Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Your recent recap of all the Beatles live shows brought back fond memories for me.

In the summer of 1964, I was lucky enough to see the Beatles in concert. I say see, but not hear, since all the screaming pretty much drowned them out.

One of the opening acts was a pretty young blond singer whose name might be Shannon, but whether that's a first or last name I don't know.

What I do remember after 45 years is how she sang some Buddy Holly songs, but added the same kind of “wooooo” that the Beatles practically turned into a trademark.

Can you supply the details that my brain has seen fit to discard?
—Marsha Collingwood, Terre Haute, Ind.

DEAR MARSHA: First, here is one morsel of information you might want, in case your ticket stub got tossed:

Assuming you watched (not heard) the Beatles in the area where you now live, then the date you and about 8,000 others crammed into Indiana State Fair Coliseum (Indianapolis), is September 3, 1964. That building is now named the Pepsi Coliseum.

Opening for the Beatles that summer — their first American tour — were the Righteous Brothers; Bill Black's Combo; the Exciters; and that “pretty young blond,” singer-songwriter Jackie De Shannon.

An admitted Buddy Holly fan, he inspired Jackie's first Liberty single, appropriately titled “Buddy” (Liberty 55148).

Dozens of tribute recordings exist to Holly, as well as the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens, but what sets Jackie De Shannon's record apart is it came out in August 1958, over five months before the February 3, 1959 plane crash, in which those three stars and their pilot (Roger Peterson) perished.

In early 1964, Liberty issued Jackie's versions of two Buddy Holly classics on a single: “Oh Boy” and “I'm Looking for Someone to Love” (F-55678). It is “Oh Boy” where she does a few marvelous McCartneyish “wooooos,” as he does in “She Loves You.”

With Jackie doing two shows a day in front of huge crowds in sold-out venues, Liberty jumped on the bandwagon by gathering a dozen of her earlier tracks and packaging them in an album titled “Breakin' It Up on the Beatles Tour” (LRP-3390/LST-7390). Among these cuts is “Oh Boy,” but not “I'm Looking for Someone to Love,” though the 20-track CD edition includes both, plus “Maybe Baby,” making for three Holly tunes.

While this is an excellent compilation of De Shannon's 1962-'64 output, it has nothing to do with her live shows with the Beatles.

Less than a year after breakin' something on the Beatles tour, Jackie took the Hal David - Burt Bacharach tune, “What the World Needs Now Is Love” to the Top 10.

In the summer of '69, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” made the Top 5. Written by Jackie and Jimmy Holiday, this became the biggest hit of her singing career.

Jackie's overall top seller, “Bette Davis Eyes,” which she wrote for Kim Carnes, reached No. 1 in 1981.

Now the name game: Born Sharon Lee Myers, Jackie's first record (1956) identifies her as Sherry Lee . On the next two (1957-'58), one of which is “Buddy,” she is Jackie Dee. The subsequent five labels (1959) credit Jackie Shannon, with the four that follow (1959-'60) showing her as Jackie deShannon. Finally (1960), Jackie De Shannon becomes the standardized name, even though her personal preference is Jackie DeShannon.

Enough details for ya?

IZ ZAT SO? Because Jackie De Shannon and Buddy Holly both began recording in 1956, plus her admiration for him, folks assume the two were friends, or had at least met.

While such a meeting never took place, as Jackie explains, they did come close to performing together in early 1959:

“Though I never met Buddy, I was scheduled to do a show with him. However, that same evening his plane went down in an Iowa cornfield.”

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