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Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:44 pm

Darlene Love is one of the great singers in rock 'n' roll history.

You might remember her from her work with Elvis in 1968-69 as the lead member of the Blossoms.


680628_w Jean King_Fanita James_Darlene Love.JPG
Jean King, Elvis, Fanita James and Darlene Love, Burbank, CA - Friday, June 28, 1968

The Blossoms
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blossoms


Darlene is still going strong at 72. Below is a neat Boston Globe article from a few weeks ago, previewing an upcoming concert appearance.


Backup vocalist Darlene Love steps to the front
James Reed, Boston Globe
Saturday, September 14, 2013


120000_Darlene Love.JPG
Darlene Love entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 and is featured in the recent film “20 Feet From Stardom.”
Photo: TONY DEJAK/AP/FILE 2012


In one of the more poignant scenes of the new documentary “20 Feet From Stardom,” the singer Darlene Love recalls a Christmas memory. In a career slump, long after her shining moments in the 1960s singing Phil Spector hits, Love had resorted to cleaning houses to make ends meet.

She was tidying up a bathroom on Christmas Day when “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” came on the radio. It’s perhaps her most famous song, a staple of holiday music that she has since performed annually on “Late Show With David Letterman” for nearly 30 years.

That was it. Love knew right then and there that she was meant to sing — and to be heard.

“There for a while I didn’t think I’d be singing anymore,” she says from her New York home on a recent morning, not long after the kickboxing class she had taken at 5 a.m. (Love is 72.)

“I knew I’d always be singing in church, but things were so slow for so long,” she adds. “I know when I moved to New York City from California, things picked up. I never worked on the East Coast before as Darlene Love. When I found out I had so many fans here, they didn’t even know if I existed.”

Those fans are legion and legendary, from Bruce Springsteen to Cher to Bette Midler, who inducted her into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 with a poignant speech. “She is, without question, a lead singer,” Stevie Wonder says of Love in “20 Feet From Stardom.”

Love’s struggles, and eventual renaissance, are at the heart of the film, which chronicles the trials and hard-won victories of backup singers, artists whose names aren’t on the marquee but deserve to be. Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Táta Vega, and Judith Hill are among the other singers profiled.

Love, however, is credited as a pioneer of the art form, starting with her work in the early ’60s with the Blossoms, who are considered the first group of black backing singers. Their voices are imprinted all over popular music, from recordings by the Righteous Brothers and Sam Cooke to appearances on the road with Marvin Gaye and countless others.

Love is downright tickled to note that she’s now on the road again under her own name. She has performances at the Big E, the annual state fair in West Springfield, on Sunday and Monday with shows at 3 and 8 p.m.

For Love, her appearance in the movie is yet another belated triumph in a career that could have easily fallen through the cracks.

“Some of it was painful,” she says of revisiting her hardships on camera, “but the majority of it was actually great. You know, they took me back to my old church, which I hadn’t seen in 30 or 40 years.”

Morgan Neville, who directed “20 Feet From Stardom,” which is still in theaters in Boston, says Love was the first person he had in mind for it.

“When we first started getting into it, Darlene’s name kept coming up,” Neville says. “Being the most famous backup singer is one of those difficult positions to be in. It’s like being the most famous minor-league baseball player.”

“She helped me a lot to figure out what the origins of this whole phenomenon were,” Neville adds. “She not only opened doors metaphorically, but also literally. She and the Blossoms going into these white [recording] sessions really did help revolutionize the recording industry.”

Love seemed destined for stardom as a solo artist when she recorded for Spector, the producer heralded for inventing the fabled Wall of Sound with songs such as “River Deep — Mountain High.” In one of the most infamous stories in rock ’n’ roll history, Love sang the lead vocal for “He’s a Rebel,” which Spector released as a single credited to the Crystals, a rising girl group he was grooming at the time. Only years later was the truth about Love’s work on the song revealed.

Her story is inherently heart-rending, but Love is not one to dwell on what might have been. She’s more inclined to shrug off her tribulations, emitting a robust laugh that’s infectious. She has had a full career, perhaps just not in the middle of the spotlight.

“Back in those days, we were making tons of money,” she says, laughing once more. “We figured we could make a living doing this. We really had no aspirations of going any further than that. People would hear us do backup singing and asked us to go on the road with them. That’s how we ended up getting out of the backup singing and into the recording studio.”

Her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame might have been belated, but it meant something to her.

“It got me closer to my peers, because when you get into the hall, it’s your peers who induct you,” she says. “I know the majority of the people who are in the hall of fame, and it gave me a way to get better acquainted with them. And the work has gotten better. And the pay has gotten better.”

Neville says Love’s latest successes, including the recent reprint of her 1998 memoir, “My Name Is Love,” are just the start of better things for a woman who was in the shadows for too long.

“I think it’s just happening now,” Neville says. “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction was a long-term effort led by people who adore and admire her. This is just the beginning.”


http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/music/2013/09/14/legendary-backup-vocalist-darlene-love-steps-front/oPuUJzzENDHQQq01oVxKIK/story.html

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Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:10 pm

Brilliant, she is such a vivacious lady. Incredibly beautiful and her voice is still fantastic, it's hard to believe she's 72 and kickboxing!

Vocally for me, she's in an elite group.

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:09 pm

Great stuff Doc. Darlene has that tremendous voice and it worked splendidly with Elvis in the comeback special among her other work over her long career. One thing about Elvis, he knew and appreciated talent when he saw it, didn't matter if the person was black or white.

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:24 pm

Neat.

I once heard a rumour that Elvis actually attempted Motherless Child in '68, although surely it would have been released by now, if true ?

But you can just imagine a mix of "Comeback Elvis" with Darlene's stunning version.

Phew!

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:52 pm

Bobby Peru wrote:Neat.

I once heard a rumour that Elvis actually attempted Motherless Child in '68, although surely it would have been released by now, if true ?

But you can just imagine a mix of "Comeback Elvis" with Darlene's stunning version.

Phew!


Never heard that, it's not true.

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:56 pm

Snake Eyes wrote:Brilliant, she is such a vivacious lady. Incredibly beautiful and her voice is still fantastic, it's hard to believe she's 72 and kickboxing!

Vocally for me, she's in an elite group.


Agreed.

Darlene Love sings the lead on that outtake version of "Let Yourself Go" with the sassy female lead, as well as "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," already noted. Great outtakes where you hear Elvis complement Darlene on her gospel vocal may be found on the 2006 official collector's release, Let Yourself Go ! (Follow That Dream).

The Blossoms are also a part of the soundtrack sessions for "The Trouble With Girls ..." in late 1968, as their backing vocals appear on the 2009 box set I Believe: The Gospel Masters and the song "Sweet Down, Sweet Chariot." They had not been heard before this release, nor are they in the film sequence for the song.


Image

http://home.online.no/~ov-egela/letyourselfgoftd.html


Image

http://home.online.no/~ov-egela/ibelieve.html

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:58 pm

Joe Car wrote:Great stuff Doc. Darlene has that tremendous voice and it worked splendidly with Elvis in the comeback special among her other work over her long career. One thing about Elvis, he knew and appreciated talent when he saw it, didn't matter if the person was black or white.


Yes, Elvis knew talent. Dig this!



phpBB [video]

The Blossoms, "You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'" (Bell 750, April 1969)
Produced by Bill Medley, they provided the backing vocals on the Righteous Brothers 1965 hit.
Clip is from "Playboy After Dark," Hugh Hefner's second syndicated TV series, Wednesday, December 17, 1969.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XF8bEalhD4
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:59 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Joe Car wrote:Great stuff Doc. Darlene has that tremendous voice and it worked splendidly with Elvis in the comeback special among her other work over her long career. One thing about Elvis, he knew and appreciated talent when he saw it, didn't matter if the person was black or white.


Yes, Elvis knew talent. Dig this!



phpBB [video]

The Blossoms, "You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'" (Bell 750, April 1969)
Produced by Bill Medley, they provided the backing vocals on the Righteous Brothers 1965 hit.
Clip is from "Playboy After Dark," Hugh Hefner's second syndicated TV series, Wednesday, December 17, 1969.


Not letting me see it Doc.

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:00 pm

Joe Car wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
Joe Car wrote:Great stuff Doc. Darlene has that tremendous voice and it worked splendidly with Elvis in the comeback special among her other work over her long career. One thing about Elvis, he knew and appreciated talent when he saw it, didn't matter if the person was black or white.


Yes, Elvis knew talent. Dig this!



phpBB [video]

The Blossoms, "You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'" (Bell 750, April 1969)
Produced by Bill Medley, they provided the backing vocals on the Righteous Brothers 1965 hit.
Clip is from "Playboy After Dark," Hugh Hefner's second syndicated TV series, Wednesday, December 17, 1969.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XF8bEalhD4


Not letting me see it Doc.


Click the "Watch on YouTube" link -- or the one I put at the bottom.

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:33 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Joe Car wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
Joe Car wrote:Great stuff Doc. Darlene has that tremendous voice and it worked splendidly with Elvis in the comeback special among her other work over her long career. One thing about Elvis, he knew and appreciated talent when he saw it, didn't matter if the person was black or white.


Yes, Elvis knew talent. Dig this!



phpBB [video]

The Blossoms, "You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'" (Bell 750, April 1969)
Produced by Bill Medley, they provided the backing vocals on the Righteous Brothers 1965 hit.
Clip is from "Playboy After Dark," Hugh Hefner's second syndicated TV series, Wednesday, December 17, 1969.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XF8bEalhD4


Not letting me see it Doc.


Click the "Watch on YouTube" link -- or the one I put at the bottom.


Excellent stuff Doc. Thanks!

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:39 pm

Darlene is without doubt one of the greats in the music industry. I always look forward to her yearly appearance on Letterman's Xmas show. Her 1998 autobiography «My Name Is Love» is quite an interesting read (we learn that just before her role in the «Lethal Weapon» movies revived her career, she was earning a living cleaning houses. A long way from singing with the greats...)

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:00 am

Every time I read about Darlene Love cleaning bathrooms, 2 things happen. First I have stop my dry heaves and then I develop an uncontrollable urge to punch Phil Spector in the nose. Remarkable woman who has maintained grace under extraordinary circumstances. Very few stars today rise to the standard she sets.

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:34 am

fn2drive wrote:Every time I read about Darlene Love cleaning bathrooms, 2 things happen. First I have stop my dry heaves and then I develop an uncontrollable urge to punch Phil Spector in the nose. Remarkable woman who has maintained grace under extraordinary circumstances. Very few stars today rise to the standard she sets.


Indeed. Especially regarding Spector. He's where he belongs right now, no matter what you think of "the case"!

Now, look at this (in the video, at the time-mark), from that video of the "Playboy After Dark" performance of YLTLF; who does this part remind you of? Who?????

SomethingBeautiful.jpg


rjm
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Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:44 am

Despite everything else, I'm still a Phil Spector fan. The music he created in his heyday is just too great to ignore. And I think he deserves respect as an artist, even if some aspects of his private life left much to be desired, to say the least.

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:44 am

In recent interviews Darlene has stated that she was not even given credit for lead vocals on hit records.
Other girls from the label would lip sync to her vocals. That seems so Milli Vanilli of the time.

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:31 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Bobby Peru wrote:Neat.

I once heard a rumour that Elvis actually attempted Motherless Child in '68, although surely it would have been released by now, if true ?

But you can just imagine a mix of "Comeback Elvis" with Darlene's stunning version.

Phew!


Never heard that, it's not true.


I heard that rumour too.

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:14 am

Dan_T wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
Bobby Peru wrote:Neat.

I once heard a rumour that Elvis actually attempted Motherless Child in '68, although surely it would have been released by now, if true ?

But you can just imagine a mix of "Comeback Elvis" with Darlene's stunning version.

Phew!


Never heard that, it's not true.


I heard that rumour too.

8)

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:34 am

Darlene Love and Spector is perfection:

phpBB [video]

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:49 am

Here's two more Love / Spector gems from 1963.

Words fail me ! :

phpBB [video]


"My Heart Beat A Little Faster" (Philles 111) - the B-side of "Today I Met (The Boy I'm Gonna Marry)"

phpBB [video]


"A Fine, Fine Boy" (Philles 117)

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:09 am

Those are some great singles, and one may see that Darlene Love did indeed get some credit on singles she cut with Phil Spector.

The Blossoms were part of the "Shindig!" program house band, and in numerous clips where they cover a pop hit of the day, it is almost always Darlene on lead. Go find them on YouTube, they are magnificent.

The Blossoms were also a part of the house band on the Steve Binder-directed, landmark 1964 concert film, "T.A.M.I. Show."

T.A.M.I. Show
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.A.M.I._Show

Watch James Brown's incendiary set, one of the most stunning 15 minutes of live music in the history of rock 'n' roll, you will see Darlene smiling and clapping as James "drags" himself off, stage left. She obviously loved the act.

Read more here:

Darlene Love Page
http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/Darlene%20Love.html

The Blossoms Page
http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/Blossoms.html

The Blossoms
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=69540

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:01 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Those are some great singles, and one may see that Darlene Love did indeed get some credit on singles she cut with Phil Spector.

The Blossoms were part of the "Shindig!" program house band, and in numerous clips where they cover a pop hit of the day, it is almost always Darlene on lead. Go find them on YouTube, they are magnificent.

The Blossoms were also a part of the house band on the Steve Binder-directed, landmark 1964 concert film, "T.A.M.I. Show."

T.A.M.I. Show
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.A.M.I._Show

Watch James Brown's incendiary set, one of the most stunning 15 minutes of live music in the history of rock 'n' roll, you will see Darlene smiling and clapping as James "drags" himself off, stage left. She obviously loved the act.

Read more here:

Darlene Love Page
http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/Darlene%20Love.html

The Blossoms Page
http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/Blossoms.html

The Blossoms
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=69540



The TAMI performance by James Brown is absolutely one of the best ever filmed. Sadly we have little of Elvis" 50's performances available for comparison. They along with Jackie Wilson were innate showman. There is also too little real showmanship today. Perhaps the world has grown too small.

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:18 am

fn2drive wrote:The TAMI performance by James Brown is absolutely one of the best ever filmed.


Yes, and if you watch it again sometime, look for Darlene Love, as I described. The Blossoms also perform with Marvin Gaye in the film.

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:42 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Joe Car wrote:Great stuff Doc. Darlene has that tremendous voice and it worked splendidly with Elvis in the comeback special among her other work over her long career. One thing about Elvis, he knew and appreciated talent when he saw it, didn't matter if the person was black or white.


Yes, Elvis knew talent. Dig this!



phpBB [video]

The Blossoms, "You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'" (Bell 750, April 1969)
Produced by Bill Medley, they provided the backing vocals on the Righteous Brothers 1965 hit.
Clip is from "Playboy After Dark," Hugh Hefner's second syndicated TV series, Wednesday, December 17, 1969.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XF8bEalhD4


Thank you for the additional info and links, this has been a great read for me. This version of YLTLF gave me chills, as a group their harmonies were exceptional. This version is up there with Gladys Knight & The Pips and The Lovelites. Absolute perfection.

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:48 am

fn2drive wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:Those are some great singles, and one may see that Darlene Love did indeed get some credit on singles she cut with Phil Spector.

The Blossoms were part of the "Shindig!" program house band, and in numerous clips where they cover a pop hit of the day, it is almost always Darlene on lead. Go find them on YouTube, they are magnificent.

The Blossoms were also a part of the house band on the Steve Binder-directed, landmark 1964 concert film, "T.A.M.I. Show."

T.A.M.I. Show
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.A.M.I._Show

Watch James Brown's incendiary set, one of the most stunning 15 minutes of live music in the history of rock 'n' roll, you will see Darlene smiling and clapping as James "drags" himself off, stage left. She obviously loved the act.

Read more here:

Darlene Love Page
http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/Darlene%20Love.html

The Blossoms Page
http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/Blossoms.html

The Blossoms
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=69540



The TAMI performance by James Brown is absolutely one of the best ever filmed. Sadly we have little of Elvis" 50's performances available for comparison. They along with Jackie Wilson were innate showman. There is also too little real showmanship today. Perhaps the world has grown too small.


How do you follow that performance by James Brown? He tore the stage up and the audience were literally on the edge of their seats throughout. At the end when he feints throwing his tie, what a showman and powerful voice. The talent pool was very deep back in the day.

Re: Darlene Love Steps To The Front!

Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:06 pm

Snake Eyes wrote:How do you follow that performance by James Brown? He tore the stage up and the audience were literally on the edge of their seats throughout. At the end when he feints throwing his tie, what a showman and powerful voice. The talent pool was very deep back in the day.


If you have the superb official DVD release of "T.A.M.I. Show," look for Darlene Love, as described.