40 years ago: David Bowie and Bing Crosby ring in the holidays

40 years ago: David Bowie and Bing Crosby ring in the holidays

David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” — which was filmed on Sept. 11, 1977, for Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas special — remains one of the most absurd (but charming) TV duets of all time.

The odd couple huddle around a piano in a lavish home decorated for the holidays, singing a collaboration comprised of an original song, “Peace on Earth,” grafted onto the classic “Little Drummer Boy.” Strings swell in the background of the hushed arrangement, which is highlighted by braided harmonies, counter melodies that pirouette gracefully around one another and a gentle, murmuring chorus of “rum-pum-pum-pum” throughout.

Prior to the duet, Bowie and Crosby act out a hilariously forced-looking skit. The former arrives at the home looking for a friend, who ostensibly lives there and lets Bowie use his piano, but instead finds Crosby milling around being all festive. The pair makes small talk about the holidays and traditions — “We sing the same songs — I even have a go at ‘White Christmas,'” Bowie quips — before he comes upon something that sparks an idea. MORE

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