With Halloween in the rearview, the Beach Boys‘ Mike Love is getting into the holiday spirit as quickly as possible, releasing “(You’ll Never Be) Alone on Christmas Day,” a new version of an old yuletide bootleg available exclusively on Rolling Stone.
Love and classical pianist Ron Altbach wrote the track in 1979, and while a rough cut was recorded for a potential Beach Boys Christmas album, the song was ultimately scrapped.
While that demo has been floating around for some time, French rock outfit Phoenix asked Love earlier this year if they could cover the song for Bill Murray’s December 4th Netflix holiday special, A Very Murray Christmas.
The request convinced Love to return to the song himself, re-writing the lyrics and tapping Michael Lloyd to produce and helm the new arrangement. The updated version of “Alone on Christmas Day” opens with a drum beat reminiscent of the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” and proceeds to revel in all the markings of a classic Beach Boys holiday song: Guitars jangling alongside sleigh bells, a steady stream of expertly layered harmonies and beautifully aching melodies.
“I know what it’s like to be away from loved ones during the holidays,” Love tells Rolling Stone. “With all the cheer that’s around, you can still feel pretty melancholy. But the message of this song is that you’re never truly alone if you’re in the hearts of those you love. No matter where you are that time of year, we’re with you.”
While “(You’ll Never Be) Alone on Christmas Day” isn’t pegged to a new release, Love and the Beach Boys continue to tour regularly. The group will trek through Australia, New Zealand and Europe through December, before returning to North America in January 2016. Love will release his memoir, Good Vibrations, next year as well.