It is Thursday, September 11th, 2014 and there remains only 105 days until Christmas.
Today is Crosby and Bowie Day, celebrating the unlikely pairing of two generations of iconic musicians for the purpose of Christmas. The story of their coming together is now legendary. Bing Crosby, in the final months of his life during which he enjoyed a brilliant five-decade career as America’s most celebrated entertainer, was looking for a contemporary artist to perform with on an upcoming Christmas special.
Crosby performed with a huge variety of entertainers over the course of his career and was a master at nearly any musical genre. But when paired with David Bowie more than a few eyebrows were raised. Bowie was anything but conventional.
David Bowie was born in 1947 and by that time Bing Crosby has been a household name for decades. Crosby was America’s first superstar. Bowie rose to fame on the strength of his originality and eclecticism first during the glam rock era of the 1970s and later in alternative pop of the 1980s. Of performing with Crosby that fall season of 1977 Bowie admitted that he did it because “I knew my mother liked him”.
Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas television special was the last of a traditional format that Crosby pioneered on television. The plan was for the pair to do the duet of Little Drummer Boy but Bowie hated the song and asked for an alternative. The song and script writers of the show quickly composed “Peace on Earth” and the rest is Christmas history: