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|
"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" is a rock song originally sung by Darlene Love and included on the 1963 seasonal compilation album, A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records. The song was written by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry (Phil Spector also is co-credited), with the intention 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 her signature tunes. Love's later song, "All Alone on Christmas", which was used in the 1992 Christmas movie, Home Alone 2, referenced the song.
In December 2010, Rolling Stone magazine ranked "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" first on its list of The Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs, noting that "nobody can match Love's emotion and sheer vocal power."
As an example of the track's staying power, it reached #45 on the Billboard Holiday Airplay chart in 2016.
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), 28 times in all. The exception was in 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 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 a sax solo by band member Bruce Kapler, who would make his entrance in entertaining ways, including being pulled in on Santa's 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. In addition to the publicity and anticipation for this final performance, Love's original version of the song reappeared on the Billboard charts, peaking at No. 21 on the publication's Holiday Digital Songs chart.
Love also performed the song on December 24, 2013 in front of traders at the New York Stock Exchange as the market closed for the day.
The song has been used in several movies – including during the main titles of Gremlins, in a scene in GoodFellas in which some of the characters spend money from the Lufthansa Heist on lavish gifts, in Christmas with the Kranks, in the 2012 ABC Family TV movie The Mistle-Tones, and most recently in the 2017 Hallmark Channel TV movie Christmas Getaway.
"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 was not released to the public until 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, 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 song was recorded by U2 in July 1987 during a sound check in Glasgow, Scotland during their Joshua Tree Tour. Darlene Love provided backing vocals,. The song was released on the A Very Special Christmas compilation in 1987, and on the Unreleased & Rare album in 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 for her 1994 album Merry Christmas. The digital single reached No. 59 on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart in 2011, and has sold more than 200,000 copies.
Cher, one of the original background singers at the Phil Spector studio session with Darlene Love, covered the song 36 years later in a dance version for A Rosie Christmas in 1999. The track featured vocals by Rosie O'Donnell using the Auto-Tune effect that had been used in Cher's hit "Believe".
Other versions include those released by Lady Antebellum, The Mavericks, Dion, Michael Bublé, Jon Bon Jovi, Hanson, Little Mix, Foo Fighters, Death Cab for Cutie, Lucy Hale, Melissa Etheridge, the Raveonettes, Jars of Clay, Anberlin, Slow Club, Josh Ramsay, Leona Lewis, Olivia Holt, Noah Cyrus and Smash Mouth, among many others.
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|
|US Billboard Holiday Songs (Holiday 100)||30|
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. Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. 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.
- "Holiday Songs: Week of December 10 ,2014". Billboard. November 29, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.