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December 16, 2014 12:57 PM   Subscribe

This Friday, Darlene Love will perform "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" on David Letterman's show for the 28th and last time. She's performed it every year since 1986, on both Late Night with David Letterman and the Late Show with David Letterman. Here's a supercut compilation of her performances.

Some of the individual performances are also available:
1986, 1993, 1995, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006, (2007 was cancelled due to writer's strike), 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

(Darlene Love previously.)
posted by Shmuel510 (21 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
This being Darlene Love's last Christmas performance on Letterman was literally the first thing I thought of when I heard he was retiring. It's a damned tragedy.
posted by joelhunt at 1:09 PM on December 16, 2014 [8 favorites]

It also means Paul Shaffer's final time telling his Cher story
posted by evilcolonel at 1:12 PM on December 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

Is Paul retiring also?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:14 PM on December 16, 2014

Is Paul retiring also?

Well he's not going to be on the new show, I'm pretty sure.
posted by evilcolonel at 1:15 PM on December 16, 2014

What about the dude who throws the football at the meatball that is perched atop the Christmas tree?
posted by beau jackson at 1:30 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

What about the dude who throws the football at the meatball that is perched atop the Christmas tree?

That would be Jay Thomas telling his lone ranger story and hitting the meatball every year.
posted by Benway at 1:41 PM on December 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

I get the feeling Letterman has spent the last 30 years questing for a live arrangement of "Christmas" that can match the original cut's sonic density. Maybe this year he'll go all the way: fill the entire Ed Sullivan Theater with session musicians, bring in an actual cathedral carillon, haul a 21-year-old Leon Russell out of a wormhole and sit him down in front of the world's biggest piano.
posted by Iridic at 1:57 PM on December 16, 2014 [5 favorites]

Every time I hear that Jay Thomas story about the Lone Ranger, I laugh so hard I cry. Its like I forget about the story until I'm hearing it.

And Darlene Love sounds so consistently amazing year after year. One of the few Christmas songs I can stomach and its only when she sings it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:03 PM on December 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

My dad and I inexplicably watch this episode, the one with Jay Thomas and Darlene Love, every year. Neither of us watches Letterman any other day. It's the end of one of our more bizarre Christmas traditions.

The Spector Christmas album A Christmas Gift for You (the title of which always reminds me of this ridiculous line from Seinfeld) is one of the best albums - Christmas or no - ever released, in my admittedly questionable opinion (although I appear to agree with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys on this point, who went a bit Kanye and pronounced it his favorite album of all time). It was a total flop when it was released on November 22, 1963; the nation was a bit preoccupied. But now it's a classic. It's available as a YouTube playlist.
posted by sockermom at 2:26 PM on December 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

"And then the Lone Ranger gets outta the car!"
posted by Servo5678 at 3:41 PM on December 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

This song is beautiful because it will always remind me of Gremlins
posted by Brainy at 4:48 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

That supercut compilation is very well done!
My stepson's mom is a very talented and cool woman who sings back-up for this almost every year- it was especially fun to watch her hairstyles change.
posted by stagewhisper at 6:08 PM on December 16, 2014 [9 favorites]

This song is beautiful because it will always remind me of Gremlins

Can I just say how much I love the opening to Gremlins? You get this great little self-contained prologue with Rand Peltzer in dank, dark Chinatown buying Gizmo and the introduction of the three rules which then cuts right into the completely thematically different setting of sunny, happy Kingston Falls at Christmas set to"Baby Please Come Home". It's one of my absolute favorite film openings of all time.
posted by Servo5678 at 6:41 PM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

And then Rockin' Ricky Rialto shows up and-- it's the Real Don Steele doing his thing!
posted by Spatch at 7:37 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

In my next life I'm going be Darlene Love in that 1993 version. Oh, to able to sing like that!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 7:58 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I adore this song and that Spector sound, and Love just nails these performances.

Seeing that one from 1986 with the original World's Most Dangerous Band (plus David Sandborn) just reminds me how much more I liked the show in the NBC years. The other interesting thing is to listen to the changes in the audio mix. Sometime in the '00s the vocals start to get buried just Spector liked to do and like everything is these days on television, even on singing contest shows.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:49 AM on December 17, 2014

It's not that he buried vocals. What happened was that producers learned how to use equalizers to fill the entire frequency range of the mix while allowing all the instruments to take up their own space. What you have to do, then, is treat the voice like an instrument, so you filter out the frequencies that step on, say, the horns. The voice sounds thinner, but the whole piece, if done properly sounds more whole, as if the band is singing in unison. It gives you goosebumps if done properly, with some dynamics to the volume, especially. If you just mix everything at full volume, it sounds muddy or obnoxious or both.
posted by empath at 8:49 AM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

This song is making me feel extremely wonderful today. I had no idea Darlene was still alive, let alone doing this. Thanks very much for posting.
posted by ZipRibbons at 1:12 AM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Last night's performance: 2014
posted by Shmuel510 at 6:48 AM on December 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Boy, she's still got it, doesn't she? Last night's performance must have been so emotional for everyone there. Apparently Darlene got on top of the piano so she wouldn't have to burst into tears when Dave hugged her at the end. So great.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 12:20 PM on December 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

From this article:

"Steven Van Zandt, the guitarist and member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, offered a succinct explanation of why Ms. Love has endured in popular music.

“It’s real simple,” he said with a laugh. “She’s the greatest singer in the world.”"

Seriously. That is so true.
posted by JanetLand at 3:14 PM on December 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

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