The song was written by music business heavyweights Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, and Phil Spector. It was released on Spector’s 1963 album A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records. Darlene Love recorded it for the album, and what a powerful, emotional performance it is to express the heartache and yearning that goes with love and with the season. The song was originally written with Ronnie Spector of the Ronettes, but Darlene owned that performance.
The album was released on the terrible, ill-fated day of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. That is, it was released on November 22, 1963. The nation was in mourning and had other things on its mind. Subsequent releases were more commercially successful, particularly the reissue on Apple Records in 1972.
For Darlene Love, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” has become one of her signature songs. She performed it annually on Late Night with David Letterman (1986-1992) and then the Late Show with David Letterman (1993-2014). The one exception was 2007 when there was a Writer’s Strike, and then they aired a repeat of the 2006 performance. Rolling Stone magazine has ranked Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” first on its list of The Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs.
Darlene Love (b. 1941 in Hawthorne, CA) has had a long career working with many different artists. In 1959, she joined The Blossoms and began singing for producer Phil Spector in 1962. Love has worked with The Crystals, Sam Cooke, Dionne Warwick, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, Sonny and Cher, Shelley Fabares, Johnny Rivers, John Phillips, and Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans. And she continues to tour and perform.