Finally, the woman whose voice the New York Times said "is as embedded in the history of rock 'n' roll as Eric Clapton's guitar and Bob Dylan's lyrics" tells her story. Right out of high school, Darlene Love began singing lead vocals for legendary producer Phil Spector, cutting such classic hits as the number one He's a Rebel," "Da Doo Ron Ron," and "He's Sure the Boy I Love." As part of girl group the Blossoms, she held a regular spot on television's Shindig, and with Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans she toured the country.
Later, she sang backup and collected numerous scintillating back-stage stories with, among others, Dionne Warwick, the Mamas and the Papas, and Sonny and Cher. Now in My Name A Love, Darlene is ready to tell her tales about Elvis coming on to her backstage during his famous '68 Comeback Special,"about wild parties she witnessed at Tom Jones's house, and about her love affair with Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers. She also recalls how she found herself cleaning houses in Beverly Hills, heard herself on the radio, and vowed to make a comeback. That comeback has included roles in all three Lethal Weapon movies (with the fourth now in production), starring roles on Broadway, and headlining concert appearances worldwide.
My Name Is Love is a dishy, behind-the-scenes showbiz memoir that is also the inspiring story of a woman who refused to give up.
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Read an Excerpt
In the beginning, there almost wasn't a beginning. At least there wouldn't have been if my mama had had her way.
Ellen and Joe Wright, each barely twenty years old, had married in 1939 and piled themselves, their belongings, and their dreams into a single room in a boardinghouse on the east side of Los Angeles. Ellen's high school graduation dress still hung in the closet when she found out she was pregnant with their first child. When their son, whom they named Johnny, arrived on May 22, 1940, he filled up the last corner of that tiny room in a house where everyone shared a bath. And then, a few weeks before Christmas, with Johnny not even crawling yet, Ellen got an early present.
"Lord, how could I be pregnant again?" she remembered thinking. "I didn't know a lot in those days, but I knew I didn't want to have another baby so soon.The days when birth control was just down the hall in the medicine cabinet or around the corner at the pharmacy hadn't reached the corner of Compton and Thirty-third Streets in those days.
"We didn't know about that stuff," Ellen said.
Abortion, of course, wasn't an option, either. Ellen wasn't about to trust her life to some back-alley entrepreneur with a dirty knife looking to make a few extra dollars off the misfortune of young, mostly poor girls. But through the wife of a friend, she thought she might know of a safer, cleaner way.
"They were a couple, Johnnie May and Eldridge," Ellen said. She had dated Eldridge when she was in high school and stayed friendly after they were both married to different people.
"They said they knew of a foolproof way to cause a miscarriage. We got home one day and they ran the hot water in the tub." Accordingto these "experts," the fetus, only a month or so along, wouldn't be able to stand this scorching, unholy whirl-pool. But no matter how many times Johnnie May dunked Ellen while Joe and Eldridge waited in the front room the baby wouldn't budge. Maybe the water wasn't hot enough. Or maybe on that day God had other plans.
After that, my parents decided to stop challenging God's will, and on July 26, 1941, I was born, seven pounds fourteen ounces, none the worse for my early baptism.
"I didn't know it was you when I tried to lose you," Mama said. "But then you turned out to be a girl, and you were beautiful." After that, there would be three more children: Joseph Jr., born in 1943, Edna in 1944, and Alan in 1946, plus one stillbirth. And then my parents discovered the rhythm method, and at age twenty-five, Mama was through with being pregnant. It took her almost fifty-five years to tell me this story. It's easy for us to joke about it now: "I tried to get rid of you, hah, hah, hah," and "We didn't get the job done, hah, hah, hah." By now, the pedestal I had put my mother and father on was set in stone. If she had told me earlier though, I might not be laughing quite so much.
What People are Saying About This
When it comes to Darlene Love, I'm as much a fan as I am a peer. Along with Cissy Houston and all the Sweet Inspirations, Darlene and her Blossoms were the true pioneers of vocal harmony and innovative sound. To this day, I will still postpone a recording session if she's unavailable in order to get her to sing in it. Go on, Girl!
Darlene is one of the most talented artists I've ever heard!
Darlene Love remains, even after all these years, one of the greatest voices in all of pop music. The thrill of listening to her live has not diminished one iota, and whenever I get the chance to her work, I run. A great interpreter, flawless intonation, she is as musical as it gets. I love Love!