The first question we ask Darlene Love as she prepares to play a series of holiday shows is if she’s in the yuletide spirit.
“Oh baby, I’ve been in the yuletide spirit since I did that show with Bruce Springsteen at the Garden a couple of weeks ago,” she says without missing a beat. “I’ve probably worked with and sung with some of the greatest people on the Earth from Sam Cooke to Elvis to Frank Sinatra but nothing compares to working with Bruce Springsteen on stage. It’s a whole ’nother world, I was like three feet off the stage.”
Springsteen has been more than just a duet partner for Love this year. The Boss is also championing her to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She says being inducted would give her a sense of validation that has been difficult to maintain in her career, most of which she spent working with infamous madman Phil Spector.
Spector notoriously disrespected her in front of studio guests like John Lennon and even re-recorded other singers’ vocals on songs that Love had originated, like “Da Doo Ron Ron.”
“If people really listen to it closely you can hear my voice over La La's,” she says of that song and Crystals singer La La Brooks, whose vocals replaced Love's on the enormous hit.
So when Spector was sentenced to prison for murder earlier this year, what did Love think?
“I really felt bad because people because of the fact people are going to remember him as this person who killed Lana Clarkson,” she says almost sympathetically. “it’s really kind of a shame. I felt, I don’t care what anybody else says, I felt he was a genius.”
Sunday, 8 p.m.
B.B. King Blues Club
237 West 42nd St., New York