You may not know Darlene Love, but you do know her voice. Darlene Love was a back up singer on some of the most popular hits of all time. She has worked with artists as diverse as Sam Cooke, Tom Jones, and The Beach Boys, and she was featured prominently in the 2013 Oscar winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom. In recent years she has been gaining notoriety and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. She was one of the most sought after back up singers in the early days of rock and roll, but for much of her career, due to an oppressive contract with Phil Spector, she did not receive the recognition she deserved. In the film Ms. Love recalls a period where she was working cleaning houses and would hear herself on her client’s radio. Later on, the film shows a clip from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert where she takes the lead and Bruce Springsteen sings back up for her.
This Sunday when 20 Feet From Stardom won the Oscar, Ms. Love was in attendance and joined the film’s directors as they accepted the honor. In lieu of a traditional acceptance speech Darlene decided to sing. Her unaccompanied rendition of the Gospel song “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” brought the room to their feet. Camera’s found Bill Murray as he enthusiastically jumped out of his chair with a smile. It was a cathartic experience and one of the most memorable moments from this years Oscar ceremony.
See the video here.