This week, as you sing along to two soulful 1950s Christmas classics, "Merry Christmas Baby" and "Please Come Home for Christmas," think about the talented bluesman who first recorded them right here in New Orleans. Originally from Texas, Charles Brown wrote and first recorded "Merry Christmas Baby" in 1947. A 1956 version is heard more commonly these days. Both versions have the classic closing line, "I haven't had a drink this morning but I'm all lit up like a Christmas tree."
The 1956 version was recorded in New Orleans at Cosimo Matassa's studio. "I recorded at Cosimo's studio with a lot of guys from Fats Domino's band," Brown told writer Jeff Hannusch in 1986. Brown and Gene Redd wrote "Please Come Home for Christmas" in 1960 (with its opening line, "Bells will be ringing the glad, glad news"). That song also was recorded at Matassa's studio. Both songs have been covered by dozens of artists in the decades since.
Brown died in 1999 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame posthumously that year.