5. "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," Darlene LovePhilles 119 b/w "Harry And Milt Meet Hal B."
Highest chart position: none (1963)
Recorded August 1963, Los Angeles, CA
As the one original song on what may be the greatest Christmas rock album of all time, this had to make the cut, even if the album and single therein didn't even make a dent on the pop charts in late 1963. (Radio played only the most somber, quiet, and reverent holiday music in the weeks after the JFK assassination.) Originally, this song -- one of the saddest and most plaintive pleas in Xmas music history, although you'd never know it from the arrangement -- was meant to be sung by Ronnie Spector, but when she couldn't quite put it across, Darlene Love was called in for what should have been her long-deserved starmaking hit single. Written by the famous Barry-Greenwich team and given the Wall of Sound treatment, it stands as a testimonial to the Teen Tycoon and his (Wrecking) crew at the height of their powers. In fact, Spector enjoyed Leon Russell's piano part near the end so much, he ran into the studio and gave him a hundred bucks on the spot. Talk about a Christmas bonus!