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!

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 Song: “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby & Marjorie Reynolds (from HOLIDAY INN)

Irving Berlin’s beloved Christmas classic was first introduced in the 1942 film HOLIDAY INN, starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds, and Virginia Dale. Bing and Marjorie (dubbed by radio singer Martha Mears) croon the perennial yuletide tune by the fire, which forever became associated with Crosby. Though many have covered it, nobody sings “White Christmas” like Bing! Enjoy “White Christmas”, and Merry Christmas to all!:

12 Days of Random Christmas Songs: “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late”) by Alvin and the Chipmunks

Alvin, Simon, and Theodore, collectively known as The Chipmunks, have been around a long time! Created by Ross Bagdasarian (under the pseudonym Dave Seville), “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” was a #1 hit in 1958, and even earned three Grammy Awards! Get ready to enjoy the squeaky trio as they trill their first big hit!:

12 Days of Random Christmas Songs: “Monster Holiday” by Lon Chaney Jr (Tower Records 1964)

Around the time he was making SPIDER BABY, horror movie icon Lon Chaney Jr. recorded “Monster Holiday”, a cover of Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s yuletide follow up to “The Monster Mash”. Chaney’s certainly no Bing Crosby, but he sounds like he’s having a lot of fun! Backed by LA session musicians The Wrecking Crew, enjoy Lon croaking “Monster Holiday”!:

12 Days of Random Christmas Songs: “Hooray for Santa Claus!” (Theme from SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS)

1964’s SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS ranks up there with the all-time greatest films, alongside giants like Ford, Welles, Kubrick, Hitchcock… okay, so that’s not entirely true. The low-budget kiddie movie consistently ranks among the worst films ever made, though I kinda like it myself! And I absolutely LOVE the title theme written by Milton DeLugg, “Hooray for Santa Claus”, though I still can’t figure out why the kid chorus sings it as ‘Santy’, not Santa. Oh well, enjoy this classic slice of Christmas cheese:

12 Days of Random Christmas Songs: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland (from MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS)

Judy Garland introduced the world to the Hugh Martin/Ralph Blane classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in the 1944 film MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, directed by her then-husband Vincente Minnelli. There have been countless cover versions over the decades, but no one does the tune quite like Judy! Bask in the glow of her warm voice and enjoy!: