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Darlene Love √ Elvis Presley backup singer.
Darlene Love (born Darlene Wright on July 26, 1938 in Los Angeles, California) is an American popular music singer.
She began her singing with her local church choir. While still in high school she was invited to join a little-know "girl group" called The Blossoms, who soon began recording for producer Phil Spector.
With her powerful voice she was soon a highly sought-after vocalist, and managed to work with many of the legends of 1950s and '60s rock and soul, including Sam Cooke, Dionne Warwick, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Sonny and Cher and sang backup on Shelley Fabares's smash hit "Johnny Angel".
With The Blossoms she sang backing vocals on some of the biggest hits of the 60s, including Spector's own "Da Doo Ron Ron" (allegedly recorded with her lead, which was later erased by Spector and re-recorded using Crystals' lead La La Brooks).
Though credited by Spector as singles recorded by The Crystals, "He's A Rebel" and "He's Sure The Boy I Love" actually featured Darlene singing lead, backed by The Blossoms. "Today I Met The Boy I'm Gonna Marry" was released as a single by Spector, and featured Darlene's name as the artist.
The Blossoms landed a weekly part on Shindig, one of the top music shows of the era. They were part of the highly acclaimed Elvis Presley's '68 Comeback Special aired on NBC. Into the 1970s Darlene continued to work as a back-up singer, before taking a break in order to raise a family.
In 1973, Love recorded vocals as a cheerleader along with Michelle Phillips, for the Cheech & Chong single "Basketball Jones", which peaked at No.15 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
She returned to music in the early 1980s and to an appreciative audience she thought may have long forgotten her. In addition to singing the songs that made her famous she has re-explored her gospel roots on several recordings.
In the mid 1980s she played the lead role on Broadway in the Tony-nominated "Leader of the Pack" which featured the iconic rock & roll songs written by Ellie Greenwich, many for the young Darlene. The showstopping number of that show, "River Deep — Mountain High" had been recorded for Phil Spector by Ike & Tina Turner and had been less than the success they had expected.
"Leader of the Pack" commenced as a review at the late East Village club, the Bottom Line, as did the later show about Darlene's life, "Portrait of a Singer", which never made the move uptown.
The "Portrait" show included covers of "The Change Is Going To Come" and "Don't Make Me Over" as well as "River Deep, Mountain High" and original music written by some of the instrumental writers of early rock & roll, including Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil.
In the 1990s, Darlene also began an acting career, playing Danny Glover's wife in the Lethal Weapon movies, and appeared on Broadway in Grease and in the short-lived musical adaptation of Stephen King's Carrie. She continues to do a Christmas show somewhere every year which is always capped by "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)."
That song, written by Phil Spector with Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich and originally recorded for Spector's Christmas album, is still featured live by Darlene on television's David Letterman show every year just before Christmas, and was rated as the #22 rock & roll song of all time in Dave Marsh's "The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made."
Darlene was a special guest on the December 17, 2005, broadcast of Saturday Night Live, singing with the SNL band and providing the vocals for the Robert Smigel cartoon called "Christmastime for the Jews."
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