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      ............ ........ .. This is the official MySpace profile for La La Brooks, the former original lead singer of Phil Spector's girl group "The Crystals". I look forward to adding new friends and meeting all of you that come out and see me. ...... Like so many other great... read more

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      Other Tour Dates (1)
      Mar 21 Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts Cerritos, California
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      Bio

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      This is the official MySpace profile for La La Brooks, the former original lead singer of Phil Spector's girl group "The Crystals". I look forward to adding new friends and meeting all of you that come out and see me.

      ......

      Like so many other great musical talents, Brooks began by singing gospel in church. At age seven she and her ten other siblings formed the Little Gospel Tears in their native Brooklyn. At 12, she was discovered in her after school program at P.S. 73 by the mother of one of The Crystals (they already had a hit with “There’s No Other Like My Baby”). The school secretary was passing by the music room when she heard Brooks singing. With one of the five Crystals already set to leave the group, Brooks was tapped to take her place as a lead singer. And so in 1960, at the tender age of 13, the touring began.

      The hardest part was playing the segregated South, Brooks recalls. In 1963, the Dick Clark Tour was integrated, with such headliners as the Supremes, the Shirelles, Bobby Rydell and Fabian, to name a few. The white performers stayed at the Sheraton, and the black performers stayed at black motels. “Dick Clark would have to pick us up with the bus on the highway. He was a sweetheart. He felt bad. It made me upset as a teenager because I wasn’t raised that way. My mother never taught us the difference between black and white,” says Brooks. Brooks’ mother was full-blooded Native American, and her father was black.

      But Brooks can look back at that era and keep it in perspective. “Racism made me angry, but the anger turned into something positive because I would meet white people who weren’t like that, and people that were black who were negative in their way,” she says.
      She credits that experience for making her strong. But she stayed out of trouble and harm’s way on tour through a steely resolve rare in someone that age. “I always thought, ‘What would my mother say?’ I thought God was going to punish me. I was afraid of being bad and doing things wrong. I saw lots of people lose their minds, have nervous breakdowns, succumb to drug abuse. I’m not saying that show business was the cause, but it has an effect,” she says. “You can get caught up in it if you don’t have some kind of faith or reserve that makes you pull back. Show business is what it is. It is a business, and it’s a show, and you have to know when to get off the show. If I looked at show business as my whole being, I’d be out there too.”

      This was also the era of economic exploitation. After it passed through the hands of managers and others, the girls received only $75 a week, low even for those days. “But I got a soul and I got spirit,” says the Rock ’n Roll Hall of Famer. “Sometimes money doesn’t mean anything when you wind up a millionaire in rehab.”

      Brooks left the Crystals in 1965 to join the original Broadway cast of “Hair” and is the memorable voice behind “Aquarius.” She later appeared in “Two Gentlemen from Verona” with Raul Julia. She has toured with every major recording artist of the 60s and has made recordings or sung with the Neville Brothers, Bobby Womack, Isaac Hayes, Ben E. King and countless others. She and husband, drummer Idris Muhammad, were married for 35 years before they separated a few years ago. They raised four children and have three grandchildren. They lived in England from 1983 to 1990 and Austria from 1990 to 1997, where they both enjoyed successful careers.

      Brooks appreciated the European attitude towards music and age. “No matter how old you are, they still love your music. You can be an 80-year-old woman, and they would still hire you for some kind of venue. In America, they’d wheel you to a nursing home and tell you to sing for the old people,” she says with a mischievous laugh. Brooks now calls the East Village in Manhattan her home where she can be seen rocking New York City, mainly at the Cutting Room.

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