Darlene Love gets her due from Rock HallWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | email@example.com
She’s been an Echo, Blossom, Rebelette, Crystal, Hushabye, Wild Cat and an uncredited Ronette.
She’s sung backup for Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Roy Rogers, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Tom Jones, Dionne Warwick, Johnny Rivers and Cher.
Her voice is on Bobby Day’s “Rockin’ Robin,” The Beach Boys’ “In My Room,” The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” and Cheech & Chong’s “Basketball Jones.”
Some may know her as Bob B. Soxx, who, with The Blue Jeans, hit the charts in the early 1960s with “Not Too Young to Get Married,” “Why Do Lovers Break Each Others Hearts?” and “My Heart Beat a Little Faster.”
Most would recognize her as Trish Murtaugh, Danny Glover’s wife in the “Lethal Weapon” movies.
She is Darlene Love, the singer who launched Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” in 1962 with the No. 1 song, “He’s a Rebel” by The Crystals.
On March 14, the lady with the legendary voice who remained anonymous for years and won a law suit against Spector for royalties will score her biggest victory: induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“I was on my way to Atlantic City to a job. I was in a limousine outside my house that was picking up me and my husband,” Love said of receiving the call with the big news. “I was silent for a few seconds and then I just let out this scream and then I thought I had to shut it or the driver might think my husband is back here killing me.”
She laughed at her joke during the call from Los Angeles and then said, “I think I’m on a celebrating moment all by myself right now,” and the booming laughter returned. “Hopefully, when they ask me to sing, I can calm down a little bit.”
Love’s elation was audible as she talked about performing at the ceremony and items she’s given to the Rock Hall.
“I sent them some things that I’ve had in my closet for a long time that I put aside for maybe one day — a couple of short sequin dresses that I used to wear on ‘Shindig’ (a music variety show that aired from 1964 to 1966 and featured The Blossoms) and pictures from years ago,” she said.
And yes, she will acknowledge Spector, despite the broken promises and debts owed to her.
“I have to say something about him; it’ll be something about appreciation because he’s Phil Spector and without him and those songs 40 years ago, I wouldn’t have a career today,” Love said.
“I have so much respect for [Spector] in the early days because I knew exactly what he wanted and he knew what he wanted out of me, and I was able to give him all of that,” she said. “And the Wall of Sound, that was amazing because we had some of the greatest musicians in the world to work with.”
Released last month, “The Very Best of Darlene Love” showcases Spector’s star vocalist from the girl groups. The 17 tracks are by The Blossoms, Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans, The Crystals and Love. Hits include “Wait Til’ My Bobby Gets Home” and “(Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry.”
The collection includes a special song for the 69-year-old.
“Out of all the stuff I recorded back in the ’60s, one of my favorites was called ‘Quiet Guy,’ one of the songs Phil decided not to put on an album, but it’s still one of my favorite songs today.”
She’s become a favorite of David Letterman, appearing during the holidays to sing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” one of her trademark numbers that appeared on 1963’s classic “A Christmas Gift for You From Philles Records.”
“Because of the show at the Bottom Line in New York City, ‘Leader of the Pack,’ Paul Shaffer was playing Phil Spector, and David Letterman came to one of our shows,” Love explained. “And on his show one night, he said, ‘Paul, that’s the greatest Christmas song I’ve ever heard. We need to get her on our show.’ And this will be the 25th year I’ll be singing that one song on David’s show.”
Fans can see her perform that classic and more on “Darlene Love: The Concert of Love,” which airs this month on PBS.
“It was something I always wanted to do, something that my fans wanted me to do,” she said of the live concert, which was released on CD and DVD last year. “It was a great night with great lighting, great sound, great orchestra to do all the songs that I wanted to do that were mine.”
Many hail Love’s voice as one of the greatest in rock. Take The New York Times: “Darlene Love’s thunderbolt voice is as embedded in the history of rock ‘n’ roll as Eric Clapton’s guitar or Bob Dylan’s lyrics.”
“Our music was four tracks and a vocal — mono,” she said. “And today they have over 200 tracks so whether they can sing or not they can make them sound fantastic. Back in those days, you had to have it or you didn’t have it.”
Love, whose last name was Wright until Spector suggested the change, definitely has it. But there was a time when it started slipping away. The singing gigs were few and a divorce left her nearly destitute in the late 1970s. She wrote about working as a maid and taking a part-time job at a dry cleaners to pay bills and care for her sons in her 1998 book, “My Name Is Love: The Darlene Love Story.”
“I always had the desire to become a great singer, not to become a great star but to become a great singer, and anytime I got knocked back, I just looked at that as a hurdle that I had to get over,” she said of the difficult time.
Her story, complete with amazing comeback, is being made into a movie.
“It’ll be awhile because it takes a lot of money and it’s a low-budget film and that’s anywhere from $5 to $20 million,” she said and laughed. “We’re right in the middle now of the screenplay. We did a table read so myself and the writer could really hear how the script sounded.”
The film is based on her book, which chronicles her turbulent relationship with Spector, her love affair with Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, working with Presley on his 1968 comeback concert in Las Vegas, and how she was rediscovered while singing on a cruise ship.
Through it all, Love was optimistic.
“I learned at a young age not to hold anything against anybody no matter what they did to me. I learned not to complain or mumble or grumble about anything because it never did me any good,” she said. “And I had such a spiritual faith to get me through situations I had to get through. I got to where I am today by not holding grudges, not holding any hatred in my heart for someone that did me wrong.
“I just moved on and never looked back.”
Tags: Aretha Franklin, Beach Boys, Bobby Day, Cheech & Chong, Cher, Darlene Love, Dionne Warwick, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Rivers, lvis Presley, Marvin Gaye, Phil Spector, Righteous Brothers, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Roy Rogers, Sam Cooke, The Crystals, Tom Jones, Vicki L. Kroll