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Catching up with Darlene Love: Rock and Roll’s Christmas music queen

Rock and roll sensation Darlene Love chatted about her latest endeavors.

Darlene Love
Darlene Love. Photo Credit: ABC, Lou Rocco
Darlene Love. Photo Credit: ABC, Lou Rocco

Rock and roll sensation Darlene Love chatted about her latest endeavors, her new duet with Chris Ruggiero, and shared her plans for 2023.

Love is having a very busy and exciting holiday season this year. She is still in demand and selling out shows nationwide at 81 years of age. “It’s because I love it, and my fans love me, and they haven’t been able to see me for three years,” she said.

‘Grown-Up Christmas List’ duet

She collaborated with rising artist Chris Ruggiero on their duet “Grown-Up Christmas List.” “That’s a great song,” Love admitted. “Chris is so talented, he loves his work and his craft, and he wants to be a big star in our business. It’s going to take a lot but I think he can do it, he is up for the challenge.”

Recently, Love invited Ruggiero to close her show at Tarrytown Music Hall with “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home),” after they performed “Grown-Up Christmas List” together. “We sung our song together, and at the end of the show, I told him to come up and sing ‘Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)’ with me because it’s a song that everybody in the audience sings along with us anyway. Plus, Chris sings that song in his own shows so he knows how to sing the verses,” she said.

“For me, ‘Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)’ is the gift that keeps on giving,” Love added. “My legacy, and all the work that you’ve done for over 57 years, I want to pass down to the next generations, and I enjoyed doing that with Chris.”

‘The View’ performance with Rob Thomas

The hit ABC talk show “The View” invited her to perform her seminal holiday classic “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)” as part of their annual tradition. This year, she was joined by Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty as her special musical guest. “This was the first time that I met Rob Thomas, he is such a great gentleman. He was very humble and so sweet. He did want to upstage me but I told him that he was here to sing with me. It turned out great,” she said.

Whoopi Goldberg and her co-hosts on “The View” official declared Darlene Love as the “Queen of Christmas,” and rightfully so. “That was such a pleasant surprise,” she said. “I was truly surprised, the gift was beautiful, it was wonderful.”

Love acknowledged that the recent banter between her and Mariah Carey has helped her sell out her holiday shows. “It wasn’t me or Mariah, it was the fans that were going back and forth,” Love clarified. “I always think this is a touchy subject especially with the title ‘Queen of Christmas’ since there is a religion symbol attached to it, and that’s where we might run into trouble.”

“I’ve always admired Mariah Carey so very much,” Love said. “That was so great what Mariah did honoring me on Instagram on how she grew up with my song and how it always played in her house. My response back to her was ‘that’s wonderful and thank you very much, I had no intention of getting into any sort of feud with you’. It was really nice of her to do that. Plus, in her love show, Mariah performs ‘Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)’, so if there was any sort of feud going on, I don’t think she would do that. Life is way too short.”

Mariah’s tribute to Darlene Love on Instagram may be seen by clicking here.

Count Basie concert

On December 22, Love will be performing at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, New Jersey, as part of her final concert of the year. “That venue is one of my favorite places to work, I am really glad that it is ending there. The shows there are ureal and I can’t wait to do it,” she said.

“After the hustle and bustle, I’m quiet at Christmastime too. We cook, we stay here at home and we watch the football games,” she added.

On the title of the current chapter of her life, Love responded, “Just to keep healthy, to keep loving, and to keep giving.” “I want to give more than I receive, that’s my whole thing right now,” she said. “It is better to give than to receive, you get back so much more.”

Love had great words about another holiday classic, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee. “I’ve put that song back in my show,” Love said. “I love that song because it is a jump, steady, feel-good song and I just rock all around the stage when I sing that song. It gives me such a wonderful feeling.”

Valentine’s Day performance

Love will be performing at The Barns at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia, on February 14, 2023, just in time for Valentine’s Day. “My publicist Len Evans is getting busy,” she said with a sweet laugh. “I told him, don’t get too busy now. Len is a sweetheart and I have to hold him back sometimes, and remind him that I’m 81 and not 21 years old anymore.”

On her favorite mottos to live by, Love shared, “Peace. If we can have a little peace, especially during this time with your family, friends and loved ones, that’s all you can ask for. I make a big deal over that one because we don’t have a lot of friends these days. I always say ‘give peace a chance’.”

If she were to go on “The Masked Singer,” she noted that “she would stay Darlene Love” because that is who she is.

Regarding her definition of the word success, Love said, “Success can be many things. I try not to live beyond my means, I’m never going to get trapped by the traps of showbusiness because I’ve been in it long enough to know that I still have friends like Dionne Warwick and Bette Midler, and they don’t get trapped by the business and they are both very successful too.”

Speaking of Better Midler, she inducted Darlene Love into the coveted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 2011. “That was a wonderful thing,” she attested.

For her fans, Love concluded, “My fans are the greatest in the world, and I’ve told me audience that I will never use the words ‘retire,’ I will always be there for my fans as long as I am healthy and have my voice. That’s what success mean to me: pleasing my fans.”

To learn more about Darlene Love, check out her official website, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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