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Category Archives: darlene love

I mean, it’s hard to not be ready when the wind is blowing at you in seven thousand different directions cutting through your big coat and stupid wool hat (+ dumb ear-flap thing) that leaves your hair a stupid crumpled pile of limp blah and thermals and two pairs of socks and mittens and gloves and whatever the hell else you need to put on in order to not resemble a walking frozen hot dog when it’s ball-shriveling season in New York. In other words, I’m going to California, hurrah mid-sixties holidays.

Christmas also means listening to the Phil Spector Christmas record, easily the best Christmas record ever released because you can listen to it year-round and not want to kill yourself. Seriously, it’s that good. I mean, look!:

1. White Christmas – Darlene Love
2. Frosty The Snowman – Ronettes
3. The Bells Of St. Mary – Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans
4. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Crystals
5. Sleigh Ride – Ronettes
6. Marshmallow World – Darlene Love
7. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Ronettes
8. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer – Crystals
9. Winter Wonderland – Darlene Love
10. Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers – Crystals
11. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
12. Here Comes Santa Claus – Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans
13. Silent Night – Phil Spector And Artists

Any record with that much Darlene Love is top-shelf A+ Jim Beam Black Label type shit. The presence of Darlene Love also signals Christmas due to her annual appearances on Letterman singing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” My favorite version, sentimentally, is from 2000:

What makes the performance so powerful for me is the use of the USAF’s Singing Sergeants and the shots of the soldiers watching the performance via satellite. The song is elevated from its standard tale of heartache and abandonment to become a subtle comment on global and personal implications of war and militarization through the sheer simplicity of the images. Previously, I’d never thought of any possible reason for the lover’s absence in this song other than general falling-out-of-love-ness. Watching this for the first time socked me in the gut; much like listening to this song for the first time, all over again.

I mean, this song is so good that Mariah Carey bit its steeze for “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” which is pretty clearly her best song and best, most unaffected (ha, its still WAYYY affected, but in a way that works with the fake Wall of Sound) vocal performance. This song is so good that THIS HAPPENED!

If I remember correctly, this aired on the same show that featured “Lazy Sunday,” which became the big hipster geek internet fad joke–and rightly so–but this to me was far more clever than ZOMG WHITE PEOPLE BE RAPPIN ABOUT LAME MOVIE@!, mainly because the pastiche of Spector is tremendously spot-on, and the fact that Darlene Love is the ACTUAL SINGER. At first I was floored, thinking, “How the hell did they get someone to sound so much like Darlene Love?!” Because NO ONE sounds like Darlene Love. Darlene Love is the greatest pop singer that has ever lived. I was impressed when I found out it was really her, imitating herself and her reputation. She’s able to poke fun of herself as Christmas tradition while paying tribute to it as well, with grace and humor and dignity. Clearly, Robert Smigel knew what he was doing in getting her to sing this song.

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” is probably the peak of her career, and maybe even Spector’s, and that’s saying a whole helluva lot.

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I really wish Darlene Love had a bigger career. Her story is fascinating, and obviously there’s her cannon of a voice. I won’t go into the ridiculous bullshit that happened between her and Spector, but I feel like his biggest musical crime was depriving her of fame and glory and reputation, as well as the world of MORE OF HER. As crazy huge a fan I am, I really only have a handful of songs that she released under her name, the Crystals/the Blossoms, and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans. I would love to hear more, and I know they’re out there. All I want for Christmas is more of you, Darlene Love. Come on home.

Bonus! Darlene Love talkin’ some shit on Spector, GLORIOUSLY: