‘This was not going to be a romp’: The Eagles fashioned a Christmas classic out of tough times

Though it’s since become a treasured Yuletide standard on rock stations, the Eagles’ rendition of “Please Come Home for Christmas” has a rather complicated back story.

In 1978, the group found itself coming off its biggest album yet in Hotel California, but also transitioning between founder Randy Meisner and Timothy B. Schmit. This one-off song, released in November of that year, would be the new bassist’s debut with the Eagles.

“That was just to sort of buy us some time,” Glenn Frey tells Joe Benson, “and yet, at the same time, let people know that we were still rocking.”

Originally composed by Charles Brown, who had his own hit with the song in the 1960s, “Please Come Home for Christmas” — along with a funny b-side called “Funky New Year” — would come together over a zippy week-long period.

If only The Long Run, which eventually emerged as the Eagles next studio effort almost a year later in September 1979 had happened with such ease: “We got started on the record, and it was pretty clear to us that this was not going to be a three-month romp through the meadows of music,” Frey says. “This was going to be a grind — so we wanted to do something to let people know that we hadn’t broken up.”

Well, not yet anyway. By the summer of 1980, however, the Eagles would begin a haitus that lasted into the next decade.

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