Famed backup singer Darlene Love releases solo album

For more than 50 years, Darlene Love performed behind the biggest names in music, but a career devoted to others is finally about her.

Love's new album, "Introducing Darlene Love," started with a promise made more than 30 years ago with E Street guitarist Stevie Van Zandt, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller.


Love and Van Zandt are certainly an unlikely pair. They have a bond forged by time that has now become a friendship - one that started with a little divine intervention and ends with a whole lot of love.

"My whole life -- truly a miracle. I've never been mad at God," said Darlene Love.

"And I'm hanging onto her with both hands," said Van Zandt laughing. "Hey God, I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her."

She may be more gospel and he more rock-and-roll, but Stevie and Darlene have a friendship they say was made in heaven.

"He's a friend first. And I know he's a friend because of everything that he's gone through in his musical career and life and what I've gone through," said Love. "And I know he's somebody I can really depend on. And you can count on your hands-- on your fingers people you can depend on."


Love would know -- she spent her life performing in the shadows of others, as the backup singer for some of the most famous names in music, like Marvin Gaye, Elvis Presley and Cher. She wrote hits that made others famous. "I had this feeling that nobody has ever seen me," Love said. "You know, nobody has ever truly seen me work...they wanted me to do what I did best for them, sing background."

After more than 15 years on stage, the gigs dried up, forcing Love to trade a microphone for a mop - cleaning houses because she said she couldn't find anything else.

And that's where she says God came into play - in 1981 Darlene booked a solo show in Los Angeles. Stevie Van Zandt and his famous front man, Bruce Springsteen, happened to be in the house.

That night, Van Zandt promised Love that they would make an album together. "It was an injustice that nobody was getting a chance to hear her up front, as far as I was concerned...injustice bothers, you know what I mean?" said Van Zandt.

But fate would keep them from doing it - Darlene landed a role in the "Lethal Weapon" movies and a recurring performance on David Letterman.

Van Zandt also had his own career, touring with his band and starring in HBO's "The Sopranos."

Then finally after 35 years, the time was right. Van Sandt now has his own radio station, network, and record company.

Darlene also got a little help from Stevie's friends - Paul Schaffer, Elvis Costello and even Bruce Springsteen wrote songs. They squeezed seven horn players into Stevie's New York studio to give Darlene the biggest sound of her life. Van Zandt says the rest was in the hands of a higher power.

"I had a feeling of unfinished business in my mind, as well as the friendship. That music lifted me and saved my life," said Van Sandt. "So I always felt an obligation...you know, a gratitude to say 'thank you' any way I could."

Love says her new album reads like a storybook of her life.

"It starts with a gospel song, it ends with a gospel song. And in between all the troubles that you went through," said Love. "And it's not over yet - that's the great part. It's not the end, it's just another chapter."