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the Darlene Love Christmas Tradition

Darlene Love performed Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) every year on Late Show with David Letterman for 28 years.

In the 1960s Darlene Love sang as part of the Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, for whom she sang both lead as well as background vocals on a host of hit songs. She’s the uncredited lead vocalist on The Crystals’ 1962 hit He’s a Rebel, she sang background on The Ronettes’ Be My Baby, she sang background on the Elvis ’68 Comeback Special, etc. Darlene Love’s voice can be heard all over the hit songs of the ‘60s.

A Christmas Tradition

In 1963 Love sang on A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector. The album is packed with great songs but Darlene Love’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) is a masterpiece. While it wasn’t a hit at the time (it was released the same day as the Kennedy assassination) it’s become a Christmas standard. Basically, before Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You, there was Darlene Love’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).

Despite her talent Love’s career stalled in the 1970s and she found herself cleaning houses for a living. She’s said that she heard her own Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) on the radio while cleaning a home and decided she had to stage a comeback – enter David Letterman. In 1986 Letterman invited Love to perform Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) on his show which became an annual tradition. For the next 29 years Love came back every year to perform the song (with the exception of 2007 during the writer’s strike). This Christmas tradition earned her the nickname of the “Christmas Queen”. In 2011 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Added info: During her comeback, Love sang backup on the cover of her own song when she sang background vocals on the 1987 U2 version of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). Love has also had an acting career, notably playing Roger Murtaugh’s (Danny Glover’s) wife in the Lethal Weapon series.

Darlene Love’s final performance of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) on the Letterman show in 2014.

A compilation of performances of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) on the Letterman show.