I am always ranting about the fact that most of the artists today are lacking the soul and conviction of the songs and artists I grew up with in the sixties. But every so often I have to eat my words, case in point: Longmeadow’s 15-year-old Brynn Cartelli, the youngest contestant on this season of NBC’s “The Voice,” performed Andra Day’s rendition of “What the World Needs Now Is Love” on Monday night’s episode.
Cartelli’s coach, Kelly Clarkson, told the high school freshman that the song has “quite a message for someone so young.” “Being on ‘The Voice,’ I have a voice,” Cartelli said during a taped portion of the episode before she performed. “I’m speaking for my generation, and that’s huge. It’s a tough time in the world. Everyone deserves love.”
The song was written by the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It was offered to Dionne Warwick and Gene Pitney, who both passed on it. Jackie DeShannon chose the song explaining: “When Hal suggested that Burt play ‘What the World Needs Now’ Burt was not that enthused about showing it to me at that moment. So we went on, played some more songs, and tried to decide on the four sides that we would record for the session. At that point Hal again suggested that Burt play ‘What the World Needs Now.’ And reluctantly, I think, he played it for me. Of course it was love at first hearing and first sight at those gorgeous words and fantastic melody. There were cornfields and wheat fields in my back yard where I grew up in Kentucky on a farm, and I heard a little bit of a gospel feel in the chorus. I thought it was a match made in heaven. The minute Burt heard me singing it, he said he almost missed it, but it was absolutely a hit for this generation.” Keep in mind that was 1965
It was released two years before the Summer Of Love, a year before the US started sending troops to Vietnam, this was an early pacifist anthem about the importance of love in the world. It seems not much has changed in our world today and it is always great that a newer generation is picking up the pieces and continuing the quest for hope. and not afraid to take on a classic.