In 1963, Ms. Darlene Love recorded one of the great modern Christmas songs, titled simply, Christmas. It's a spectacular example of Phil Spector's legendary Wall of Sound filling the background with layers of vocals and a brass section that still kicks ass as relevantly now as it did then.
Every year since 1986, just a few days before Christmas, David Letterman unwraps this tasty treat for viewers who are still awake and who haven't succumbed to last-minute gift wrapping or card signing. It is this: Darlene Love performs Christmas, live on the Letterman stage, with a full choir backing her, along with her own musicians and the entire CBS orchestra under the direction of Paul Shaffer. I wait for it every year, and every year, it just blows me away. I cry.
But not this year. This year the theater is closed and the stage is dark. The Hollywood writers' strike has claimed this holiday tradition as its latest casualty, and I, for one, am profoundly sad about it.
I don't really enjoy the Christmas season, but there are a few moments here and there I'll always look forward to. This year, my list is one item shorter. Friday came and went with a Letterman rerun. Darlene Love is 66 years old, and we know that although she's still a phenomenal talent, she's not going to be able to belt out this song forever. We've been cheated of one precious year.
That is very sad, May. It's hard to lose something when the list of good things is so short. I know the feeling.
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