It’s not yet December, but we’re already knee-deep in holiday shows and movies.
Today is the anniversary of a pretty big one, the day in 1977 the world first got to see Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas special.
Crosby had been in show business for decades, and this would be his last TV special, recorded just weeks before his death and aired afterward.
But it’s also the one where he sang with perhaps his unlikeliest duet partner of all time: David Bowie.
In the story of the show, Crosby ends up spending Christmas with some long-lost relatives in England. Bowie supposedly lives down the road from Bing’s English relations.
Behind the scenes, Crosby’s producers decided to invite Bowie pretty much because they thought it would be such an odd pairing that it would have to be seen to be believed.
It didn’t hurt that Crosby’s kids were big Bowie fans.
Bowie agreed because the special would include a promo video for his new single “Heroes.”
Plus, his mom was a big Bing Crosby fan and she wanted him to do it.
At first the producers wanted the two to do a straightforward duet on “The Little Drummer Boy,” but Bowie was reluctant, so the creative team hastily put together a new melody for Bowie to sing, called “Peace On Earth,” while Crosby sang the traditional song.
The two stars were wary of each other, but quickly recognized each other’s talent, and developed an almost instant chemistry.
Within an hour of rehearsal they had recorded the duet.
“Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy” would go on to become a huge hit single and a holiday music classic in its own right.
Which just goes to show, sometimes an idea that’s way out in left field can also be the best idea.
Today is also the birthday of Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain.
After once being robbed of a set of silverware, he put a note on his front door letting the next burglar know that if they wanted the plates, they were “in that brass thing in the dining-room over in the corner by the basket of kittens. If you want the basket, put the kittens in the brass thing.”
When Bowie Met Bing: Mary Crosby Relives Their Iconic Duet (Dangerous Minds)
Courtesy (Futility Closet)