of people…. Still not 70 years old (she will reach that age in August 2014), she is one of very few singers still working, who actually had a 78rpm record released. Of course, she started out very young; her first record, “Baby Honey” was recorded in 1956 (and credited to Sherry Lee!), and she also used the names Jackie Dee and Jacquie Shannon before settling on the name she still goes by today.

Sherry Lee or Jackie Dee - this late 1950s publicity photo makes her look like Barbie

Sherry Lee or Jackie Dee – this late 1950s publicity photo makes her look like Barbie

Looks can indeed be deceptive; Jackie’s earliest publicity photos shows a doll like beauty and indicates a sweet, young and kinda sugary girl singer. Not so! Jackies earliest records produced some really tough sounding rockabilly, and the voice that blares out of the speakers give you absolutely no hint about her tender young age…. This teenaged girl more than holds her own when compared to Brenda Lee, and she’s maybe the only real competitor to the stuff Wanda Jackson recorded around the same time.

Later on, in the 1960’s, Jackie looked more the folk singers of the day, with her straight blonde hair, her shy smile and all around sunny appearance. While no longer singing rockabilly at that point, her record covers still give no indication to what’s actually on the records. You’d expect some ethereal, folksy stuff – and what you get is one of the most soulful white singers, doing a wide range of material. A lot of she wrote herself, and she also had a very good idea about what songs to record, outside of her own material.

Jackie in the mid-60's

Jackie in the mid-60’s

Jackie DeShannon, the songwriter is maybe more famous than Jackie the singer. A lot of songs she wrote have been recorded by dozens of artists from the early 1960’s and they are still being recorded today. The most sucessful cover of a Jackie song is of course Kim Carnes’ version of “Bette Davis Eyes” – a song Jackie herself put out on her 1975 album “New Arrangement” in 1975. Six years later, Kim topped the charts for nine consecutive weeks with her “new arrangement” and the song is now regarded as a classic pop hit.

Jackie in 2011

Jackie in 2011

Jackie has made more than 20 solo albums, and they represent some of the finest music made in the 21st Century, covering a wide array of styles – and all of it impeccably performed by one of the greatest voices in the business. Jackie had a rather long gap in her album output too; between “Quick Touches” (1978) and “You Know Me” (2000), all she released was a few singles….

In a short while, I will take a closer look into the wondrous musical legacy of Jackie DeShannon, discussing in detail a lot of her albums. She is the kind of singer who is impossible not to like, she has something that will please everybody, she has an absolutely fabulous voice and you better be warned: Jackie DeShannon is addictive! One listen and you will be craving for a lot more!

Jackie invites you to listen to her - you will not regret it

Jackie invites you to listen to her – you will not regret it