Episode 100–Christmas (Baby Please Come Home

Holy Moley! Episode 100! What a milestone!

This is the first of TWO episodes I’ll be publishing this week. You’re getting this one now, and another one sometime tomorrow, because I felt badly about taking my time with Episode 99.

As I mentioned during the show, the Phil Spector-produced Christmas album went through several re-issues and name changes between its release in 1963 and the early 1980s, including an unfortunate period when the album was remastered into manufactured stereo. In those days, that often meant that the higher-end sounds went to one channel and the lower-end stuff went to the other. It was a mess and really added nothing to the product overall.

At any rate, it was around the same time in the 1980s that a bunch of different events came together and allowed the song to finally break out. One was the reissue of the album on Rhino Records, in its original mono mixes. The second was Darlene Love’s appearance in a Broadway show, which led directly to her string of performances on David Letterman’s show on both NBC and CBS, and finally we have the cover version by U2 the following year. All of these things made for a resurgence in both the popularity of the song, and in Darlene Love’s career.

Stay tuned! Very soon we’ll take a look at a Nirvana song, by listener request!

Click here for a transcript of this show.

2 thoughts on “Episode 100–Christmas (Baby Please Come Home”

  1. WRONG! Saturnalia wasn’t Christian, it was Roman. A darn near orgy to celebrate the Roman god Saturn. The Council of Nicaea wanted to move attention away from the sinful festival. Since there was really no observance of the birth of Christ (the day of his birth is not known) they decided to set a Mass of the Birth of Christ to December 25th (also the beginning of Winter). Saturnalia was forgotten until 1995 when it became the name of the Saturn Car Club (of which I was vice president for a year).

    1. You misunderstood me. What I’d said was:

      “As far as [mistletoe’s] connection with Christmas, we can probably give credit to the Roman Saturnalia festival, which was the cover under which early Christians celebrated Christmas.”

      I kind of oversimplified it, but the bottom line is that Christmas was celebrated during the Saturnalia period because it gave the early Christians sufficient reason to act festive without tipping their hand about the reason for their festiveness. “This party? It’s totally a Saturnalia thing, has nothing to do with Jesus. Nope, no Jesus to see here, move along.” So people were likely decking the halls with Saturnalia decorations such as mistletoe to throw the local noseybodies off the trail. When it became safer to be a Christian in Rome, the mistletoe tradition proved to be resilient.

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