Things are changing for Darlene Love.
Oh, sure, she's still doing her "Love for the Holidays" show. The celebration of Christmas music she has done off and on for decades -- ever since her legendary performance of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" for Phil Spector's classic "A Christmas Gift for You" album in 1963 -- is bigger than ever, taking her to Landmark on Main Street on Sunday for the fourth year in a row before visiting David Letterman's late night show for the 29th (and likely final) time.
"I look forward to it every year," Love says, calling from a tour stop in Austin, Texas. "I love doing it. It's such a good time."
However, for years, Love has told fans of her holiday shows, "You know, there are 10 other months in the year that you could see me."
And now Love seems to be getting her non-holiday wish.
She just wrapped up work on her first solo album in 16 years, with Steven Van Zandt producing and pals like Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello contributing new songs. "We started on it this summer ... and it should be out in January or February," she said. "It's a very unusual project, but it's really going to let the world know who Darlene Love is."
After all, while many know her voice from "He's a Rebel" as part of The Crystals or from "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" with Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, it's relatively recently that people are learning her name. Her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame helped. So did her Oscar acceptance speech for "20 Feet From Stardom," which won best documentary this year.
"I don't expect all people to know me," she said, laughing. "But that could change. When I was in the 'Lethal Weapon' movies, people just thought I was a new actress."
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More people also will learn her story when the movie adaptation of her memoir "My Name Is Love ... Darlene Love" airs on OWN early next year, with Toni Braxton playing her. "I think she's gonna be great," Love says. "We've gone through a lot of the same things. ... The one thing she said is that she's gonna have to get my laugh right."
Love plans a non-holiday tour early next year to support her solo album. But that doesn't mean she will give up her holiday work. One thing that will change, though, is her annual appearance on Letterman's show, since the host plans to retire next year.
"I think it's gonna be so sad," Love says, when asked about her upcoming final "Late Show" holiday appearance. "I've been doing it for 28 years. It's such a big part of my life. It's meant so much to me. I plan to ask David, 'What are we gonna do from now on?' If he wants me to come to his house to sing, I will."
WHO Darlene Love
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Sunday, Landmark on Main Street, 232Main St., Port Washington
INFO $62-$72; 516-767-1384, landmarkonmainstreet.org