Merry Christmas, Darlene

The first version of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” that I knew was a cover by U2 that was on the 1987 album A Very Special Christmas. I loved the song even though I was unaware of Darlene Love’s masterful original.

In the nearly thirty years since, I’ve become very aware of Darlene Love’s version, as much from her appearances on David Letterman’s show as from the preponderance of all-Christmas radio stations in the past fifteen years. I learned that a not-yet-famous Sonny & Cher were on the original recording. He played drums and she sang backup.

With Letterman’s upcoming retirement, this is the last year Darlene Love will perform the Christmas classic on his show. I love the amount of detail involved in staging the song. Extra musicians are brought in. Snow falls from the rafters. They even have stairs for Love and a saxophone player to climb up and stand on the piano.

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