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Legendary backup vocalist Darlene Love steps to the front

Darlene Love entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 and is featured in the recent film “20 Feet From Stardom.”
Darlene Love entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 and is featured in the recent film “20 Feet From Stardom.” Tony Dejak/AP/file 2012

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The singer Darlene Love’s struggles, and eventual renaissance, are at the heart of “20 Feet From Stardom,” a new documentary about the hard-won victories and struggles of backup singers, artists whose names aren’t on the marquee but should be.

Love is credited as a pioneer of the art form, starting with her work in the early 1960s with the Blossoms, who are considered the first group of black backing singers. Their voices are imprinted all over popular music, from recordings by the Righteous Brothers and Sam Cooke to going on the road with Marvin Gaye and countless others.

Love is downright tickled to note that she’s now on the road again under her own name. She has performances at the Big E, the annual state fair in West Springfield, on Sunday and Monday with shows at 3 and 8 p.m.

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