Jackie DeShannon: When You Walk In The Room

The magnificent Jackie DeShannon. The greatest era for pop songs was the mid-60s, and I am willing to argue that the greatest pop song of the era was “When You Walk in the Room”, and Jackie DeShannon wrote it. That makes her in some sense the greatest of the greatest. (Of course, she only had a minor hit with it, but the Searchers had a good version of it that was a huge hit.)

Jackie is lip-syncing in this video. In fact, she almost starts lip-syncing too early, but just grins and then starts in the right place. Even lip-syncing, just look at how cool she is: very expressive, acting out the song. And even though she is surrounded by go-go dancers, she is her own go-go dancer at the same time, and seems to be having a grand time with the whole thing.

Frank Allen from the Searchers discusses Jackie and her music in this excellent article: “‘When You walk In The Room’ is still my favourite of our hits, and that’s not simply because it was my first record with the group � . It’s just that it is a stunningly good song with a strong melody and one of the best guitar riffs ever.” Right on.

When You Walk in the Room (DeShannon)

I can feel a new expression on my face
I can feel a glowing sensation taking place
I can hear the guitar playing lovely tunes
Every time that you walk in the room
I close my eyes for a second and pretend it’s me you want
Meanwhile I try to act so nonchalant
I feel a summer’s night with a magic moon
Every time that you walk in the room

Baby it’s a dream come true
Standing right along beside of you
Wish I could tell you how I care
But I only have the nerve to stand and stare

I can feel a something pounding in my brain
Just anytime that someone speaks your name
Trumpets sound, I hear thunder boom
Every time that you walk in the room
Every time that you walk in the room
Every time that you walk in the room

(Rhyming “… me you want” with “nonchalant” — how cool is that?)

7 thoughts on “Jackie DeShannon: When You Walk In The Room”

  1. Lex, I really enjoy your favorites & they do bring back a time (this must have been before you were born?)

    It seems to me that my friends & I might have had a lot more pleasant time listing to your playlist in those days – everyone I knew (I started college fall of ’63) spent most of their time sitting around & listening to Bob Dylan; of course, there were the folkies, but they weren’t all that happy either. These cheerful rockers you remember I don’t remember – Dylan was our touchstone. Of course, I loved Ian & Sylvia (but my friends would complain that the problem with them was they even sounded happy singing Dylan.

    Sometimes I wonder how much that music in the background affected the way we lived.

  2. Of course the music you listened to had an impact on you. Plato could have told you that!

    On Dylan, , this recent piece was very good. Dylan himself makes it clear that he was always more interested in sound than in textual content. People who thought he was some kind of cryptic, oracular sage were, often literally, smoking dope. Dylan himself put it best: ”If I wasn’t Bob Dylan, I’d probably think that Bob Dylan has a lot of answers.” Pretty funny. OK, maybe it was John Lennon who put it best: “I don’t believe in Zimmerman.” This does not mean that Dylan did not make some great records. He did. But there was a lot more to the 60s than Dylan. The Thirteenth Floor Elevators and the Chocolate Watchband and the Sonics and the Nightcrawlers all made some great records, too.

    (BTW I was born in 1963.)

  3. Jackie is a big favorite in these parts. She went to high school here. But, this, I think, was not her best effort.

  4. This song, both her version and the many cover versions it gave rise to, is, I think, her best effort. The video is a period piece, but a charming one, and gives a good impression of what verve she must have brought to her live performances at the beginning of her career.

  5. Talk about a girl you could bring home to mom! What has happened? Most of the girls singing now look more like girls I’d see at the gentlemen’s club* rather than girls I’d actually date.

    * For those of you that aren’t familiar with the term, that is the proper Texan term for a strip club.

  6. “closet hayseed” Out. In. The. Open, Mitch baby, and lovin’ it. Gimme the Ramones, yeah, but gimme Merle Haggard, too. Nonetheless, I think this is a pure pop song. Miss DeShannon comes from a family of country music players, and was singing country music on stage as a child, so that is her background, and you are probably hearing that coming through Also, at that point in the mid-60s, the categories of popular music had not hardened up to the degree they did later.

    GFK, I agree completely. She is attractive without being tasteless, something that is sadly in short supply these days.

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