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"Overdue!" - Bruce presents Darlene Love's platinum-award for "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

Our full report, featuring pro-shot photos AND a complete pro-shot video of the award presentation, is below.

Bruce Springsteen and Darlene Love @ The Town Hall in New York, NY - November 30, 2023 - photo by Sachyn Mital

December 2, 2023

Just before the intermission break of her 2023 Love for the Holidays Christmas show at The Town Hall in New York City last Thursday night, the great Darlene Love finally was able to reveal the special surprise that she'd known about for just over a week beforehand. She confessed to her audience that secret-keeping wasn't one of her greatest skills. "My husband says, 'You are not no refrigerator; you can't keep nothin'," Love told the crowd jokingly. Nevertheless, she successfully kept her lips mostly sealed for this one, teasing it just a tad on her Facebook page by writing, "I’m so so excited to announce that Sony/Columbia Records/Legacy will be presenting me w/ a platinum record for 'Christmas Baby, Please Come Home'! I’ve never received anything like this so I’m truly honored and to top it off it’ll be given to me by a VERY special VIP guest at my show at The Town Hall in NYC on Nov 30th. Who do you think it is? It’s a MEGA MEGA star and NO it’s not Cher!! lol" [Love appears on Cher's recently released Christmas album, and they performed together at this year's Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting event.]

Since there was Sony/Columbia/Legacy involvement, an educated guess for the "VERY special VIP...MEGA MEGA star" would've been Bruce Springsteen. On the other hand, another equally good guess would've been Sony/Columbia star Mariah Carey, possibly as one more gesture of goodwill after last year's "Queen of Christmas" foofaraw.

It wasn't Mariah, though, who strode onstage from the wings after the surprise was revealed. It was Bruce, carrying a framed platinum-record award for presentation to Darlene. Officially, the award is to commemorate sales of "more than 1,000,000 copies of the Philles Records album A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector." Nevertheless, it is Darlene Love's singing on "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" that is inarguably the single greatest musical highlight on an excellent album that's full of such music.

"She’s my forever crush," noted Springsteen with a chuckle as he began his presentation. "Now, Darlene," he continued, "was born in Los Angeles. She began singing in the local church choir, and of course that led to ‘He’s A Rebel,’ ‘He’s Sure The Boy I Love,’ ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’…credited to The Crystals, but it was Darlene’s voice filled with teenage longing that made those songs hits. Then in 1963 she recorded the classic ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home,)’ the absolute greatest Christmas rock ‘n roll song of all time! She is that song, and Darlene has been a part of our holidays for sixty years. So I am here tonight to present Darlene with this platinum award for ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home.)’ Congratulations, Darlene! We love you! Whoo! Overdue! Well deserved!” Directly below, you can watch complete pro-shot video of Springsteen's award presentation, as well as Darlene Love's remarks after receiving her award:

The award presentation came after a first-half set that included Love's performance of "Night Closing In," one of two Springsteen songs that were contributed to Love's great 2015 album Introducing Darlene Love, arranged and produced by Steven Van Zandt. Van Zandt also was in attendance with his wife Maureen, and throughout the evening Love made several veiled references to Stevie's strong, longtime support of her career, presumably not identifying him overtly so that he could remain in the audience and enjoy the show in relative peace and anonymity. Stevie was mentioned directly by name, however, during Love's introduction to her performance of the great Christmas song that he wrote for her to perform with members of the E Street Band on the Home Alone 2 soundtrack: "All Alone On Christmas." Springsteen and the Van Zandts also visited Love backstage, with Bruce and Stevie even participating in Love's pre-show prayer circle with her band, as seen in these photos posted on Darlene Love's Facebook page:

photo from Darlene Love's Facebook page

photo from Darlene Love's Facebook page

photo from Darlene Love's Facebook page

After intermission, Love treated her audience to a humorous story about her backstage interaction with Springsteen: “I said to him, ‘When you gonna take me on the road with you?’ But I also said, ‘I ain’t goin’ on tour for four years, and I ain’t doin’ no three-hour shows, either.’”

She may not do a three-hour show, but whether it's Christmastime or any other time of the year, Darlene Love still delivers one amazing experience. Backed by a great band and backing vocalists (one of whom, Milton Vann, delivered a standing-ovation-level solo version of "O Holy Night" during Thursday's show,) she consistently performs a mix of rock, soul, pop, and gospel material with a voice that surpasses most other singers on the planet, no matter the genre. And she's 82 years old! Take that, "classic rockers!"

Darlene Love in action @ The Town Hall in New York, NY - November 30, 2023 - photo by Sachyn Mital

Seriously, I've had the good fortune to see Darlene perform live about a half-dozen times during the past ten years. Every show has been great, of course, but her singing last Thursday night actually topped all of the previous times that I've seen her live. How is that possible?! It feels like a Christmas miracle, but really it's all about a great singer who consistently has done all of the hard work in honing her craft, and also protected her talent by taking extremely good care of her voice through the years. No wonder artists like Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Van Zandt, who are equally interested in remaining great for the long haul, love her so and draw so much inspiration from her.

If you want to treat yourself and/or your loved ones to something extra-special this holiday season, catch one of Darlene Love's remaining Love for the Holidays shows. Here are the dates and locations:

Dec. 3, 2023 - Fairfield, CT - Sacred Heart University Community Theatre TICKETS

Dec. 7, 2023 - Port Washington, NY - Jeanne Rimsky Theater TICKETS

Dec. 9, 2023 - Woodstock, NY - Bearsville Theater TICKETS

Dec. 14, 2023 - Glenside PA - Keswick Theatre TICKETS

Dec. 15, 2023 - Red Bank NJ - Count Basie Center for the Arts TICKETS

Dec. 17, 2023 - Tarrytown, NY - Tarrytown Music Hall TICKETS

Dec. 22, 2023 - Newton, NJ - The Newton Theatre TICKETS

...and to keep updated on all future concerts and other projects, click here to visit Darlene Love's official website.

Congratulations and Merry Christmas, Darlene! You are forever The Queen of Christmas on E Street, and long may you reign.


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