Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Again: “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love (Phillies Records 1963)

Like last week’s “Christmas Wrapping”, the song “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home” made it’s debut on a compilation album, 1963’s “A Christmas Gift to You from Phil Spector”:

The label’s head honcho, ‘Wall of Sound’ producer Phil Spector (we won’t get into his later sordid life – it’s Christmas!), originally wanted his then-wife Ronnie to sing the Elle Greenwich/Jeff Barry (the duo responsible for rock classics like “Be My Baby”, “Da Doo Ron Ron”, “Leader of the Pack”, “Hanky Panky”, and “River Deep – Mountain High”) penned tune. But Ronnie couldn’t give Phil quite what he wanted, so backup singer Darlene Love of The Blossoms was called in – and nailed it!

Darlene Love in the studio with Phil Spector, 1963

Darlene Love sang background vocals on many of the era’s hits (Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett’s “The Monster Mash”, The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”, Johnny Rivers’ “Poor Side of Town”, Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life”), and sang lead on the #1 smash “He’s a Rebel” under the name The Crystals (who were actually The Blossoms). After taking a break from performing in the 70’s, she returned to the spotlight, singing in clubs and on tour, and from 1986-2014, sang her Christmas classic annually on David Letterman’s show:

Darlene also has acted, appearing as Danny Glover’s wife in the LETHAL WEAPON movies, starred on Broadway, and was featured in the 2013 rock doc 20 FEET FROM STARDOM. So now that you know more than you ever wanted to know about “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” and Darlene Love – enjoy! And Merry Christmas!

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Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree: “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses (ZE Records 1981)

Tis the season for Christmas music, and today we have New Wave rockers The Waitresses with their peppy little classic “Christmas Wrapping”:

The song first appeared on a ZE Records compilation album called “A Christmas Album” featuring artists like Suicide and Was (Not Was).  Since it’s release, it’s become a Yuletide standard on Classic Rock Radio, featured in movies and ads, and covered by the likes of The Donnas, Kylie Minogue, Spice Girls, Bella Thorne, and the cast of GLEE. The Waitresses had another hit that still gets plenty of airplay, “I Know What Boys Like”:

The band was formed by Akron, Ohio’s Chris Butler, formerly of the punk group Tin Huey, and included the late Patty Donahue on lead vocals, Mars Williams (sax), Dan Klayman (keyboards), Dave Hofstra (bass), Ariel Warner (backup vocals), and ex-Television drummer Billy Ficca. The Waitresses also  recorded the theme to the ahead-of-it’s-time sitcom SQUARE PEGS before breaking up in 1984:

Though short lived, The Waitresses left us with a catchy, danceable Christmas classic that’ll be around for years to come.

“Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas/Couldn’t miss this one this year”!

12 Days of Random Christmas Songs: SNOOPY’S CHRISTMAS by The Royal Guardsmen (Laurie Records 1967)

Florida rockers The Royal Guardsmen soared up the charts like a Sopwith Camel with their 1966 hit “Snoopy Vs The Red Baron”. A year later, the band released ‘Snoopy’s Christmas”, a holiday follow-up featuring everyone’s favorite WWI flying ace and his arch enemy The Red Baron calling a yuletide truce on Christmas Eve. The song went to #1 on Billboard’s Christmas specialty charts, and still gets airplay around this time of year! Enjoy “Snoopy’s Christmas”!: