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!

The First (Animated TV) Noel: MR. MAGOO’S CHRISTMAS CAROL (UPA 1962)

Before Rudolph, Charlie Brown, and The Grinch, nearsighted cartoon star Mr. Magoo (voiced by Jim Backus ) headlined the first animated Christmas special, MR. MAGOO’S CHRISTMAS CAROL. First broadcast on NBC-TV in 1962, the special is presented as a Broadway musical, with Magoo as Ebeneezer Scrooge. Directed by Chuck Jones acolyte Abe Levitow , it features songs by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill (FUNNY GIRL), and a voice cast that includes Morey Amsterdam , Jack Cassidy , Royal Dano, Paul Frees (of course!) , Jane Kean, and Les Tremayne. And yes, that is Magoo’s fellow UPA cartoon stablemate Gerald McBoing-Boing as Tiny Tim! Besides 1938’s Reginald Owen version , this may very well be my favorite adaptation of Dickens’ Christmas classic! So here’s my Christmas gift to you all, MR. MAGOO’S CHRISTMAS CAROL in its entirety!:

 

   Merry Christmas from Cracked Rear Viewer!