Thanks to The Independent, I know about Darlene Love. Of course, I heard her many years ago – as did you. You just didn’t know what you were listening to. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today, the event marks the end of a long fight after her name was left off several hit singles.
The story begins in 1962 when Darlene’s group The Blossoms started recording with Phil Spector. Darlene and The Blossoms recorded He’s a Rebel – written by Gene Pitney and considered definitive of the “girl group” sound – but Spector released the single as being by another band, The Crystals. The Blossoms returned for He’s Sure The Boy I Love, and it happened again. Apparently, Darlene sang Da Doo Ron Ron before Spector erased her vocals and re-recorded them with The Crystals, though Love was finally credited on Winter Wonderland and Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).
As the unsung heroine of 60s pop, Darlene found it impossible to forge her own career since nobody had ever heard of her – even though she’d had nine hit singles including a number one. She sang backing vocals for the likes of Tom Jones and Aretha Franklin, and eventually took a loan from Dionne Warwick to fund a last attempt at a music career. Roles on Broadway followed, as well as acting parts such as in Grease and the Lethal Weapon movies.
A few years later, she finally won her lawsuit against Phil Spector for unpaid royalties – and today she receives the honour so long overdue.
Here are The Crystals miming to He’s A Rebel
Here’s Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, which was a top 10 hit for Bob B. Soxx (featuring Darlene Love’s vocals)
One of the few hits on which she was actually credited
Da-Doo-Ron-Ron (with Bruce Springsteen)