by Larry Dawalt
It was 1965 and one of my most treasured childhood possessions was a small, black transmitter radio. Although I lived in a small town in Gaston County, that little black box with the word ‘Philco’ stamped on the cover could take me anywhere east of the Mississippi River after sunset, when the local stations played the national anthem and signed off and the big stations like WABC in New York, WCFL in Chicago, WOWO in Fort Wayne and WWL ‘way down yonder in New Orleans’ crossed the airwaves with the sounds of the British invasion, American rock and roll and the Motown sound.
The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Dave Clark Five, and Herman’s Hermits made ‘the British Countdown’ absolutely ‘must’ listening, but I remember another song that I need to hear as a ten-year-old boy that was slower – one of those pretty songs – but still one I enjoyed belting out at the top of my lungs. It was Jackie DeShannon’s version of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David song “What the World Needs Now is Love.” Go ahead and sing it.
“What the world needs now, is love sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
Dionne Warwick recorded it later and so did the Supremes. It’s been recorded by over 100 artists. Most recently, on June 15, 2016, the song was recorded by the group ‘Broadway for Orlando’ with the proceeds going to the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.
How could a song recorded in 1965 be relevant 51 years later? Because the world still hasn’t absorbed this message to the point that it is universally practiced in daily life. With all due respect to Hal David and Burt Bacharach, the message has been delivered from various sources throughout the world for thousands of years. Let me acquaint you with a sign in my office that I purchased a few months ago at a yard sale titled “The Golden Rule(s) – Ethics 101: A History of Human Relations.”
- One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts. (Traditional African Proverb)
- One should not behave towards others in a way that is disagreeable to oneself. (Hinduism 4000 BCE)
- What is hateful to yourself, do not to your fellow man. (Judaism 1000 BCE)
- Treat all creatures as you yourself would be treated. (Jainism 900 BCE)
- Whatever is disagreeable to yourself, do not do unto others. (Zoroastrain Faith 600 BCE)
- What you do not yourself desire, do not put before others. (Confucianism 551 BCE)
- Hurt not others with that which pains yourself. (Buddhism 500 BCE)
- Do not do unto others what angers you if done to you by others. (Socrates 436-338 BCE)
- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (Christianity 30 AD)
- Do unto all men as you would wish to have done unto you. (Islam 600 AD)
- Choose thou for thy neighbor that which thou chooseth for thyself. (Baha’i 1850 AD)
Today, in the midst of all that is going on in the world, we need to hear the message more than ever. My little Philco transistor radio is gone, Hal David died four years ago, Burt Bacharach is 88 and Jackie DeShannon is 75; but the message is still true – ‘What the world needs now, is love sweet love… no not just for some, but for everyone.”