Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
|"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"|
|Song by Darlene Love from the album A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records|
|Released||November 22, 1963|
|Label||Sony Legacy / Philles|
|Writer(s)||Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector|
|A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records track listing|
"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" is a Christmas holiday rock song originally sung by Darlene Love and included on the 1963 Christmas compilation album, A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records. The song was written by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry along with Phil Spector, with the intentions of being sung by Ronnie Spector of The Ronettes. According to Darlene Love, Ronnie Spector was not able to put as much emotion into the song as needed. Instead, Love was brought into the studio to record the song which became a big success over time and one of Love's signature tunes.
In December 2010, Rolling Stone magazine ranked "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" first on its list of The Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs, saying that "nobody can match Love's emotion and sheer vocal power."
In other media
Beginning in 1986, and continuing for 29 years, Darlene Love performed the song annually on the final new episode before Christmas of Late Night with David Letterman (NBC 1986-92) and Late Show with David Letterman (CBS 1993–2014), for 28 times in all. The exception was 2007, when Love was unable to perform due to the Writers' Strike; a repeat of her 2006 performance was shown instead.
She performed the song with Paul Shaffer and the show's house band (The World's Most Dangerous Band at NBC, the CBS Orchestra at CBS). The band had been augmented over the years by additional strings and other instruments, as well as a full choir. In 2000, the US Air Force Singing Sergeants were the choir. One of the highlights of the performances was the sax solo by band member Bruce Kapler, who would make his entrance in entertaining ways, including pulled in on Santa Claus' sleigh, "flying" from the rafters on wires, walking down the steps of the audience risers, and appearing in a giant snow globe. It was known that Love's last appearance on Letterman's show would air on December 19, 2014, as Letterman had announced his retirement from hosting The Late Show. The publicity and anticipation for this final performance saw Love's original version of the song reappear on the Billboard music charts, peaking at #21 on the publication's Holiday Digital Songs chart.
The song has also been heard in several movies. It was used during the main titles for the film Gremlins. It appeared in a memorable scene in the film GoodFellas, when some of the members of the crew foolishly spend money from the Lufthansa Heist on lavish items, thereby drawing unwanted attention. The song was heard in the film Christmas with the Kranks when Blair Krank returns home.
"Johnny (Baby Please Come Home)"
During the 1963 recording sessions for "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)", Spector thought the track was strong enough to warrant a non-seasonal version, and cut a version titled "Johnny (Baby Please Come Home)" at the same time as "Christmas" (also performed by Darlene Love). This version of the song was first released to the public in January 1977 as the B-side of Love's single "Lord, if You're a Woman" (Phil Spector International catalog number 2010 019). "Johnny (Baby Please Come Home)" was also included on a 1997 European version of Love's 1992 compilation album The Best of Darlene Love (The Philles Recordings) (a.k.a. The Story of Darlene Love, and issued on Brussels' Marginal Records catalog number MAR 074).
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"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" was not widely recognized after its initial release; however, it has since been covered many times by different artists over the years. The earliest cover version was by the Quiet Jungle, for the 1968 LP The Story Of Snoopy's Christmas.
The most widely known cover was recorded by U2 in July 1987 during a sound check at a stop during their Joshua Tree Tour in Glasgow, Scotland. Darlene Love provided backing vocals, and the song was eventually released on the A Very Special Christmas compilation album in 1987, and later on the Unreleased & Rare album on The Complete U2 digital box set in 2004.
Joey Ramone's version appeared on his 2002 album, Christmas Spirit... In My House.
Mariah Carey covered the song as part of her 1994 album Merry Christmas. The digital single sold enough to peak at No. 59 on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart in 2011, and has sold more than 200,000 copies.
A version appears in the 2012 ABC Family TV movie The Mistle-Tones.
Chart positions for the Mariah Carey version
|US Billboard Hot Digital Track||59|
|US Billboard Holiday Songs||44|
|US Billboard Holiday Songs||20|
|US Billboard Holiday Airplay||27|
|US Billboard Holiday Songs (Holiday 100)||37|
|US Billboard Holiday Songs (Holiday 100)||38|
Darlene Love version
- Lead vocals by Darlene Love
- Backing vocals by: Cher and The Blossoms (Fanita James, Darlene Love, Gracia Nitzsche, Edna Wright, and Carolyn Willis)
- Instrumentation by The Wrecking Crew:
- Jack Nitzsche – arrangements, percussion
- Steve Douglas – saxophone
- Jay Migliori – saxophone
- Hal Blaine – drums
- Louis Blackburn – horns
- Leon Russell – piano
- Roy Caton – trumpet
- Sonny Bono – percussion
- Frank Capp – percussion
- Ray Pohlman – bass
- Irv Rubins – guitar
- Barney Kessel – guitar
- Bill Pitman – guitar
- Tommy Tedesco – guitar
- Nino Tempo – guitar
- Johnny Vidor – strings
- Larry Levine – engineer
- Greene, Andy. "The Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2010-12-23.
- "God save the Queen - she's on YouTube!". Contra Costa Times. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
- Late Show with David Letterman behind the scenes video
- "Holiday Songs: Week of December 29,2012". Billboard. November 30, 2012. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
- "Holiday Airplay: Week of December 29, 2012". Billboard. December 6, 2012. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
- "Holiday Songs: Week of December 27,2014". Billboard. December 27, 2014. Retrieved December 20, 2014.