David Bowie and Bing Crosby Sing “The Little Drummer Boy”: A Chestnut From 1977

In 1977, just a short month before Bing Cros­by died, the 40s croon­er host­ed David Bowie, the glam rock­er, on his Christ­mas show. The awk­ward­ness of the meet­ing is pal­pa­ble. An old­er, crusty Cros­by had no real famil­iar­i­ty with the younger, androg­y­nous Bowie, and Bowie was­n’t crazy about singing The Lit­tle Drum­mer Boy. So, short­ly before the show’s tap­ing, a team of writ­ers had to fran­ti­cal­ly retool the song, blend­ing the tra­di­tion­al Christ­mas song with a new­ly-writ­ten tune called Peace on Earth. After one hour of rehearsal, the two singers record­ed The Lit­tle Drum­mer Boy/Peace on Earth and made an instant lit­tle chest­nut. The Wash­ing­ton Post has the back­sto­ry on the strange Bing-Bowie meet­ing. We hope you enjoy revis­it­ing this clas­sic clip with us. Hap­py hol­i­days to you all.

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Comments (8)
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  • Marcel says:

    “Peace on Earth” was not very peace­ful; it absolute­ly destroyed “The Lit­tle Drum­mer Boy”.

    I won­der who allowed such dis­as­trous arrange­ment…

  • Debby says:

    My God, what genius! If Bowie had­n’t bulked at singing “the lit­tle drum­mer boy” we would nev­er have heard this duet between them.

  • Karen H says:

    I love this duet…the har­mo­ny is beau­ti­ful! Such an unlike­ly pair, but an awe­some cre­ation.

  • Dan says:

    It has been for a few years now, one of my favorite songs. Very Nice blend­ing of old and new. To bad a duet like that is no longer pos­si­ble.

  • Bart says:

    I get tears every time I hear this song on the radio. Best Xmas song ever of my gen­er­a­tion.

  • ian murie says:

    Beau­ti­full blend by won­der­full artists. So sor­ry it was nev­er released as a sin­gle. I think Mrs Cros­by would­n’t allow it. Shame, such a mas­sive­ly nos­tal­gicly sen­ti­men­tal and unique­ly beau­ti­full per­for­mance

  • denise kershner says:

    After they com­plet­ed record­ing Peace On Earth did Bing Cros­by n David Bowie realise how good it was ?

  • Liam O'Raw says:

    Actu­al­ly it was released as a sin­gle which I bought my father at the time, infact to this day I think it may be with all my oth­er records in my attic.

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