Nostalgia from Darlene Love and Glenn Yarbrough

It is a good day for nostalgia. We can recall good times from the past, knowing we can only hope for more good times in the future. On this last day of this year, I want to take you back to 1963 when Darlene Love first recorded, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” for recording legend Phil Spector. Darlene was considered a “back-up” singer by Spector, never getting credit for many of the recordings she made.

This song for Spector’s Christmas album was supposed to be recorded by Ronnie Spector, Phil’s wife. But she could not put enough emotion into the song, so Darlene got a call to come to the studio to record it.

Fast forward 23 years to 1986. Late Show host David Letterman heard Darlene sing in a club and asked her to sing the Christmas song on his show. Here she is singing her song for the Letterman show for the first time in 1986:

For the next 28 years, Darlene was invited to sing the same song on the Letterman show. In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine listed Darlene’s song as number one in its list of “The Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs.” Letterman is retiring in May of 2015. So this past December 19, Darlene sang her signature song for the last time for Letterman’s show. And Phil Spector? He was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend in 2009 and is serving 19 years to life in prison.

None of us know what the New Year will bring, but we can start by resolving to reach out to others to offer help when we can. A singer who performed often in the 1960s at the hungry i in North Beach in San Francisco was Glenn Yarbrough. You may remember that he started as lead singer with a folk group called the Limeliters and began a solo career in 1963. Here he is singing “San Francisco Bay Blues” in 1964:

I connected with Glenn’s daughter Holly on Facebook. Glenn is dealing with progressive dementia. But he still likes to hear from fans, so Holly has made a request:

“Dad turns 85 on January 12th and I would really love to be able to present him with a great big pile of birthday cards – the snail mail kind – as a surprise. If anyone feels inclined to do so, you can send them to us at home: 757 Newberry Road, Nashville TN 37205. Of course he can’t answer in his condition, but I know he would really enjoy reading them all the same. Feel free to spread the word if you know of other folks who have been moved by his music and might want to participate in celebrating his 85th. Thank you so very much for keeping Dad in your hearts! Warmly yours, Holly”

Wishing you a wonderful New Year!