One of my favorite Christmas songs of all time is Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing “The Little Drummer Boy (Peace on Earth)” but I truly didn’t know the history behind it, until now.
This is from Douglas Degraw, and this wonderful information around the history of the song was on his YouTube channel.
“A radio station I listen to has a daily “Behind the Music” segment telling special stories of highlighted songs, being the season for it they always talk about this one, and included some facts that I was up to now unaware of regarding the song.
Over his career, Bing Crosby did 42 Christmas Television Specials but it was the final one in 1977 that set an odd milestone.
Wanting to include something for the younger audience, Bing was convinced to work with Pop icon David Bowie. They met in England in mid-September and began taping Bing Crosby’s Merry Olde Christmas.
Originally meant to be just a version of the classic song, David was not happy with the way his voice sounded, so writers came up with an original counter-harmony and the two practiced it a few times before taping it for the show.
Unfortunately between the taping and the air date of Nov 30th, Bing suffered a heart attack and passed away.
Fortunately, this happened just after he had won a closely contested 18 holes of golf, so he went out a winner in Bing fashion.
That makes this segment one of his last performances ever, and also fortunately it was a tremendous hit and became a near-instant classic.
Sadly, we have also lost David – but both will always be remembered for wonderful music. Ladies, Gentlemen, I present to you Bing Crosby and David Bowie performing Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth”