The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Monday, December 21, 2020

Little Drummer Boy and Peace on Earth By Bing Crosby and David Bowie

  I will be passing up on my latest meme that I have been flogging er working on my Monday Music, the theme of Bugaloo songs, those will pick ip again Next week, I will be playing my favorite Christmas Song from Wham "White Christmas.....LOL Just Kidding, I will be playing "Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth it was a Duet with Bing Crosby and David Bowie and it became an Instant Classic.

Well I figured I would run out a Christmas song for Monday Music and I always liked "little Drummer Boy with David Bowie and Bing Crosby.  To me this song plays well with their own music strength and is one of the best known and unusual duets in Music history...Think about it  Bing Crosby, the classic crooner and Ziggie Stardust.   Whodda thunk it?   But they played well together and  created in instant classic.  This song and one other are my favorite Christmas Songs.

"Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" (sometimes titled "The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth") is a Christmas song with an added counterpoint performed by David Bowie and Bing Crosby. "Little Drummer Boy" is a Christmas song written in 1941, while the "Peace on Earth" tune and lyrics, written by Ian FraserLarry Grossman, and Alan Kohan, were added to the song specially for Bowie and Crosby's recording.


The track was recorded on September 11, 1977 for Crosby's then-upcoming television special, Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas. The pair exchanged scripted dialogue about what they each do for their family Christmases, before singing "Little Drummer Boy" with a new counterpoint with original lyrics written for the special, "Peace on Earth".
Bowie's appearance has been described as a "surreal" event, undertaken at a time that he was "actively trying to normalise his career" He has since recalled that he only appeared on the show because "I just knew my mother liked him" Buz Kohan was not sure that Crosby knew who Bowie was, but Ian Fraser claimed, "I'm pretty sure he did. Bing was no idiot. If he didn't, his kids sure did."
According to co-writer Ian Fraser, Bowie balked at singing "Little Drummer Boy": "I hate this song. Is there something else I could sing?", Fraser recalls Bowie telling him. Fraser, along with songwriter Larry Grossman and the special's scriptwriter, Buz Kohan, then wrote "Peace on Earth" as a counterpoint to "Little Drummer Boy". Crosby performed "Little Drummer Boy", while Bowie sang the new tune "Peace on Earth", which they reportedly performed after less than an hour of rehearsal.
Crosby died on October 14, nearly five weeks after recording the special at Elstree Studios near London; in the U.S., the show aired just over a month later, on November 30, 1977, on CBS. In the United Kingdom, the special first aired on December 24, 1977 on ITV.

The song was available for some years as a bootleg single backed with "Heroes", which Bowie had also performed on the TV special. In 1982, RCA issued the recording as an official single, complete with the dialogue, arbitrarily placing "Fantastic Voyage" from the Lodger album on the B-side. Bowie was unhappy with this move, which further soured his already strained relationship with RCA, and he left the label soon after. The single debuted on the UK singles chart in November 1982, and climbed to position number three on the chart, boosted by a 12" picture disc release. It has since become a perennial on British Christmas compilation albums, with the TV sequence also a regular on UK nostalgia shows.
In the United States, "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" became a staple on radio stations during the Christmas season.
On November 9, 2010, Collector's Choice Music released a 7-inch vinyl edition of "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" on red-colored vinyl in the United States. The flip-side of the single contained a Bing Crosby/Ella Fitzgerald duet of the song "White Christmas", recorded in 1953. The single was limited to 2,000 copies.


  1. While I never knew the details of the making of this song,it is pretty much the only Christmas song that has stuck with me as an adult that I actually like, during this season. I must admit, I am not one of the lovers of Christmas, as most of the rest of the country seems to be. The commercialism that Christmas has become, made me turned off to Christmas as an adult. Easter is more of my favorite season, as it is a time of Jesus rising from the dead,and a sign of rebirth,both of the Savior, and of the land, with the coming of spring. My ex wife and I always gave our 3 kids a present for Easter,to encourage them to celebrate the holiday with joy and happiness, the way Christians should.
    My present wife and I adopted 2 sisters, at a young age, and I wanted to continue the same tradition. She took a tiny bit of convincing before she understood just why I liked the idea of an Easter celebration. We have been married for over 28 years now, so our kids,all 5 of them,are grown up, some with kids of their own.
    Thanks for posting this song,and some background behind it. I have read some of the story about Bing Crosby, and his actions towards his kids,and while I always enjoyed his music, as a person,he lost a lot of my respect because of his bad treatment towards his kids.


  2. I remember hearing that on TV when it was originally broadcast. Still a great duet even today!


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