David Letterman’s holiday broadcast is a zany, wonderful thing that will be dearly missed when Letterman steps down next year, especially since Darlene Love will no longer have a regular platform to sing her classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”
Love told Billboard back in October that she won’t perform the song, which is backed by Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra, on another show after Letterman departs. In honor of the end of this tradition, CBS has put together a video of the performances over the years. Watch it, and don’t be surprised if you get a little teary.
“They never told me not to, but it was an unspoken thing,” Love told Billboard of her decision to not take the song to another show. “They couldn’t ask me not to sing ‘Christmas (Baby)’ on another show, but after 10 years, then 15 years, of doing this one song on this one show, I felt I had an obligation to be true to them.”
Love started performing the song for Letterman back when he was the host of Late Night in 1986, and has sung it 21 times over 28 years on the show, according to CBS. The Phil Spector-produced song, which Love debuted, is from the 1963 album A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records.
Letterman’s final holiday show will air Dec. 19 and will also feature Jay Thomas for Letterman’s “holiday quarterback challenge,” in which footballs are thrown at a meatball on top of a Christmas tree. If you have never experienced the loony pleasures of Letterman’s holiday antics, now’s the time: Letterman’s last show will be May 20, 2015.