My Favorite Christmas Song

A lot of people like a lot of Christmas music. I don’t. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have some favorites, though.

My very favorite holiday tune, and the first one I can ever remember, is Darlene Love’s take on Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). The original is still a transcendent, hair raising recording over 50 years later.

Credit must also go to Phil Specter’s wall of sound production and the bouncy rhythm section that makes the song just go, go, go. It seems to accelerate as it unfolds, bursting with an energy most holiday songs would wilt under. It’s a joy to hear every single year.

However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a couple examples of Love’s annual Late Show appearances, where she’s performed the song since 1986.

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Roy Orbison – In Dreams

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In dreams, you’re mine
all of the time.

There are a handful of beloved pop songs that somehow fill me with the most profoundly dark imagery, contrary to their buoyant reputation. In Dreams is one of those songs, a lifelong favorite and classic radio staple that shakes me to my core every time it plays.

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A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall: Bob Dylan Sings My Decade-Long Anthem

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And I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
And I’ll know my song well before I start singin’

This line became my reluctant personal anthem when it first sank in, over ten years ago. I was always hesitant, cautious to a fault, and shy. So terribly shy.

I’m good at meeting people, saying the right things, being a kind and welcome presence for strangers and friends. But I was always terrible at letting my real self out, being emotionally open, and putting my hopes and fears on display. I’ve been terrible at sharing my personal art, my true expression, with anyone. Anyone. It’s so hard to let go.

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Charles Mingus – The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

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Charles Mingus is an absolute deity of 20th century jazz…

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