What the World Needs Now is Love/Abraham, Martin and John: TOM CLAY

Australian singles charts:
What the World Needs Now is Love entered the Kent charts on 23 August 1971 and peaked at #3. The song was #48 in the Top 100 of 1971.

Hal David, Burt Bacharach, Dick Holler

Tom Clay

Record label of Australian release:
Tamla Motown


What the World Needs Now Is Love is a song with lyrics written by Hal David and music composed by Burt Bacharach. It was first recorded and made popular in 1965 by Jackie DeShannon and other versions followed.

The song served as the basis for a distinctive 1971 remix. Disc jockey Tom Clay was working at radio station KGBS in Los Angeles, California, when he created the single What the World Needs Now is Love/Abraham, Martin and John, a social commentary that became a surprise hit record.

The song begins with a man asking a young girl to define such words as bigotry, segregation, and hatred (to which the girl says she doesn’t know); she says that prejudice is “when someone’s sick”. Following that is a soundbite of a drill sergeant leading a platoon into training, along with gunfire sound effects, after which are snippets of the two songs – both as recorded by the Blackberries, a session recording group. Interspersed are excerpts of speeches by John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, the eulogy given (by Ted Kennedy) after Robert’s assassination, and Martin Luther King Jr., and soundbites of news coverage of each assassination. The ending of the song is a reprise of the introduction.

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