The 1980s saw Darlene Love's great "comeback." Though she had never turned her back on music completely, she had taken time off to raise her family and was working as a maid in Beverly Hills when she took the first steps to reclaim her career. Friends like Steven Van Zandt (who had likewise championed Love's Philles Records labelmate Ronnie Spector) proved crucial during this period, encouraging Love to return to live performing. She took venues like Los Angeles' Roxy and New York's Bottom Line by storm, and in 1982, producer Bob Lasiewicz approached her to stage a concert that would be filmed and recorded for possible release.
The performance at Hop Singh's in Marina Del Rey, California, on April 21, 1982 featured both Love's classic Phil Spector hits and more recent material she would issue on her 1983 solo debut LP Whole Hearted. She invited her younger sister, The Honey Cone's Edna Wright, and The Blossoms' Gloria Jones to join her as background vocalists, while the band called The Monte Carlos was assembled for the show with a lineup consisting of Billy Cioffi (leader, guitar), Spyder Mittleman (saxophone), Scott Richardson (guitar), H. Wayne Erwin (guitar), Michael Clark (piano), Paul Hertzog (Prophet synthesizer), Randy Wagner (bass), Jerry Angel (drums), and Michael Richards (guitar).
The concert was originally issued in 1985 on the fledgling Rhino label as Darlene Love Live! with a CD arriving in Japan in 1992. Liberation Hall's new edition drops one song from the program issued on Rhino (The Blossoms' cover of Ike Turner's "Goodbye, So Long") but adds two songs not included on that earlier release: The Beatles' "We Can Work It Out" and, in a nod to Van Zandt's longtime friendship and support, Darlene's sizzling cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart." The latter is streaming now on YouTube and all streaming services.
"I'm so pleased this concert is finally making it to DVD," Love comments in the press release for this new edition. "It captures a time when I was putting myself out in the world again, knowing that I still had more to offer through my music. It was a thrill to perform alongside two women with whom I had been singing for decades -- my sister, Edna Wright, and my fellow member in the Blossoms, Gloria Jones. The band that was put together for the event, the Monte Carlos, really understood rock 'n' roll. It was more rhythm on stage than I have ever had, and I think that made a big difference. I can't wait for people to see this show."
Live 1982 marks the first time this concert has been available on home video. The CD and DVD have been produced by Bob Lasiewicz for Live Time Productions. The audio elements have been remastered and the video re-edited from the original recordings.
Look for this time capsule of Darlene Love's stage return from Liberation Hall on April 7. You'll find pre-order links below! And if you missed the 2022 release of Second Disc Records and Real Gone Music's The Many Sides of Love: The Complete Reprise Recordings Plus! (1964-2014), that career-spanning anthology is still available on CD.
Darlene Love, Live 1982 (Liberation Hall)
- Da Doo Ron Ron
- Wait 'Til My Bobby Gets Home
- (Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gnna Marry
- We Can Work It Out
- Why Do Lovers Break Each Other's Heart?
- He's a Rebel
- Not Too Young to Get Married
- Sometimes When We Touch
- Hungry Heart
- He's Sure the Boy I Love
- Gospel Medley: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot/Oh, Happy Day/When the Saints Go Marching In