suntimes
SPOTTY 
Weather Updates

What brought Darlene Love to Chicago? The government shutdown

CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING

When: 5 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington

Admission : Free

Updated: December 27, 2013 6:05AM



David Letterman will officially be jealous.

That’s because his annual holiday crush, soul crooner Darlene Love (the voice behind a number of killer songs in the Phil Spector songbook), is the headlining performer at the city’s 100th annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The ceremony begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Daley Plaza.

Here’s some background: The New Yorker has performed “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on “Late Show with David Letterman” for 27 years and is gearing up for her Dec. 20 performance. She’s also the finally-got-her-just-rewards star of “20 Feet from Stardom,” an Oscar buzzworthy documentary about the lives of legendary background singers.

Q. Why did you decide to attend this tree ceremony?

A. They slipped it in on me! I was supposed to do the White House Christmas tree lighting, but after they went through the shutdown, we never heard back from them so we figured, “Oh well. The people from Chicago are calling ...”

Q. Tell me about this year’s “Late Show” performance?

A. It’s so funny because it gets bigger and bigger each year. One year Paul Shaffer called and said we’re using the singing sergeants, so they had the military singers come. I never know until I get there. Isn’t it amazing? At first they wouldn’t call me. Then they would call me but wouldn’t call until the last minute. Then David decided he wasn’t gonna do a Christmas show unless I sang that song. Now? They call me months in advance.

Q. Do you ever tire of singing the song? Is it your favorite?

A. The fans are what makes this all so special. People actually stop me on the street and say, “Christmas doesn’t start until you sing this song.” However, “Silent Night” is actually my favorite Christmas song. I do a gospel version of it.

Email: agibbs@suntimes.com

Twitter: @adriennewrites



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.