Darlene Love is an American popular music singer and actress. She gained prominence in the 1960s for the song "He's a Rebel," a #1 American single in 1962, and was one of the Phil Spector artists who produced a celebrated Christmas album in 1963. She appears in the documentary film Twenty Feet From Stardom (2013), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Darlene Wright was born in 1941. She began singing with her local church choir in Hawthorne, California. While still in high school (1959) she was invited to join a little-known girl group called The Blossoms, who in 1962 began working with 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 1960s rock and soul, including Sam Cooke, Dionne Warwick, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones and Sonny and Cher; Darlene and the Blossoms sang back-up vocals on the Shelley Fabares hit "Johnny Angel", Sharon Marie (Esparza) (a Brian Wilson act), as well as John Phillips' solo album John, Wolfking of L.A., recorded in 1969. They also appeared on Johnny Rivers' hits, including "Poor Side of Town" and Motown covers "Baby I Need Your Loving" and "The Tracks of My Tears". (The Blossoms recorded singles, usually with little success, on Capitol 1957-58 [pre-Darlene Love], Challenge 1961-62, OKeh 1963, Reprise 1966-67, Ode 1967, MGM 1968, Bell 1969-70, and Lion 1972.) With The Blossoms, Love also sang backing vocals behind many of the biggest hits of the 1960s although contrary to impressions created by the release of the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, Love did not have any lead vocal part at all in Spector's own "Da Doo Ron Ron" which was an original hit for the youthful Dolores "La La" Brooks who sang the distinctive lead vocal on Da Doo Ron Ron and recorded the song with her girl harmony group, The Crystals. The song was an immediate hit for The Crystals (Philles 112) and made a total of three chart successes for The Crystals in their own right for Spector together with their hits "There's no other" and "Uptown". Hurriedly recorded and released by Spector in November of 1962 under the name of The Crystals in order to get his version of the Gene Pitney song onto the market before that of Vikki Carr, the single "He's A Rebel" actually featured Love singing lead for the first time on a Spector recording, backed by The Blossoms. The ghost release of this single came as a total surprise to The Crystals who were an experienced and much traveled girl harmony group in their own right, but they were nevertheless required to perform and promote the new single on television and on tour as if it were their own. The less successful "He's Sure The Boy I Love" was the only other release by Spector under the name of The Crystals which featured Love on vocals again backed by the Blossoms. Subsequently Love recorded "Today I Met The Boy I'm Gonna Marry" which was released as a single by Spector, and now featured Love's name as the artist. She says that Spector offered $3,000 for her rights to the song. And though he said it was going to be a hit, she took the money. But, in spite of that decision, she said that she has continued to have a career because people have loved hearing her sing her songs. She was also part of a trio called Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, who recorded a cover version of "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah", an Oscar-winning song from the 1946 Walt Disney film, Song of the South, which got into the Top 10 in 1963. 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, which aired on NBC. "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" is a song by Darlene Love from the 1963 holiday compilation album, A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector. The song was written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, along with Phil Spector, with the intention of being sung by Ronnie Spector of The Ronettes. According to Love, Ronnie Spector was not able to put as much emotion into the song as needed. Instead, Love was brought into the studio to record the song, which became a big success over time and one of Love's signature tunes. Into the 1970s Love continued to work as a back-up singer, before taking a break in order to raise a family. In 1973, she 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. Love returned to music in the early 1980s and to an appreciative audience she thought might have long since forgotten her. She had been performing at venues like the Roxy in L.A., and it was a conversation with Steven Van Zandt that greased the wheels for her to come to New York and begin performing there in 1982, at places like The Bottom Line. In addition to singing the songs that made her famous, she has re-explored her gospel roots on several recordings. She also sang "OOO Wee Baby" in the 1980 movie The Idolmaker. In the mid-1980s she portrayed herself in the Tony Award-nominated jukebox musical Leader of the Pack, which featured the iconic rock and roll songs written by Ellie Greenwich, many of them for the young Love. The showstopping number of that show, "River Deep - Mountain High", had been recorded by Phil Spector with Ike & Tina Turner and had been less than the success they had expected. Leader of the Pack commenced as a revue at the Greenwich Village nightclub the Bottom Line, as did the later show about Love's life, Portrait of a Singer, which never made the move uptown. Portrait 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 from some of the instrumental writers of early rock and roll, including Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Love contributed a cover of The Hollywood Argyles song "Alley Oop" to the soundtrack of the 1984 film Bachelor Party. In 1987, Love sang back-up for U2's cover of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)", while in 1990, Cher invited Love and her sister Edna Wright as her background vocalists for the Heart of Stone tour. She also released a minor single in 1992 with "All Alone on Christmas", written and composed by Steven Van Zandt, which can be found on the Home Alone 2: Lost in New York soundtrack. Love also contributed vocals to the soundtrack of the film Jingle All the Way. In October 2007, Love released the holiday collection It's Christmas, Of Course, featuring her versions of classic yuletide tunes from the 1970s and 1980s. She continues to do a Christmas show every year in New York City, which is always capped by "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)". On December 15, 2010, it was announced that Love had been chosen for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On March 14, 2011, Love was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with a speech by Bette Midler.
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Who did Love work with as a backup singer during the 1960s and 1970s?
What artists has she performed with and backed up?
What rock and soul legends did Love work with in the 1960s?