When David Letterman signs off from his show for the final time next year, he won’t be the only thing that disappears from late-night television. It also means this coming holiday season will mark the last time Darlene Love ever performs “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on a TV show.
Fans of The Late Show know that Love’s performance of her Christmas classic, first recorded in 1963, has become an annual tradition, always falling on the last episode to air before the holiday. And after performing it for Letterman every year since 1986, Love has confirmed that, when he retires, so will the song—at least, for any future television appearances.
“They never told me not to, but it was an unspoken thing,” Love recently told Billboard. “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.” Still, Love allows that she will keep it in her live shows, even saying she’d suggested to bandleader Paul Shaffer that they “get together once a year and do a huge Christmas show” in New York.
Love’s sense of loyalty is deeply ingrained—as seen in this year’s Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, which detailed how Letterman’s help revitalized the singer’s career. Below, you can see a compilation of all her many powerhouse performances of the song through the years. It definitely won’t get you a little choked up and necessitate getting a tissue, before you drip a nostalgic tear on your keyboard, even though we’re still two months away from Christmas. Nope, that definitely didn’t happen.