If you know me well, you know that this particular song & version thrill me to near tears. First it stars, across a rather large generation gap, two of my favorites. David Bowie is an idol, a hero, and probably the only pop star that inspires total slavish adoration and awe from me. Bing Crosby always reminded me of my grandfather, whether it be his booming voice or blue eyes, I’m still unsure.
Yet sitting in front of the TV in 1977 as a small child this definitely moved me deeply. So when I found out there was a back story behind this holiday classic of course it peaked my interest:
Bowie read the script and objected to singing “Little Drummer Boy,” stating “I hate this song. Is there something else I could sing?” Ian Fraser, Larry Grossman and Buz Kohan (the show’s producers and songwriters in their own right) adjourned to the studio’s basement and in less than 90 minutes came up with the “Peace on Earth” bit that Bowie agreed to interweave with Crosby’s rendition of “Little Drummer Boy.” (–via mental_floss! ) [emphasis mine]
While calling it ‘interwoven’ seems naïve – since really Bowie stole the song from the legendary Crosby in view of anyone watching. It is amazing that this song doesn’t even seem complete now to me without the ‘Peace on Earth’ section. This really seems to highlight what at the time was surely late in the generational wars that had been raging between the Greatest Generation & the Baby Boomers. Seemingly though it is a bridge between this divide, while being aspirational to goodwill and peace on earth.
So it would seem that artistic difference can create something quite lasting and profound. Thanks to the internet, now this classic is available to me anytime the urge strikes. Used to be that I’d have to wait for the TV networks to trot it out during the season, but now as is my wont – I can enjoy it all throughout the year.