Yesterday’s selection in the 350 Jersey Songs project was Whitney Houston’s “Do You Hear What I Hear?,” which she recorded for the 1987 A Very Special Christmas album, benefiting the Special Olympics. Also on that album was Bon Jovi’s “Back Door Santa,” and on A Very Special Christmas 2, the next year, Jon Bon Jovi was once again among the contributors, with “Please Come Home for Christmas.” He also appeared at a Whoopi Goldberg-hosted gala celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Special Olympics that year, and two songs he performed that night, “Please Come Home for Christmas” and “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” were included on the A Very Special Christmas Live album, in 1999.
Check out his first-rate performance of the latter, below, where he is backed by a band that included Jersey rock luminaries such as Bobby Bandiera, on guitar, Ed Manion, on saxophone, and Richie “LaBamba” Rosenberg, on trombone.
“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector, is perhaps the ultimate rock Christmas song, and was definitively recorded by Darlene Love on the classic Spector-produced 1963 album, A Christmas Gift for You From Philles Records.
Love has performed the song annually at Christmas time since 1986 on “Late Night With David Letterman” and “Late Show With David Letterman,” though that streak came to an end this year, since Letterman will be retiring in May.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday from Sept. 2014 to Sept. 2015. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. The complete list is here.