Rock Hall of Famers, kids celebrate Darlene Love
Singer Darlene Love performs at the "Right To Rock Benefit" at Cipriani Wall Street, on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK (AP) — She's a rebel in stilettos and an ever-present smile.
Fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, along with musicians from Franklin L. Williams Middle School in Jersey City, N.J., helped Darlene Love showcase her high-voltage talents Thursday night as she was honored at a rollicking Manhattan benefit.
"I'm really happy and really excited about what's going on in my life right now; it can't get any better than this," Love, who's a jaw-droppingly youthful 72, said in an interview.
Rock Hallers Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers and Elvis Costello launched the Lovefest benefiting Little Kids Rock, which provides musical instruments and lessons for budget-strapped schools. The charity named its annual Big Man of the Year award for E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons in 2009, two years before he died.
In this June 5th, 2013 photo provided by Little Kids Rock, Darlene Love poses with students at Franklin L. Williams Middle School in Jersey City, N.J., where Love delivered instruments and jammed with the children. On Thursday night,Oct. 17, 2013, fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members honored Love at a New York City benefit for Little Kids Rock, which provides musical instruments and lessons for budget-strapped schools.(AP Photo/Little Kids Rock)
Seeing the "kids' faces light up and the joy they get out of making music" keeps "your energy level up," says Love.
In that environment, "you're either going to be 72 ... or you're going to be a teenager. And I prefer to be a teenager."
The benefit also featured Steven Van Zandt, last year's winner and Love's longtime champion; saxophonist Jake Clemons, the Big Man's nephew; and other members of Bruce Springsteen's musical posse. Paul Shaffer, David Letterman's musical director, took a turn on the keyboard.
Love, who was discovered as a teenager, powered producer Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound." Her resume "almost defies belief," says her Rock Hall biography.