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Saturday, 24 December 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 359 - A Christmas Gift For You...

I want to say a big thank you to everyone who visited Soundtrack4life over the past year. Hopefully you have found something here that has given you a great listening experience.

Also would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas time. I hope you enjoy today's choice as much as I have.

A Christmas Gift For You From Philles Records - Various Artists
Philles Records
Produced by Phil Spector
Released 22nd Nomember 1963
US Chart #13

Side 1

Side 2

1972 Reissue
Apple Records
US Billboard Christmas Albums Sales Chart #6
UK Chart #19*

* It did enter the UK Charts in 1972 but I do not know at what position. #19 was its placing when it re-entered the chart in 1983!

Single from the Album
Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) / Harry And Milt Meet Hal B.
Phillies Records (119)
Produced by Phil Spector
Released December 1963
Did Not Chart

Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) / Winter Wonderland
Phillies Records (X-125)
Produced by Phil Spector
Released November 1964
Did Not Chart


So, for Christmas Eve I thought there can only be one Christmas Album worth playing. Anyone who knows me is aware that I am not a huge fan at all of Christmas music especially when it is played weeks and weeks before the event. But this year I have managed to survive without actually hearing an awful lot of Christmas music, having only really with purpose played Slade's Merry Christmas Everybody and The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl's Fairytale Of New York (and a fine cover of it by Chuck Ragan and Emily Barker that I heard via my friend Rue yesterday) so far this year and so I can say with some sense of delight that I have really enjoyed listening to this classic album again without being worn down by the over abundance of Christmas tunes!

In 2003, the album was voted 142 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys has cited this album as his favorite of all time. Which is quite funny as apparently he had wanted to play piano on Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town but was rejected for his low performing ability!

One of the things I find quite remarkable is that the only single released from the album, Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home), sung by Darlene Love never charted, both times it was released! Amazing and yet it is considered to be one of The Most Iconic Christmas Pop Songs of All Time. In December 2010, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) first on its list of The Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs, noting that "nobody can match Love's emotion and sheer vocal power."

According to Darlene Love the song was originally going to be sung by Ronnie Spector of The Ronettes. Ronnie didn't project the emotion the song required and so Darlene was brought into the studio to record her version and it is now one of her signature songs! You sometimes wonder what the history of the song would have been like if Ronnie Spector had been able to deliver the punch when required! History, and this particular album though will forever read that it is Darlene Love who recoreded it and I don't think anyone would have imagined what would happen to the song afterwards!

Beginning in 1986, and continuing for 29 years, Darlene Love performed the song annually on the final new episode before Christmas of Late Night with David Letterman (NBC 1986-92) and Late Show with David Letterman (CBS 1993–2014), 28 times in all. The exception was 2007, when Love was unable to perform due to the Writers' Strike; a repeat of her 2006 performance was shown instead.

She performed the song with Paul Shaffer and the show's house band (The World's Most Dangerous Band at NBC, the CBS Orchestra at CBS). The band had been augmented over the years by strings and other instruments, as well as a full choir. In 2000, the US Air Force Singing Sergeants were the choir. One of the highlights of the performances was a sax solo by band member Bruce Kapler, who would make his entrance in entertaining ways, including being pulled in on Santa's sleigh, "flying" from the rafters on wires, walking down the steps of the audience risers, and appearing in a giant snow globe. It was known that Love's last appearance on Letterman's show would air on December 19, 2014, as Letterman had announced his retirement from hosting The Late Show. In addition to the publicity and anticipation for this final performance, Love's original version of the song reappeared on the Billboard charts, peaking at No. 21 on the publication's Holiday Digital Songs chart.

Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)
Down through the years on Late Night and The Late Show with David Letterman.

Ten Cover Versions of Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) - and none of them are by Mariah Carey, Little Mix or Michael Bublé!

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!
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