low top dr martens Adding the Love this Christmas
Now that Thanksgiving is over, chances are people have switched their radio dials and satellite stations to Christmas music to get in the spirit of the season. And if holiday music is being played, it’s a good bet that Darlene Love’s 1963 “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” is in the rotation, as the tune has been one of the most popular songs of the season for decades.
It was David Letterman who helped catapult the song to such stardom. The former Late Night King called it his favorite song and before retiring, would have Love come on his show and kick off the Christmas season with a live rendition each year.
“Dave is the one who made it so popular around the world and I am so thankful to him,” Love said. “I know a lot of my fans miss me on that show, but they can catch me on ‘The View’ now instead. I have a brand new audience in the daytime. I’ll be doing that on Dec. 15.”
Love rose to prominence in the ’60s as a session vocalist, and although she supported all the great singers in Phil Spector’s arsenal of performers with her glorious background vocals including tunes such as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “He’s a Rebel,” “He’s Sure the Boy I Love,” and “Be My Baby” she was unfairly absent from the liner notes of the records.
“I wasn’t the first one that it happened to you just never heard about it with a lot of us,” Love said. “Phil Spector was a rising producer who became incredibly successful who started his own empire, and knew how to succeed. I couldn’t sign work because of him recording my voice as The Crystals and I couldn’t claim ‘He’s A Rebel’ or ‘He’s Sure The Boy I Love’ as my own, because my name wasn’t on there. That kept me from finding work.”
Still, those in the industry knew what a force she was and that info eventually was known by the listening audience. In fact, Love is ranked No. 84 on Rolling Stone’s top 100 singers of all time and she was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.
At the age of 76, Love is still going strong and continues to tour all year long. Her favorite thing about being on stage still is seeing the generations of fans who come out and sing along with her.
“It’s so great to see people are bringing their children and they are bringing their children, it doesn’t get any better than that,” she said. “I think the younger generation wants to hear great songs, great lyrics and great melodies that they want to sing along with. They do that when they come to my show.”
Around each November, Love transitions her stage show from singing the hits to concentrating more on a holiday show.
“I’m happy they call me the Christmas Queen because I always end up doing Christmas things,” she said. “I’m headed to a recording session now for a commercial to do a song about the Wooden Soldiers. I always change over from my regular show to my Christmas show in November. That gives me enough time to get all those shows in. People are shopping and are in the spirit of giving.”
On Dec. 8, Love plays the Howard Theatre for an evening entitled, “A Darlene Love Christmas: Love for the Holidays.”
“I do all the Christmas songs that I recorded with Phil Spector on the Christmas album, and of course I have to do the ‘Golden Oldies,’ although they don’t sound like oldies anymore,” Love said. “It sounds as if I recorded them a couple of years ago. My fans always enjoy them and sing them along with me very powerful and strong.”
Her favorite thing about doing a show like this is the happiness that it brings to people.
“It gives them a chance to think about what’s really going on in their lives and takes them away from the normal everyday things,” Love said. “I so much enjoy singing those songs. It gives people a perspective of what’s happening in the world. And for that little time that I have them, I give them a little joy and that really makes me happy.”
In the beginning of each holiday show, Love tells her audiences to not let the troubles of the world boil over to everyday life and to give peace a chance.
“We say a special prayer before we go on stage and say it for everyone,” Love said.
Once Christmas is over, Love is hoping to get to Europe and she may even be releasing some new music in 2018.
“My whole thing is about entertaining and people enjoying what they are coming to hear,” Love said. “I try to do my very best when I hit the stage and I just want my fans to have a great time. I think the biggest reason they still come out is that I stay true to the songs. I don’t change how I sing them and they are even more powerful today because my voice is more powerful.”
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