xmas song of the day – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” | U2 | 1987.

Happy Holidays!  Since it’s the first year of my blog, and since it’s the last year for my Annual Holiday Show on my little 20-year-old 80s radio program, STUCK IN THE 80s (on WMPG community radio in Portland, Maine), I wanted to present to you THE 31 DAYS OF 80s XMAS SONGS, or, 31 of my favorite 80s holiday musical treats.


For Day 25 of THE 31 DAYS OF 80s XMAS SONGS is one more gem from the 1987 benefit Xmas album, A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS – U2’s cover of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”

The original version of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” dates back to November 1963, and a version produced and co-written by Phil Spector, and sung by Darlene Love.  It was intended for Ronnie Spector, but Darlene Love ended up singing the song instead.  (Darlene Love and Ronnie Spector would team up on 1992’s A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS 2 for a cover of Brenda Lee’s 1958 holiday classic, “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”).  Between 1986 and 2014, Darlene Love performed the song 28 times on TV for David Letterman, first on his Late Night NBC show, and then on his Late Show on CBS. 


A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS producer and then some, Jimmy Iovine, flew to Glasgow, Scotland, to record U2’s cover of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” during a soundcheck.  Darlene Love contributed backing vocals on the song she made famous 24 years before.

Since 1987, there have been many covers released of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” including covers from Joey Ramone, Mariah Carey, Jon Bon Jovi, Melissa Etheridge, Death Cab For Cutie, Raveonettes and Cher (who was one of the backing vocalists on the original 1963 version), but it’s the U2 version that has resonated with me this time of year for nearly 30 years…




song of the day – “Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards” | BILLY BRAGG | 1988.

billy bragg waitingWith it being Leap Day today (February 29th), I was inspired to share this song, which has no connection to Leap Day or Leap Year whatsoever – the Billy Bragg gem, “Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards.”

Englishman Billy Bragg has been releasing music since 1983, and in that time, he’s tackled Punk Rock, protest songs, Alt-Rock, Americana, Folk Punk and even did a couple of well-received albums with Wilco (of Woody Guthrie lyrics set to their music) in 1998 and 2000.

Billy Bragg Live, Somerville Theatre

Billy Bragg, Live @ The Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA, 3.23.2006

I’ve long been a fan of Billy Bragg, and his passion for what he’s singing about –  whether it’s sexuality, growing up, politics or a broken heart – exudes in every song he does.  When I saw him in perform at the Somerville (Mass.) Theatre in March 2006, he was brilliant.  It was just him and his guitar, and his presence filled the room.  That night, he turned a reworked version of Leadbelly’s “Bourgeois Blues” into his own “Bush War Blues.”  Genius.  He released the song as a free download the following day. 

“Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards” appears on Billy’s 1988 album, WORKER’S PLAYTIME, his fourth full-length record.  While on tour promoting the album, Billy said this about the song:

“I know that today it’s not very cool talk about Maoism.  Everybody says, ‘Maoism!  Oh, no!  How gauche!’  But this next song is called ‘Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards.’  Now, the Great Leap Forwards was a plan by Mao to modernize China.  There was going to be a huge burst of activity and development for 18 months, and then China was going to be fully developed to compete in the modern world.

“Well, it didn’t work, and then things deteriorated into the Cultural Revolution, which was a very bad thing indeed.  But Mao once said a very interesting thing.  Someone said to him, ‘What do you think the effects were of the French Revolution in the late 18th century?’

“And Mao said, ‘It’s too early to tell.’”

workers playtime

Some truly great lines in this song, like “If you’ve got a blacklist, I want to be on it” and “If no one seems to understand / Start your own revolution, cut out the middleman.”  “Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards” comes replete with some reverse psychology, too.  The bottom line is, if you want to take the leap, whatever that may be, just go for it…  and don’t wait…

Hope you check out the video link below.  It’s Billy Bragg singing this song on Late Night With David Letterman in 1988 (with an interview too!).  Miss you Dave.  Miss you, too, Billy – hope you come back and see us again soon.  Cheers…


billy bragg