Darlene Love: A Background Singer Takes The Spotlight

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Darlene Love. i

Darlene Love. Frank Micelotta/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Frank Micelotta/Getty Images
Darlene Love.

Darlene Love.

Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Darlene Love was one of the building blocks of music producer Phil Spector's girl-group sound. While a backup singer with The Blossoms, Love sang background vocals on some of the biggest hits of the 1960s, including "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Johnny Angel." She also sang lead on several songs, including "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah," "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) and "Today I Met The Boy I'm Gonna Marry."

On March 14, Darlene Love will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, alongside Neil Diamond, Tom Waits, Dr. John and Alice Cooper, in a ceremony that will include presentations by Neil Young, Paul Simon, Bette Midler, Rob Zombie and John Legend.

In 1988, Love joined Fresh Air's Terry Gross for a conversation about some of her earliest hits, including "He's a Rebel," "He's Sure the Boy I Love" and "Today I Met The Boy I'm Gonna Marry." She explained that her background in gospel singing was immediately appreciated in the world of rock and soul.

"During that time, everybody to me was almost sounding alike," Love said. "My voice stood out in Phil Spector's ears, I think, because I had the more mature voice."

Spector recorded Love and her singing group under several names, including The Crystals, Bobby Sox and the Blue Jeans and The Blossoms. After Love and Spector stopped working together in the late '60s, she continued performing with The Blossoms on the road, and then took time off from the music industry to raise her family.

It wasn't until the 1980s that Love ventured on a solo singing career and performed as herself in the Tony-winning musical Leader of the Pack. She says she was shocked that fans recognized her after her years away from the music industry.

"I had no idea people still really loved these songs until I decided to start this solo career," Love said. "Even today, I can't even get on the stage without singing songs like 'Da Doo Ron Ron' and 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).' The audience will just not let me off the stage without singing a lot of those songs, because they really do love them."

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