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The Crystals' LaLa Brooks Is Back

The girl-group icon has a new album, a new life and 6 grandkids

On the Supremes

"On Dick Clark's tour we were with Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Shirley & the Shirelles, the Dixie Cups. And the Supremes were with us before they had any hits. We'd go on after them because we were more of the stars because we had hits out, but then on that same five-month tour Dick Clark had to switch us because the Supremes' record kept going up the charts. I think they had three number ones by the end of the tour."

After the Crystals

"I went to Broadway. I was in the original cast of Hair. Diane Keaton played Sheila, and she and I shared a dressing room for about two years. She was the sweetest, most beautiful person you'd ever want to meet. After I did Hair I was in Two Gentlemen of Verona with Raul Julia. Then I lived in England with my husband [Leo Morris], he was a drummer; we later moved to Vienna and I had a radio show where I played music from the '40s to '60s. Now I live in the East Village, and I love it, because it's all crazy — I mean, I could wear turtles on my head! I have four kids, my oldest son is 46, and I have six grandkids. I'm peaceful and I'm happy."

On singing 'Da Doo Ron Ron'

"That's the fun song — it gives me energy to do the harder stuff, where you have to dig deep [to play someone else's music]. I do the Rolling Stones' 'Beast of Burden'; U2, 'Where the Streets Have No Name'; Tina Turner's 'Proud Mary.' "

If not an entertainer

"I would have loved to have been a schoolteacher. I've been in show business since I was 12, so it's the only avenue I knew."

On faith

"I'm very spiritual. … If I have any kind of problem, I'll get on my knees. The last song on the new album, 'You Gave Me Love' — people will think it's a love song, but it's about the Creator. I wrote the lyrics, I wrote the music."

Defying expectations

"People expect someone who's 66 not to have the energy and endurance and the fun. I think they're shocked by [my] energy. My doing this album is like me standing up for older people and saying, 'You know what? We can do something. We can sing. Just don't throw us away.' That's the way I feel."

Christina Ianzito writes on entertainment and lifestyle topics for AARP Media.

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