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Profile: Darlene Love

By

Darlene Love

Darlene Love

source: pricegrabber.com

Claims to fame:

  • Arguably the most talented of all the classic girl-group vocalists
  • Phil Spector's go-to girl during his most prolific years, Love sang lead on several classic girl-group cuts she's not usually credited for
  • Sang backup on literally hundreds of famous pop songs that came out of Los Angeles studios in the Sixties
  • Her 1963 cut "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" is now recognized as a holiday standard

Born:

Darlene Wright on July 26, 1938, Hawthorne, Los Angeles, CA

Styles:

Girl-group, R&B, Pop

Instruments:

Vocals

Early years:

The girl born Darlene Wright got her start when her family joined the local Baptist church in Hawthorne, where she was noticed by local singing group The Blossoms, already signed to Phil Spector's Philles label but still without any hits. Wright joined after one Blossom member coaxed her into singing at her wedding, really a secret audition for the young singer. After joining, Spector made her the lead singer and changed her last name for the stage, but the quintet was still hitless. That is, until Spector came across a Gene Pitney composition called "He's A Rebel."

Success:

With the Crystals in New York, and Vikki Carr already set to record the song for another label, Phil decided to record Darlene and the Blossoms doing "Rebel" and issue it as the Crystals. The song was a #1 smash, but the arrangement meant that the Blossoms received nothing but a session fee for their efforts. Nevertheless, Spector continued to record the Blossoms and, later, a solo Darlene, as well as using them whenever he saw fit in other arrangements: the Blossoms also sang the Crystals' "He's Sure The Boy I Love," and Love was also featured as part of a trio called Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans.

Later years:

Love's signature song, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" seemed like it would finally get her a legitimate hit under her own name, but two weeks after it was released in November 1963, the JFK assassination ensured only somber music would be aired that holiday season. Love soldiered on, becoming Los Angeles' most in-demand session singer and putting out solo singles, but to little success. In recent years she's finally received her due as one of the leading lights of the Sixties girl-group scene, and continues to tour to this day. Love has also carved out a somewhat successful acting career on screen and stage.

#1 hits:

Pop:
"He's A Rebel" (1962) as the Crystals

Top 10 hits:

R&B:
"He's A Rebel" (1962) as the Crystals

Awards/Honors:

  • Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award (1995)

Appears on:

"Rockin' Robin," Bobby Day; "Chain Gang," "Everybody Loves To Cha Cha Cha," Sam Cooke; "Johnny Angel," Shelley Fabares; "Monster Mash," Bobby "Boris" Pickett; "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)," Betty Everett; "Poor Side Of Town," Johnny Rivers; "Rubberneckin'," Elvis Presley; "Basketball Jones," Cheech and Chong; "Goodbye Cruel World," James Darren; "In My Room," The Beach Boys; "Da Doo Ron Ron," The Crystals; "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," "Unchained Melody," "(You're My) Soul And Inspiration," Righteous Brothers; "River Deep - Mountain High," Tina Turner; "That's Life," Frank Sinatra

Other facts and trivia:

  • The Blossoms were regulars in the "house band" on ABC-TV's mid-'60s rock variety show Shindig!
  • Darlene was a cast member on NBC-TV's long-running soap Another World in 1993
  • Love's sister Edna Wright went on to success as well, singing in the early-70s soul trio The Honey Cone
  • The Mamas and the Papas' Michelle Phillips is the other "cheerleader" featured with Love on "Basketball Jones"
  • Appears as Danny Glover's wife in the Lethal Weapon series of action films
  • David Letterman has made an annual tradition of having Love reprise "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" on his late-night show every year since 1986

Covered by:

Hanson, Barbi Benton, Elkie Brooks, Maureen McGovern, U2, Helen Shapiro, Mariah Carey, Jon Bon Jovi, Death Cab For Cutie, Dion, Melissa Etheridge, Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids, New Bomb Turks, Joey Ramone, Sha Na Na, Brenda K. Starr, KT Tunstall, Lulu

Movie appearances:

"The Love God?" (1969), "Change Of Habit" (1969), "Lethal Weapon" (1987), "Lethal Weapon 2" (1989), "Lethal Weapon 3" (1992), "Lethal Weapon 4" (1998)

Other important songs:

"He's Sure The Boy I Love" (as the Crystals), "Son-In-Law," "Hard To Get," "The Search Is Over," "I'm In Love," "Good Good Lovin'," "That's When The Tears Start," "Lover Boy," "Let Your Love Shine On Me," "Deep Into My Heart," "Stoney End," "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," "(You're My) Soul And Inspiration," "I Ain't Got To Love Nobody Else," "One Step Away," "Touchdown," "Grandma's Hands," "There's No Greater Love" (as the Blossoms); "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," "Why Do Lovers Break Each Other's Hearts?" "Not Too Young To Get Married" (as Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans); "Today I Met The Boy I'm Gonna Marry," "Wait 'Til My Bobby Gets Home," "A Fine, Fine Boy," "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)," "Too Late To Say You're Sorry," "Lord, If You're A Woman," "All Alone On Christmas," "Chapel Of Love," "Run Run Run Runaway," "Stumble And Fall," "He's A Quiet Guy," "A Long Way To Be Happy," "Strange Love," "My Heart Beats A Little Faster," "Marshmallow World," "Winter Wonderland," "I Gotta Tell It," "Big Talkin' Jim," "What Makes Love"
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