Bing & Bowie, On This Day In 1977

It was on this day in 1977 when Bing Crosby's final Merrie Olde Christmas special aired on TV. What makes the special so memorable is the appearance by David Bowie

Getting Bowie to do the show wasn't hard, but there was a catch. He told producers he would appear on the special simply because his mom was a big fan of Bing. That being said, he declared he would sing any song but "Little Drummer Boy." He was no fan of that song, to say the least. The music team scrambled, as the composers and lyricists reworked the 36-year-old Christmas number. A fresh take on the tune was whipped up, with an interesting countermelody for Bowie to sing called "Peace on Earth." Intrigued by the new arrangement, Bowie agreed to sing it. It's not entirely certain whether the song is actually Bowie's "son's favorite," as he tells Bing in the show. The pair 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".  

Bowie's appearance has been described as a "surreal" event, undertaken at a time that he was "actively trying to normalize his career." Crosby died on October 14, just over a month after recording the special. More than 40 years on it remains one of the most absurd (but charming) TV duets of all time. Watch below.

 

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