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Singer Darlene Love sang backup for hit artists including Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin but struggled to gain fame for her solo endeavors.
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Deciding that she couldn't stay in the shadows, Love relaunched her music career at the age of 40 by performing shows around her native Los Angeles. In 1984, she married Alton Allison; together they would eventually have three sons. In the same year, she first took her talent to the stage by starring in Leader of the Pack,
a musical based on the songs and life of songwriter Ellie Greenwich. Love also appeared in all three Lethal Weapon movies. And in 1988 she finally released her first solo album, Paint Another Picture, under her own name.
Despite her many near misses with superstardom, Love does not look back on her life with sadness. "I had my home, my family," she says. "Session work let you do the music and leave." In the 1990s, she released a gospel record, Unconditional Love, that brought her back to her roots in church music.
In 2011, Love finally received the recognition she long deserved when she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "What a voice," said Bette Midler, who gave Love's induction speech. "What an unquenchable spirit, what a journey, and what a great, great artist… No voice drove me crazier than Darlene Love's. From the moment I experienced the powerhouse that is Darlene I was a goner ... Her long and remarkable career has spanned 50 years and has been touched by both dark and light. She has been robbed of royalties but never of self-respect, and yet she lives without a trace of bitterness. She keeps on singing because singing is what brings her joy. She sung her way home into our hearts and right into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She has endured; she has prevailed."
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American society experienced a revolution in the late 1960s and early 70s, especially for African-Americans and women. Janis Joplin was the finest white blues singer of her generation; female singer-songwriters like Carole King and Joni Mitchell shared their innermost thoughts and feelings; Aretha Franklin emerged as the Queen of Soul; and Bonnie Raitt established herself as both a strong vocalist and a brilliant guitarist. Through their music, the women of this era created the soundtrack of social progress.
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