Darlene Love’s ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’ Is 50 Years Old, Still Wonderful
Everything about a good Christmas song is getting a hit of that sweet, sweet nostalgia. You know the feeling. A little kick of familiarity. A fragment of some holiday memory that might be yours, might be from a television show, or might not exist at all, but it doesn’t matter, because it does the trick.
Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” is one of those perfect songs. Everyone knows the song – either from the U2 version (which Love actually sang backup on) or the Mariah Carey version (which is fine, but has the fatal flaw of not actually being Darlene Love) or from Love’s annual performance of the song on the David Letterman show. In someone else’s hands, the every year thing might get tedious or rote, but Darlene Love is one of the greatest vocalists the pop era has produced, and 50 years (!!!) after the song was first recorded, she still sings it with all the infectious Christmas enthusiasm you could ever hope to pack into five minutes.
Also, if you are not already an enormous fan of Darlene Love’s non-Christmas-y work, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?? For an awesome overview of all the things Love sang on, you really can’t do better than seeing 20 Feet from Stardom,Morgan Neville’s documentary about Love and other backup singers.
Oh – there’s approximately one million versions of Love singing “Christmas” on Letterman out there on YouTube, and I may or may not have watched all of them today. You probably should too.