Blog #90 What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love

Posted on : 20-06-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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Did you happen to catch Terri Gross’s interview today on Fresh Air (NPR) of Jackie DeShannon? (ttp:// Jackie will be inducted into the songwriters’ Hall of Fame this Thursday for her contribution to the music world. She opened for the Beatles on their first U.S. tour, wrote all kinds of songs and, yes, is the voice behind the famous Burt Bacharach and Hal David song from 1965 “What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love”. It is a very interesting interview. Aside from hearing all the incredible work that Jackie has done over the years, we have definitely come along way baby when it comes to female musicians and the freedom and respect they have now in arranging and producing their songs as compared to in Jackie’s day.

And then there’s that song.

It certainly never goes out of style. I mean, don’t you agree that what the world needs now is love sweet love? I remember learning how to sing that song (complete with hand gestures and body movements) when I was in fifth grade. Fifth grade was a huge year for me. For one thing, it was 1968 (3 years after the song’s origination) which was the year that Hemisphere came to San Antonio, Texas, it was the year my parents began putting their divorce into motion, it was the year before man walked on the moon but all of us kids were being introduced to Tang and really bad chocolate energy stick thingies that supposedly the astronauts were eating in up in orbit. It was the year that Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. It was the year of MLK’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech and his assassination as well. It was the year that the Vietnam war became real to me because my Dad had decided that he was going to go too (this was the year of the famous photo of the Vietnamese having his head blown off).

Singing that song in the choral group was really really hard for me because I felt so sad already and I felt like I had to not cry to help all the other people around me. Today I know that to cry and admit our pain can actually end up helping others to feel connected. I’m glad that today the song makes me happy to hear it and sing it. I can feel the power behind it. Music had such an impact on me back then (still does today!). I think that was the same year that the really famous coke jingle came out as well. And I was listening to all kinds of different music on my little transistor radio from “La la la la la means I love you” to “In a Gada Da Vida Baby”.

My great escapes back then was to listen to the radio and go get lost on the trails with my friends on our horses. I tried to run from the song and the love that I needed but I could never get far enough away from my mind. Not yet anyway.

Now I think of songs like “What the World Needs Now is Love” as liquid prayers. What I mean is that the notes contain concepts dense with meaning that are carried around through our hearts and past our minds out to the gods of our understanding to do with as we would believe them to be done. No more, no less. I wonder if perhaps when vestiges of the pain that a song conjures are still felt after the sound is long gone might not be a clue for us to explore the level of trust we have in something greater than ourselves to restore us (and certainly the world around us) to sanity.

I’m not convinced that we have enough mountains and wheat fields to last us till the end of time, certainly without us loving each other more. Maybe what we still really do need is love, sweet love. Sure does feel like there’s a lot at stake for us to do anything else but love.

Sing your songs of prayer. Supposedly each of us are born into the world with one beautiful sounding note which is uniquely our own. Wonder what kind of melody we could create with all of our notes together?