When we hear songs from stars like Bruce Springsteen and Frank Sinatra, it’s easy to focus on the front man; but we often forget that just behind the lead vocalists are backups who also leave their marks on classic tunes. Darlene Love, for instance, is one of the best backup singers to ever do it, launching a successful solo career.
Love stopped by during a recent taping of One-on-One with Steve Adubato to speak with show host, Adubato. The pop legend spoke about her extraordinary music career and her iconic place in rock and roll history.
Darlene Love is a Los Angeles native, growing up in the southern part of the county. Her entry into the music world began while singing with her church’s choir at a young age. Then, during high school, Love sang with a doo-wop group of boys and girls all her own age. But her career didn’t begin until she joined the all-girl soul group, The Blossoms, in the late 1950s. Working with producer Phil Spector in 1962, Love’s career almost immediately took off.
Early on in her career, Love started working with numerous rock and soul legends. These stars include Sam Cooke, Dionne Warwick, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, and Sonny and Cher. After a brief absence from music during part of the 1970s, Darlene Love resumed her passion in the early 1980s. Soon after, she played herself in the Tony Award-nominated jukebox musical, Leader of the Pack in 1984. Meanwhile, her music career kept moving at a brisk pace through the 1980s, ’90s, and 2000s.
Darlene Love Has Still Got It
In fact, Darlene Love still actively performs the music she loves, even well into her 70s. On top of that, several years ago, the Sundance Film Festival screened the documentary film, 20 Feet from Stardom. This Oscar Award-winning documentary highlights some of history’s most iconic backup singers. Of course, this includes Love.
“[20 Feet from Stardom] is about backup singers who backup any and everybody—if you’re good enough,” says Love.
The film features singers who accentuate the melodies of Springsteen, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and many others. Love was one of the singers at the forefront of this arena. However, Love’s career doesn’t begin and end as a backup singer; her long career is a showcase of so much more.
Want to learn more about the life of decorated singer Darlene Love? Check out this edition of One-on-One with Steve Adubato.
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Top (Hero) Photo: © One-on-One with Steve Adubato / Caucus Educational Corporation