Sonny Bono died 20 years ago today. If you’re a rock and roll fan, you should care. If you love a good American bootstraps story, you should care. And if you’re looking for an inspirational story of persistence, he’s your guy.
I can’t say I don’t like Christmas music. I only like a very select group of Christmas music, consisting of Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” for obvious reasons, and Phil Spector’s famous Christmas album, A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector. And that’s it. End of list. No Chipmunk song, and I better not hear that weird Dominic the Donkey song, either.
If you were to find the records of what I checked out of the Troy Public Library between the ages of 12 and 15, Darlene Love’s autobiography My Name is Love would be on there a solid four or five times. At that time, Love was making a living as an entertainer, but not a star, as she had been since the early 1980s. Doing musicals, session work, bit parts in films, and annual appearances on David Letterman’s Christmas show-- she was present, yet under the radar. Love was a cult favorite, a story of the perils of sixties pop, and a casualty of Phil Spector’s regime. She had become such a symbol of the past events in her life, that she was forgotten as a current performer.
About five years ago, a Darlene Love renaissance began. It wasn’t a comeback, as she never really left, and “renaissance” almost seems too understated a word. Learn her story-- she worked and worked at this for years, and now, at age 74, she just released a kickass album.