“MERRY XMAS BABY”, “PLEASE COME HOME FOR XMAS”, CHARLES BROWN
By Alan Chrisman, copyright.
(Part of a series on Xmas-rock songs)
Charles Brown, a R&B piano player and singer in the 1950’s had Xmas hits with, “ “Merry Xmas Baby” and his own composition, ”Please come Home For Xmas.” Brown’s laid-back jazzy-blues style piano playing had a big influence on, especially Ray Charles., who himself did a cover of “Merry Xmas Baby”. It’s also been recorded by Otis Redding, Chuck Berry, B.B. King, Springsteen, Etta James, and Rod Stewart and Cee Lo Green.
Elvis would have his own Xmas hit with it, off his second Xmas album,971 Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas in 1971. It’s a great rendition of the song with blues-guitar work by the legendary James Burton (see previous blog: “Rick Nelson: More Than a Teen Idol” & James Burton”). Many people too did covers over the years of Brown’s, “ Please Come Home For Christmas”, including James Brown, Willie Nelson, Bon Jovi, Lady Antebellam, Grace Potter, etc. But The Eagles’ version in 1997 is probably the next most well-known. It’s sometimes called, “The Bells Are Ringing” because that’s its beginning words.
Elvis singing a bluesy version of “Merry Xmas Baby” from his 2nd Christmas album, 1971:
The Eagles doing Charles Brown’s “Please Come Home For Xmas”, 1997: