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What the World Needs Now is Love - Sung by Jackie DeShannon

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

Written by Hal David and composed by Burt Bacharach, What the World Needs Now is Love is an evergreen song that reminds us that at the end of the day, what truly matters is just simply, love. First recorded and popularized by none other than the Jackie DeShannon, this song has been performed live, and recorded by over 1000 different artists.

The song was written in the year 1965, when the Black Voting Rights movement was in full swing, Malcolm X was assassinated, Alabama troopers and civil rights demonstrators clashed, riots were breaking out in different parts of the United States, the Vietnam war was escalating, and there was mayhem and chaos everywhere. The song brought some solace to people in those troubled times.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No not just for some, but for everyone

The lyrics bring out the then-current situation of the U.S., when racism was widespread.

In the next stanza, DeShannon tells the creator of the universe that we don’t need another mountain, metaphorically referring to war and discrimination, as we have enough mountains and hillsides to climb and enough oceans and rivers to cross. Here, the singer tries to showcase how absurd these petty fights of ours are, over race and gender. She tries to bring forward how there are more pressing issues that need our attention. As humans, we still choose to discriminate on the basis of colour and sex, and create more mountains between us and those we think are “others”.

In the last but one stanza, the singer again tells God “we don’t need another meadow”, as we have enough corn fields and wheat fields, and enough sunbeams and moonbeams to shine. She tries to bring forward the importance of preserving the local culture and nature. Wars wreck not just lives, but the environment too. Through this song, the singer tries to make people understand how we should be happy with what we’ve got, or else we will never find true happiness, as we will keep running in a never-ending rat race, and hurt Mother Nature in the process.

The song ends with the chorus, reminding us that the grass will always be greener on the other side if you keep thinking that the grass on your side is just not green enough. So, love, and be loved and let love be. The song leaves a timeless message that reverberates through generations…


With a sharp tongue, and a flair for writing, Alisha Das is never afraid of expressing herself. Being an avid reader, she began writing at a very tender age, using it as an escape from her day-to-day life.)

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