I talked with Darlene last night through the miracle of modern technology. Over the Internet, we were able to chat – with me in Ohio and Darlene some thousands of miles away in Australia. She’s preparing for the opening of Fame: The Musical in Melbourne. The morning we talked, she was a little tired from a late-night practice. Later that day were more practices, a dress rehearsal, and finally, the opening night of the show. I felt honored that she took time to talk with us with such a busy schedule.
Although it was certainly nice to chat, trying to conduct an interview over the Internet can be dicey. There were several instances where her voice was a little jumbled. Keep that in mind when you listen to the show. However, it’s a small price to pay to actually talk with such a special lady.
Singer Darlene Love has lent her voice to literally hundreds (and possibly thousands) of recordings over the years. We’ve assembled a list of some of her “Greatest Hits”:
“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” – Darlene Love – One of Darlene’s greatest moments. A stone-cold holiday classic from Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift to You. You can close your eyes and feel the snow falling on you.
“He’s a Rebel” – credited to the Crystals, but it’s actually Darlene on lead vocals. Her first #1 hit.
“Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah – Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans – Darlene sings on this Disney classic turned inside-out. Extra points for Billy Strange’s guitar solo that sounds like it’s coming from another planet.
“(Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry” – Darlene Love – One of the few Spector tracks to actually sport Miss D’s name. Darlene reaches back to her days in the gospel choir for a gutty performance. Imagine her preaching to the congregation about her good news.
“The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)” – Betty Everett – Darlene and the Blossoms do the question-asking, like “Is it in his eyes”? sharing the lead vocalis with Betty. The vocal ascending that they do when Betty sings “Kiss him / and squeeze him tight” will send shivers.
“Poor Side of Town” – Johnny Rivers – Darlene & the Blossoms show off their gentler side as they echo Johnny’s verses with sweet sophistication.
“The Right Time” – Bobby Darin – Darlene duets with Bobby on this under-appreciated cut from a lost Darin LP called Bobby Darin Sings Ray Charles
“Brown-Eyed Woman” – Bill Medley – The deep-voiced half of the Righteous Brothers testifies his love for Darlene, while she and her sisters turn up the heat.
“Basketball Jones – Cheech and Chong – Showing that she truly is one of the most versatile of vocalists, Darlene lends her talents to C&C’s parody of the Brighter Side of Darkness “Love Jones.”