Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) is a Christmas holiday song originally sung by Darlene Love and included on the 1963 Christmas compilation album, A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records. The song was written by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry along with Phil Spector, with the intentions of being sung by Ronnie Spector of The Ronettes. According to Darlene Love, Ronnie Spector was not able to put as much emotion into the song as needed. Instead, Love was brought into the studio to record the song which became a big success over time and one of Darlene Love’s signature tunes.
In December 2010, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) first on its list of The Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs, saying that “nobody can match Love’s emotion and sheer vocal power.”
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) was not widely recognized after its initial release; however, it has since been covered many times by different artists over the years. The first cover was recorded by Quiet Jungle in 1968 for the LP The Story Of Snoopy’s Christmas.
The second and most widely known was recorded by U2 in July 1987 during a sound check at a stop during their Joshua Tree Tour in Glasgow, Scotland. Darlene Love provided backing vocals for U2, and the song was eventually released on the A Very Special Christmas compilation album in 1987, and later on the Unreleased & Rare album on The Complete U2 digital box set in 2004.
A Very Special Christmas is the first in a series of Christmas-themed compilation albums produced to benefit Special Olympics. The album was released in 1987, and production was overseen by Jimmy Iovine for A&M Records. A Very Special Christmas has also raised millions of dollars for the Special Olympics. The cover artwork was designed by Keith Haring.
On January 16, 1998, the album was certified Quadruple Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipment of four million copies in the United States.
Editor’s Note: This is my favorite version of the song, by far. I love the hint of Elvis that meets up with a blues-rock feel that is all tied up together in that unique U2 sound. This was the first holiday album I ever owned, and it is one I never tire of listening to. Though I mostly prefer the classic standards that I grew up hearing at my Grandparents’ house every season (Mitch Miller, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby), of the more pop/rock selections, it was this album’s compilation of songs and artists that I love the most.