Darlene Love has been appearing on the David Letterman Show every Christmas week since 1986, always singing the same song, ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’. I watched most of them. I caught the 2013 version this year as well.
She is one of my favorite “girl group” singers from the 60’s
The productions now are quite spectacular vs. 1986. Here is the 1986 rendition.
Broadway World has many interesting details.
The legendary Darlene Love, who’s become a Late Show with David Letterman holiday staple, returned to the hit show this week for her annual performance of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” with Paul Shaffer. Love, who’s appeared in Broadway’s HAIRSPRAY and GREASE, first took to Letterman’s stage in 1986.
From her first number one recording, “He’s A Rebel,” through her string of label hits with legendary producer Phil Spector, including “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “He’s Sure The Boy I’m Gonna Marry,” and “Christmas Baby Please Come Home” to the countless songs she sang backup on for artists like Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, Dionne Warwick, Cher,Luther Vandross and Aretha Franklin, Darlene Love is still blazing a trail of success in the music industry and has been nominated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Her albums include Age of Miracles, recorded live in New York City, her first gospel album; Unconditional Love released by Harmony records.
Over the course of her career Darlene has been hailed as one of the greatest singers in pop music by such music legends as Cher, Better Midler and the legendary Luther Vandross. She has proven herself a talented actress as well on stage and screen, starring as Danny Glover’s wife in all of the Lethal Weapon films and lighting-up Broadway in such musicals as Grease and the Tony Award-nominated Leader of the Pack. Darlene also starred for three years on Broadway as Motormouth Maybelle in the Tony Award-winning musical Hairspray.
Darlene Love (Wright; born July 26, 1941) is an American popular music singer and actress. She gained prominence in the 1960s for the song “He’s a Rebel,” a No. 1 American single in 1962, and was one of the Phil Spector artists who produced a celebrated Christmas album in 1963.
She appears in the documentary film 20 Feet From Stardom (2013), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
She began singing with her local church choir in Hawthorne, California. While still in high school (1959) she was invited to join a little-known girl group called The Blossoms, who in 1962 began working with producer Phil Spector. With her powerful voice she was soon a highly sought-after vocalist, and managed to work with many of the legends of 1950s and 1960s rock and soul, including Sam Cooke, Dionne Warwick, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones and Sonny and Cher; Darlene and the Blossoms sang back-up vocals on the Shelley Fabares hit “Johnny Angel”, Sharon Marie (Esparza) (a Brian Wilson act), as well as John Phillips’ solo album John, Wolfking of L.A., recorded in 1969. They also appeared on Johnny Rivers’ hits, including “Poor Side of Town” and Motown covers “Baby I Need Your Loving” and “The Tracks of My Tears”. (The Blossoms recorded singles, usually with little success, on Capitol 1957-58 [pre-Darlene Love], Challenge 1961-62, OKeh 1963, Reprise 1966-67, Ode 1967, MGM 1968, Bell 1969-70, and Lion 1972.)
Hurriedly recorded and released by Spector in November 1962 under the name of The Crystals in order to get his version of the Gene Pitney song onto the market before that of Vikki Carr, the single “He’s a Rebel” actually featured Love singing lead for the first time on a Spector recording, backed by The Blossoms. The ghost release of this single came as a total surprise to The Crystals who were an experienced and much traveled girl harmony group in their own right, but they were nevertheless required to perform and promote the new single on television and on tour as if it were their own. The less successful “He’s Sure The Boy I Love” was the only other release by Spector under the name of The Crystals which featured Love on vocals again backed by the Blossoms.
Subsequently Love recorded “Today I Met The Boy I’m Gonna Marry” which was released as a single by Spector, and now featured Love’s name as the artist. She says that Spector offered $3,000 for her rights to the song. And though he said it was going to be a hit, she took the money. But, in spite of that decision, she said that she has continued to have a career because people have loved hearing her sing her songs. She was also part of a trio called Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, who recorded a cover version of “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”, an Oscar-winning song from the 1946 Walt Disney film, Song of the South, which got into the Top 10 in 1963. The Blossoms landed a weekly part on Shindig!, one of the top music shows of the era. They were part of the highly acclaimed Elvis Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special, which aired on NBC.
“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” is a song by Darlene Love from the 1963 holiday compilation album, A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector. The song was written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, along with Phil Spector, with the intention of being sung by Ronnie Spector of The Ronettes. According to 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.
Wikipedia has many more details on TV, Broadway, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays
From Me: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock