Sessions for the Eagles' follow-up to Hotel California were dragging on, and executives at Asylum Records had grown concerned. Everybody needed a break.
"The record label was bugging us because The Long Run was, at this point, 6.8 months behind schedule," producer Bill Szymczyk told Miami's WPLG in 2015. Then Don Henley had an out-of-nowhere idea: "Well, maybe if we give them a Christmas single, they'll get off our back," Szymczyk remembered.
It proved to be just the rejuvenating time-out everybody needed. Problem: Eagles were holed up in Szymczyk's Bayshore Recording Studios – a converted motel at Coconut Grove, Fla., which was certainly no winter wonderland. "It was hot as hell," Glenn Frey later told Rolling Stone with a smirk. "Perfect for a Christmas record."
Henley suggested the recently reformulated Eagles cover an old Charles Brown song he remembered as a kid growing up in east Texas. Unlike the rest of what would become the Eagles' final classic-era album, "Please Come Home for Christmas" was quickly completed. A song devoted to holiday melancholy seemed to have finally ended their creative stalemate.
"We needed a break from the daily routine," Henley told Cincinnati's The Enquirer in 2017. "So, I suggested that we record a Christmas song, and I went on to suggest this song that I had remembered from my teenage years. The band members, and our producer, welcomed the idea."
They paired "Please Come Home for Christmas" with a goofy original titled "Funky New Year," then added a suitably ironic sleeve image. The completed 1978 single served as an official introduction to new bassist Timothy B. Schmit, who'd replaced Randy Meisner after the Eagles' most recent tour completed.
"We knocked it out in a matter of two, three days," Szymczyk told WPLG, "gave it to the label and then they indeed did get off our back until we were finished."