Not Just For Some

But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.  1 John 2:11

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.

Some songs resonate because of the beautiful simplicity of their message. Some concepts in life are so simple, it’s hard to understand why some folks just don’t seem to understand them. It’s like that poster/meme you’ve probably seen on social media. You know, the one about “All I Really Need To Know, I Learned In Kindergarten”? Some of the most important things in life are really basic; even a child understands.

Lord, we don’t need another mountain,
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross,
Enough to last till the end of time.

Somehow I sat, blissfully unaware last night, as to the horrible happenings in Las Vegas. I can’t believe it. I didn’t turn on the TV until about 11:00 last night (to catch the tail end of Sunday Night Football, but you would have thought there would have been some news breaks during the game. But I never saw anything. And, because of my schedule today, I didn’t hear or see any news at all until about 3:00 this afternoon. When I did, it felt like an “out of body” experience. Is this really true? Did this really happen? Does this much hate really exist in our world?

Lord, we don’t need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh listen, Lord, if you want to know.

As a young boy  growing up in the turbulent 1960’s, I saw firsthand, on the nightly news, just how much hatred can exist in the hearts of man. But it wasn’t real to me…it just happened on TV.  Then I started to get closer exposure to some of those things that Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley were talking about. My best friend’s older brother didn’t make it back from Vietnam. A girl in my 4th grade class had a cousin who was severely beaten during a civil rights demonstration in college. The school I went to was desegregated and the fights got bloody. Looking back, it was a rough time and a lot of bad things happened, but a lot of good things eventually came out of it.

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.

In 1965, in the midst of all of the turmoil, came a sweet, simple song that seemed out of place with all the bad news. Jackie DeShannon, burst onto the airwaves with a message that we all needed to hear. “What The World Needs Now Is Love”, co-written by the lyric and melody masters dream team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, was like a giant bowl of soothing salve for the American psyche. It was just what we needed to hear, just when we needed to hear it most. And, best of all,  it was wrapped up in a tune and words that even a child could understand.

In an interview with Bacharach for Record Collector magazine, Burt had this recollection: “Dionne (Warwick) rejected that song. She might have thought it was too preachy and I thought Dionne was probably right. Hal pushed me to play it for Jackie De Shannon who we were gonna record. Otherwise, I would have let it be and it would still be in the drawer.” What an awful shame that would have been!

I can’t imagine what it would have sounded like if Dionne had recorded it (I’m sure it would have been great), but Jackie’s voice just seemed like a perfect match to me. It seems like a lot of folks must have been ready to hear the message; as the song, featured on Jackie’s debut album, wound up going all the way to #7 on the Billboard Top 100.

In times like these, it seems we all need to be reminded of where our priorities should be. When He was asked which of God’s commandments was the most important,  Jesus responded in this way: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is: Love your neighbor as yourself.

And, by the way, I’m pretty sure that he meant that to be:

No, not just for some, oh, but for everyone.

Peace and love, everyone.

Listen to Jackie sing it here:

And, just in case we forgot, here’s her follow up hit from 1969:

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