The most exasperating thing about Jackie DeShannon's best record is not so much its dismal chart position, but the fact that it was originally planned as a throwaway B-side (on the flip of "Till You Say You'll Be Mine"). Released in the fall of 1963, "When You Walk In The Room" went nowhere slowly, and didn't surface on an LP until Breakin' It Up On The Beatles Tour a year later, but the plaintive post-folkie lament of a woman who doesn't dare approach the object of her affections touched many hearts and won many friends over the years. Among those friends were the Searchers, who covered both sides of Jackie's single and got their version of "Room" into the Top 40 in 1964; Bruce Springsteen, who's been known to play it live; and Pam Tillis, who got an enormous country hit out of it in 1994. Jackie's original, though, is the one version you must have; at this point in her career, she still thought of herself primarily as a songwriter, and her voice sounds hesitant and tentative exactly the way her lyrics needed to be sung. She has done many more successful recordings (her newest album, You Know Me, came out in the fall of 2000 on Varèse Sarabande), but none, I believe, more poignant.
Where can I get this on CD?
Jackie's been anthologized a few times; look for The Definitive Collection (EMI Records 7243 8 29786 2 6), issued in 1993, which contains both sides of this 45 and 26 other prime DeShannon tracks.
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Copyright © 2000 by Charles G. Hill
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