Love Keeps Shining Through
She began her career as a background singer singing background for such performers as Tom Jones, The Righteous Brothers, Sonny and Cher, Isaac Hayes, Elvis Presley, the Mamas & the Papas, Sam Cooke, Dionne Warwick, The Beach Boys and Aretha Franklin. A high school sophomore when discovered, Love began recording for Phil Spector as part of a girl group called The Blossoms.
Pop singer Darlene Love will grace the stage of the Apollo Theatre on Saturday, December 4th with her presentation â€œLove at the Apollo for Christmas.â€? There will be plenty of love to go around as her guests Paul Shaffer (David Letterman Show), Cissy Houston, Ben E. King, Tuffy Questell and Little Steven (Van Zandt) known for his work with Bruce Springsteen, join her to bring the Christmas spirit to Harlem and hopefully continue a tradition of Love each year.
Born in Los Angeles, Ms. Love has made New York her home since 1984. Touted as one of the most versatile and hardworking singers in show business, Darlene Love has a wide musical range. She began her career as a background singer singing background for such performers as Tom Jones, The Righteous Brothers, Sonny and Cher, Isaac Hayes, Elvis Presley, the Mamas & the Papas, Sam Cooke, Dionne Warwick, The Beach Boys and Aretha Franklin. A high school sophomore when discovered, Love began recording for Phil Spector as part of a girl group called The Blossoms. She also sang lead vocal with the Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, recording some of the greatest hits of the â€˜60â€™s. Hits such as â€œHeâ€™s A Rebel,â€? â€œHeâ€™s Sure the Boy I Loveâ€? and â€œToday I Met the Boy Iâ€™m Gonna Marry.â€? She also recorded â€œDa Doo Ron Ronâ€? and her holiday classic â€œChristmas (Baby Please Come Home).â€? Her most recent offering is a gospel CD entitled â€œUnconditional Love.â€? One song in particular on the CD â€œAge of Miraclesâ€? has folks testifying right alongside Ms.Love.
Love has been doing corporate work of late. â€œThe money is in corporate work these days. I do a lot of stuff for HBO and IBM. That is where a lot of entertainers are working, especially those entertainers that you donâ€™t hear much about and wondered what became of them,â€? explained the gifted performer. â€œAlthough, I am very excited about working at the Apollo December 4th because the last time I performed on the Apollo stage was 40 years ago. I was 18 years old and sang with a group called the Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans. We had a hit record called Zippidy Do Da. I already had a hit via the Crystals entitled â€œHeâ€™s A Rebel,â€? at that time. Now, here I am 40 years later going back to the Apollo with my Christmas Show. The ticket sales are going so well we are hoping to extend the dateâ€? claimed the charming singer. â€œThis year we have dancers and an orchestra so I am hoping to do a real extravaganza if we get all the advertisers and support we need in order to do what we plan to do.â€?
Love has done her share of stage and screen. She appeared on the show SHINDIG throughout the 1960s and 70â€™s, on Rosie Oâ€™Donnell, Maury Povich, Politically Incorrect, Donny & Marie and more recently on the Oprah Winfrey Show. On screen, she appeared as Danny Gloverâ€™s wife in all 4 of the â€œLethal Weaponâ€? films and has put on the grease paint for such musicals as GREASE and the Tony-award nominated LEADER OF THE PACK. Love is also a songwriter and spends a great deal of time on tour. She is a recipient of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award and a recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee.
â€œIt was Little Stevie Van Zandt that encouraged me to come to New York. Van Zandt wrote the song â€œAll Alone At Christmasâ€? for the â€œHome Alone 2â€? movie. He was impressed by a show he saw me in in California and told me New York is where I ought to be. There isnâ€™t a lot of work in clubs and theatres out in California. People donâ€™t go out that much there. Itâ€™s funny because even when you do get work in those clubs during the week, no one shows up. Californians are big on concerts.â€?
Love had the opportunity as a teenager to work with Sam Cooke. â€œWhen I met Sam Cooke, I met him through my manager. Sam wanted to use the Blossoms, as background singers. I was still in high school back then. Naturally, when I heard we were going to be working with Sam Cooke I told all my friends but they didnâ€™t believe me. So you know I was thrilled when Cooke came to my school and picked me up. He took us to the recording studio where we recorded â€œChain Gangâ€? and â€œEverybody likes the Cha Cha Cha.â€? I still remember that day like it just happened a few years ago. And, that was back in 1969.â€?
Darlene talked about her first meeting with Cher. â€œCher and I go way back. I met Cher in 1962,â€? says Love. â€œAt the time I met Cher, she was still Sonny Bonoâ€™s girlfriend and was only 16 years old. She wore her hair long and used to wear these bangs that went down to her nose. We remain friends to this day but not the kind of friends that see one another or talk to each other everyday.â€? Love also has an autobiography entitled â€œMy Name is Love,â€? a book that outlines her life story, even the part where she had to work as a maid. â€œEven though a person can have a bad run of luck (although I donâ€™t believe in the word luck), I think if you keep on being persistent and stay healthy, eventually someone will recognize your talent. Sometimes ones career can stall due to bad management. You have to have someone behind you who really believes in you. You have to have someone who is willing to knock down the doors for you. Had Tina Turner, not had a good manager who was determined to make her a superstar, she wouldnâ€™t be the superstar she is today. In terms of my career, I think I got caught right before the British rock invasion. I started off in a group rather than as a solo artist. If I had had all those hits as Darlene Love the solo artist rather than as a group singer, I think I would have had a different life today. If I had had a great manager pushing me it would have happened much faster. Phil Spector was my record producer for years. He was in the papers for shooting a lady out in California about a year ago. He produced the Ronettes, The Crystals and me. He produced the Righteous Brothers, too. I think he is about to go to trial for the shooting. Phil used to collect a lot of guns and kept them around the house. However, knowing Phil Spector like I do, I cannot believe he just took a gun and shot someone. Thatâ€™s not Phil Spector. I think it was an accident. He used to show folks his guns all the time. He kept some loaded guns around. I would refuse to go into his house and rehearse unless he put his guns up. And, he would put them up. But I think when you keep guns around, especially loaded ones, something is going to happen. And, here it is 40 years later -- something happened! Itâ€™s really too bad because Phil is brilliant. He is a genius! Back in the 1960s, we recorded mono (4-tracks) because that was all we had. Phil Spector was one of the first producers who started over dubbing with echo. That was unheard of back then.â€?
Love talked about working in the music industry of today. â€œThe music business of today is all about â€˜get the money right now.â€™ People of my caliber of singer such as Patty Labelle and Gladys Knight oftentimes work in Las Vegas and in commercials. In fact, I will be playing at the Stardust in Vegas soon. I donâ€™t think the money for people in my age group is necessarily in records anymore because the buying public for records these days is under 15 years of age. Music today is about fewer clothes and for some, even lesser talent. Who will be buying these records 30 years from now? My generation of buying public is still buying our records. The records of my generation have become rare records so people search them out and are paying a lot of money for them. I have rap sessions with young girls occasionally and ask why any of them would buy records that call women bitches. These girls rationalize the words in some of these rap songs, but I think itâ€™s all about gaining self respect. I think Queen Latifah sets a good example of someone who got herself out at the right time and went into acting. And, Queen Latifah is a good actress. I look forward to seeing her movies,â€? claims Love with admiration.
Married, Love has 6 grandchildren, 3 sons and a daughter. In fact, her daughter will be appearing in her Christmas show as a dancer. â€œI love where I live in Westchester County because itâ€™s like California up here even though it gets cold. Itâ€™s like California because of the way you go shopping and because you definitely have to have a car,â€? giggled the talented performer.
Those interested in learning more about Darlene Love can go to www.DarleneLove.com.
â€œI keep God in my life to keep strong so I donâ€™t do anything that will harm me. I stay healthy, workout in the gym and keep a positive outlook,â€? says Love. â€œMy faith in God is what has kept me going all these years.â€? And it is pretty clear that â€¦ Love, just keeps on shinning through.