After the last two days’ posts, I gravitated toward posting something by Burt Bacharach today. First, it was a track from Painted from Memory, his 1998 collaboration with Elvis Costello (which Sweety and I also listened to with our Brightman/Stewart/Lauper friends… we have been very tight with them for years, and after the husband’s passing remain close, and, heck, back in the day, we even had our own room in their farmhouse!). Some of Bacharach’s older works like his co-composition “That’s What Friends Are For,” famously covered by Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder and Elton John as a benefit for the American Foundation for AIDS Research, also came to mind. All good music, though none spoke to me in the way I was seeking today, like “What the World Needs Now Is Love” has.
Burt Bacharach and Hal David co-wrote today’s selection, in 1965. Jackie DeShannon first recorded it. Dionne Warwick recorded the song in 1966 (after, apparently, initially rejecting it), and re-recorded it in 2019 for her album, She’s Back. The video for that version is beautiful and relevant and is featured today.
“What the World Needs Now Is Love” is a song for our times, and for all time. In 1971, American disc jockey Tom Clay created a version of the song mixed with various elements: a child being asked the meaning of segregation, bigotry, hatred and prejudice, then Vietnam War sound bytes, and excerpts from speeches by John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy, and extracts of coverage of the Kennedy and Luther assassinations and funerals. When thinking about Bacharach and Warwick songs, my mind kept taking me back to a tune of Warwick’s with a child’s spoken word in it. I couldn’t recall it. But it found me anyway (in the Clay remix).
Tonight, I sit wondering what video clips would appear in a remix created today, given all the hatred, bigotry, prejudice and (in effect) segregation of minorities, either by the recent targeting of Asians in the COVID-19 pandemic, or the ongoing, differential treatment of people from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) communities throughout the world. And, how disease, poverty, illness and death disproportionately affect those communities; a fact given lip-service or simply disregarded by society’s so-called leaders.
We really do just need love. Sweet Love. “What the world needs now is love, sweet love / It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of” (Hal David, lyricist) More simple, wise and meaningful words have not been written about our living world.
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the official video for Dionne Warwick’s 2019 version of the song from her YouTube channel:
And, one non-official video/stills compilation to accompany the 1971 Clay remix. The events depicted, and the reactions of people (like the eulogizing, late former Senator Ted Kennedy at his assassinated brother Bobby’s funeral, a tragedy about which I remember watching coverage on TV at the time) are very moving. They should be a call to action for us all.