The Georgia Straight's musical advent calendar for Christmas 2018—Day 17: Darlene Love
Phil Spector is famous for a lot of things, not all of them nice. He allegedly held the Ramones hostage during the recording of End of the Century, and pulled a gun on Leonard Cohen in the studio. His ex-wife, Ronnie Spector, tells harrowing tales of psychological torment during her marriage to him. Oh, and he's also currently serving 19 years to life in California state prison for the murder of Lana Clarkson.
So maybe Spector isn't much of a role model. He was, however, a brilliant record producer, and in 1963 he released what is arguably the greatest Christmas album of all time, A Christmas Gift for You. That LP included the song "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)", which was released as a single but failed to chart. In spite of its initial lack of success, the song has become a seasonal classic.
In 1986, Love sang the song on Late Night With David Letterman. This began an annual tradition, with Love returning each year to Letterman's show to perform the song. The final such performance aired on December 19, 2014. (Love subsequently began singing "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) on The View every year.)
Here are Love's first and last Letterman appearances, plus a montage of many of the others throughout the years.