This edition of Retro Friday features a little holiday cheer with Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing The Little Drummer Boy and Peace on Earth.
Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy, also known as The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth, is a Christmas song which was performed by David Bowie and Bing Crosby in 1977. The "Little Drummer Boy" is a Christmas song which was written in 1957, and the "Peace on Earth" tune and lyrics were added to the song especially for David Bowie and Bing Crosby's 1977 recording.
The track was recorded on September 11, 1977 for Bing Crosby's then-upcoming television special called "Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas." At the beginning of the piece, Bing Crosby and David Bowie exchanged dialogue about what they do for Christmas, before singing "Little Drummer Boy" with a new counterpoint with original lyrics written for the special, "Peace on Earth." David Bowie's appearance on the show has been described as a "surreal" event, undertaken at the time becuase he was "actively trying to normalise his career."
Bowie has since recalled that he only appeared on the show because "I just knew my mother liked him." Buz Kohan was not sure that Crosby knew who Bowie was, but Ian Fraser claimed, "I'm pretty sure he did. Bing was no idiot. If he didn't, his kids sure did." Crosby died that same year on October 14, just over a month after recording the special. In the U.S., the show aired on November 30, 1977 on CBS.
According to co-writer Ian Fraser, Bowie balked at singing "Little Drummer Boy." "I hate this song. Is there something else I could sing?" Fraser recalls Bowie telling him. Fraser, along with songwriter Larry Grossman and the special's scriptwriter, Buz Kohan, then wrote "Peace on Earth" as a counterpoint to "Little Drummer Boy." Crosby performed "Little Drummer Boy," while Bowie sang the new tune "Peace on Earth," which they reportedly performed after less than an hour of rehearsal.
And here it is, for your holiday listening enjoyment: Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy:
Cheers & Merry Christmas to you & yours!
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