4. "Please Come Home For Christmas," Charles BrownKing 5405 b/w "Christmas Comes But Once a Year" (Amos Milburn)
Highest chart position: #21 R&B (1960), #78 Pop (1961)
Recorded September 21, 1960, Cincinnati, OH
Charles Brown is remembered for many accomplishments -- among them, introducing the smooth, jazz-inflected "West Coast Blues" sound on his 1945 smash "Driftin' Blues," and recording what some consider to be the first Christmas R&B song with 1947's "Merry Christmas Baby," which has since been covered by scores of rock and blues artists. But this is the better Yuletide song, recorded for Cincinnati's King label and recently gaining exponentially in popularity over its own bland covers (including the Eagles, who took their version to the Top 40 in 1978). With its Greek Chorus of church bells, Brown's low-key but still palpable sadness, the world's sweetest and most economically profound guitar solo, and ironically uplifting ending, this song has become a R&B standard for those fighting off holiday depression. In fact, even though it was recorded in Cincinnati, generations of New Orleanians have somehow embraced this song as their own: to many in the city, Christmas just isn't Christmas until these bells start ringing.