Christmas Music: David Bowie & Bing Crosby ‘Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy’

L-R David Bowie and Bing Crosby (screen capture)

From Bing Crosby’s 1977 holiday special, Bing Crosby’s Marrie Olde Christmas.

“Little Drummer Boy” was originally written in 1957, and the “Peace on Earth” counterpoint and lyrics were added to the song especially for David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s recording.

According to Rolling Stone, Bowie was told about the idea to sing “Little Drummer Boy” as a duet, and the rocker demurred saying, “I won’t sing that song, I hate that song.”

And so,  the counterpoint melody was written to assuage Bowie.

Recorded on September 11, 1977, the song was set up by dialogue between the unlikely pair about how they celebrate Christmas before singing the duet.

Crosby actually passed away just over a month later on October 14.

Original airdate – November 30, 1977, on CBS.

David Bowie’s Final Album Blackstar Could Debut At #1

According to Billboard, David Bowie’s final album – released on his 69th birthday just days before he passed away – could be his first #1 on the Billboard 200.

The set, which was released through ISO/Columbia Records on Jan. 8 (Bowie’s 69th birthday), could sell perhaps 130,000 albums in the week ending Jan. 14, according to industry forecasters, and debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart dated Jan. 30. Bowie died on Jan. 10 after an 18-month battle with cancer.

In his lifetime, Bowie charted seven top 10 albums on the Billboard 200. His highest-charting album was his last album, 2013’s The Next Day, which debuted and peaked at No. 2. He previously visited the top 10 with Let’s Dance (No. 4 in 1983), ChangesOneBowie (No. 10, 1976), Station to Station (No. 3, 1976), Young Americans (No. 9, 1975), David Live (No. 8, 1974) and Diamond Dogs (No. 5, 1974).

It’s telling that the lead single for the album, “Lazurus,” begins with the lyric “Look up here! I’m in heaven.”

A True Legend, A True Original – David Bowie Passes Away At 69

Wow. A true rock legend has passed. And at the very young age of 69.

Bowie died last night after an 18 month long battle with cancer.

Complexly androgynous, Bowie was a leader in his generation of rock stars who created and presented music as theater. Showmanship, gender-bending and “glam-rock” were all a part of his mystique.

From the Hollywood Reporter:

“David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief,” read a statement posted on the artist’s official social media accounts.

The influential singer-songwriter and producer excelled at glam rock, art rock, soul, hard rock, dance pop, punk and electronica during his eclectic 40-plus-year career. He just released his 25th album, Blackstar, Jan. 8, which was his birthday.

Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the No. 1 single “Fame” off the top 10 album Young Americans, then followed with the 1976 avant-garde art rock LP Station to Station, which made it to No. 3 on the charts and featured top 10 hit “Golden Years.”

Other memorable songs included 1983’s “Let’s Dance” — his only other No. 1 U.S. hit — “Space Oddity,” “Heroes,” “Changes,” “Under Pressure,” “China Girl,” “Modern Love,” “Rebel, Rebel,” “All the Young Dudes,” “Panic in Detroit,” “Fashion,” “Life on Mars,” “Suffragette City” and a 1977 Christmas medley with Bing Crosby.

My two favorite Bowie songs below – his huge hit “Fame” from YOUNG AMERICANS in 1975, and his collaboration with Queen, “Under Pressure.”

And from his 1971 hit, “Changes:” 

“Turn and face the strange / Ch-ch-changes / Oh look out now you rock and rollers / Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older.”

Journey on, Ziggy Stardust – RIP.