Commentary

Darlene Love Singing Signature Song Is Christmas Tradition

A song of Christmas longing that made almost no impact when it was first released in 1963 has emerged as one of TV’s most irreplaceable traditions at holiday time.

The song is “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” sung then as now by Darlene Love, 81, who has performed this enduring classic on TV in the run-up to Christmas for the better part of 35 years.

This Friday, Love will perform the song once again on “The View” on ABC, which has been her annual Christmas home since 2015 following annual holiday appearances on David Letterman’s late shows since 1986.

That was the year she first appeared on NBC’s “Late Night With David Letterman” just before Christmas, and then returned for every year but one to “Late Night” and then Letterman’s “Late Show” on CBS for a total of 28 years. (A television writers’ strike in 2007 derailed the “Letterman” Christmas show that year.)

Letterman’s last Christmas show was in December 2014 and as usual, Darlene Love sang “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” accompanied by Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra.

It would be the last Christmas show for Letterman, who was due to retire the following spring. Thus ended a Christmas tradition featuring Darlene Love and guest Jay Thomas, who annually shared a personal memory of actor Clayton Moore, the original “Lone Ranger,” that Letterman said was the greatest late-night story ever told, which it was.

Since 2015 when “The View” picked up the slack and continued the Darlene Love Christmas tradition, the singer has been seen at Christmastime on the show every year but one -- 2021 -- when a band member tested positive for COVID-19 and the performance had to be cancelled.

The original “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” was recorded and released in 1963, co-written and produced by Phil Spector in his customary “wall of sound” style.

It was part of a Christmas compilation album called “A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector.” According to Wikipedia, the song found no commercial success until many years later.

Love appeared just last week on “Good Morning America” on ABC, where she sang a new Christmas song, “Grown Up Christmas List,” in a duet with Chris Ruggiero.

In this Friday’s performance of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on “The View,” she will be accompanied by recording artist Rob Thomas.

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