Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Weirdest Couple EVER!

Even if you've only spent five minutes at the mall, supermarket, or doctor's office this past month, you've undoubtedly heard this duet featuring Bing Crosby and David Bowie.  I wanted to feature it today and share with you some fun facts I recently learned about this particular performance.  Mainly, I just LOVE it, and personally, can never get enough of it, no matter HOW many times it's played during this season!

The piece was recorded in September of 1977, and appeared on Bing Crosby's "Merrie Olde Christmas" special that year.  Apparently, Bing's children were big Bowie fans, so David was asked to appear on the show and sing "Little Drummer Boy" with Bing.

A problem arose when Bowie arrived on the set, was presented with his music, and declared, "I hate this song.  Is there something else I can sing?"  This sent producers and songwriters on the show scrambling, but they managed to go off into a corner and quickly compose the "Peace on Earth" melody and words.  (Can you IMAGINE?!!)

There are two things that strike me each time I watch this clip.  First, is the mutual respect each of these men show to each other.  David Bowie, who was 30 when this was filmed, happily performs the opening corny lines with ease, and Bing, 77, does a great job at poking fun at his age and passing star power.  I think it's truly lovely.  Second, is how beautifully their voices compliment each other.  It's easy to understand why it's such a timeless hit.

The last thing you should know is that Bing Crosby died just one month after this was filmed.  The first time the public saw the special that December, Bing has already passed away.  Such a lovely thing to leave us with, don't you think?  My favorite part is the very end, as the last note is held, and Bing simply remarks, "It's a pretty thing, isn't it?"  Nice.

I apologize for the short commercial you have to watch before the clip begins, but I promise it's worth it!  Enjoy!



Bing Crosby & David Bowie - Duet
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22 comments:

A Vintage Chic said...

Wow, Joan...that was a Christmas treat if ever there was one...thank-you for sharing that! I really wasn't in the mood for a video, but I pushed play, and withing 10 seconds, I was spellbound...thank-you.

I loved your intro, too...love the way you dig deep into the history of things.

I hope your day is beautiful. I just found the duet on iTunes. I'll think of the backstory each time I hear it--and you. Thanks again...

Julie

DiamondsOnMySoles said...

I've never seen this before - thanks for posting! I love the little dialogue before they start singing. And I love Bing's deep voice mixed with Bowie's higher tones. It really is a pretty thing :)

Joanie M said...

I do love this song with these fellows. I posted this on my blog last week and after a few days, it was gone! Something about copyright infringements.

Sherri Auld said...

I had not heard this in many years...thank you for sharing it and for bringing back some wonderful memories.

Shady Del Knight said...

Joan, you gave us a special gift here. I was 28 when this was originally broadcast but I don't think I ever saw it before. Captured here is one of those rare and wonderful moments when it all comes together. I don't think I have ever seen a pairing of old and young that was executed so well. Both men performed their acting and singing parts with ease. There was no awkwardness. As you pointed out the mutual respect was apparent. There were no cheap shots attacking the other guy's age or music. It's an even greater treasure because it turned out to be one of Bing's last performances. Thank you for sharing this, Joan!

Denise said...

I remember this song when it was performed. I had only been living in the States for a little while. Thanks for sharing it today, it's been ages since I heard it.

Sylvia K said...

Thanks for this one, Joan, It's terrific and brought back lots of memories. Love it! Hope your week is going well. Enjoy!

Sylvia

Eva Gallant said...

Absolutely beautiful!

Kathy B said...

I saw this a few years back but had forgotten how really touching it was. Thanks for posting it so we could see it again. Merry Christmas to us all!

Getting My Words Out said...

What?? Bing really died in 1977??? Seriously?? I didn't know that. I grew up watching the "Road to.." movies and no Christmas was complete with out watching White Christmas. Santa brought my most favorite gift, a White Christmas album (long story as to why that's my most favorite gift). That man could sing...and what a looker in his younger years!! 1977?? I'm grieving over a man who died 33 years ago!?

BTW, your love of all things historical is so inspiring to me. I LOVE it when you tell the back-story. :D

Rachel said...

I loved this combination when I saw it for the first time recently. But goshdarnit, I wish they had captioning so I could understand the Peace on Earth lyrics and corny lines! (Ever try to lipread Bowie? Impossible! hee hee!)

Thanks for sharing!

blueviolet said...

I remember watching it when it aired the first time and knowing (even though I was a child) that it was a very, very special song.

I stop everything I'm doing to watch that to this day. Love it!

Delana said...

Joan, I love this song...but never knew it's history. Thank you for enlightening us...and Merry Christmas

Shan said...

Ahh, I love that song. Always have. And now, in addition to what you taught me today, I learned two more things. One, this was made in what I told my mom was my "favorite year... will it ever be 1977 again?" And two, I'm the same age as David Bowie's son. I never hought of him as a father figure.

lifeshighway said...

Oh, I remember this clip so well. Thank you for sharing it with us. I also pause when I hear it being played on the radio.

ReformingGeek said...

This is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Thank you so much for posting this.

Elle said...

Thank you so much for posting this. It's my most favorite Christmas song. I think it's just beautiful. I love the video even more than listening to the song!!

Jinksy said...

I'd never heard that before, so thank you for an unexpected Chritsmas gift! :)

Cheeseboy said...

Video is not working for me, but I have seen it many times. I often wonder who it was that thought, "you know who would be great to sing a Christmas duet?..."

Pastor Sharon said...

I had no idea this is how this song happened! I have always wondered how Bing and David came to sing together. Thank you so much for sharing!
Merry Christmas!

Mia said...

Bowie looks absolutely....establishment.

Joanna Jenkins said...

What a find! Thank you. This is lovely and you're right, the mutual respect shows through beautifully. These guys must have been in the Christmas spirit.
Now I am too! cheers, jj

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