The Enduring Legacy of Darlene Love: A Holiday Tradition for Generations

Arlene Love, a true national treasure, boasts a career spanning from her role as one of Phil Spector’s trusted studio talents to earning the title of the Queen of Christmas, despite the humorous Mariah Carey memes that may suggest otherwise. Her timeless 1963 classic, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” not only holds a pivotal place in the renowned holiday compilation “A Christmas Gift To You from Phil Spector,” released the same year, but it has also become a perennial favorite covered by musical giants like U2, Michael Bublé, and even Carey herself.

ow Darlene Love Turned a Christmas Song into a Holiday Phenomenon

Each year, without fail, Love showcases this cherished tune at her annual spectacle, “Darlene Love: Love for the Holidays,” a tradition as synonymous with the season as the Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting. This yearly extravaganza has thrived for over two decades, evolving from similar shows she staged at the Bottom Line in the ’80s after she journeyed from her hometown of Los Angeles to the East Coast.

An avid fan, David Letterman, initially invited Love to perform her iconic Christmas anthem on his show in 1986. This performance birthed an annual tradition that ultimately evolved into the elaborate showcase that the 82-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer passionately delivers each year. “It’s incredible because when I started these Christmas shows, aside from the Rockettes, no one else was doing them,” Love reminisces with a chuckle.

The Unsung Heroine of Christmas: Darlene Love’s Enduring Legacy

I humorously tell my audience that I’ve compressed them into a medley, but truthfully, I perform the entire song. Back when we recorded tracks like ‘He’s a Rebel,’ ‘Da Doo Ron Ron,’ and ‘He’s Sure the Boy I Love,’ they were just a minute and a half long. Of course, we also include beloved Christmas melodies. I share anecdotes about these songs and my experiences, and oddly enough, the more I engage with them, the more they seem to adore it. It’s a chance for them to get to know me better when I speak to them.” In a delightful twist, Cher, a longtime friend, not only re-recorded “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” but also invited Love to join her in the new rendition.

What adds a layer of nostalgia to this collaboration is that a then-17-year-old Cher (known as Cherilyn Sarkisian at the time) provided backing vocals for the original version of the song—an anecdote that Love joyfully recounts. “Sonny Bono, who worked alongside Phil Spector, was dating Cher, then known as Cherilyn,” Love fondly recalls.

The Untold Story Behind Darlene Love’s Iconic Christmas Song

One day, Phil inquired if it was true that Sonny’s girlfriend could sing. Upon Sonny’s confirmation, before I even arrived at the session, Phil called her in to add some ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ to ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),’ and that’s how our collaboration began. She’s an absolute sweetheart. Whenever she discusses her journey in the industry, she credits Darlene Love for her start, mentioning that she had never sung into a microphone or been in a recording studio prior to that moment.

It was incredibly touching for me to hear her say that about me. The only challenge was that her voice was so powerful that Phil had to keep telling her to step back. I joked that if he moved her back any further, she’d end up in the next room. However, this marked the beginning of a lasting relationship over the years. I even joined her as one of her backup singers during the Heart of Stone tour.” Darlene Love’s legacy continues to shine bright through her annual holiday extravaganza, intertwined with heartwarming anecdotes and timeless melodies that capture the essence of the season.


Darlene Love’s remarkable journey, from Phil Spector’s revered studio talent to her reign as the Queen of Christmas, epitomizes an enduring legacy in the world of music. Her annual “Love for the Holidays” show, a festive tradition spanning over two decades, stands as a testament to her artistry, passion, and connection with her audience.

Through timeless classics like “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” Love not only encapsulates the spirit of the season but also weaves a tapestry of stories and experiences that resonate deeply with her fans. Her collaborations, such as with Cher, bring forth nostalgic echoes while showcasing the enduring bonds forged in the music industry.

Darlene Love: The Voice of Christmas

As she takes the stage each year, Love doesn’t merely perform; she invites her audience into her world, sharing anecdotes, humor, and a glimpse into the heart behind the music. Her ability to blend the old with the new, to infuse tradition with fresh energy, ensures that her performances remain a cherished holiday tradition for all who attend.

Darlene Love’s legacy is not just in her music but in the warmth and joy she imparts through every performance, reminding us that the true spirit of the holidays lies in the connections we forge and the memories we create

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