Tuesday, 19 April 2016

P - Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy

Peace on Earth, can it be
Years from now, perhaps we'll see
See the day of glory
See the day, when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again

No Christmas music repertoire is complete without this famous duet of David Bowie and Bing Crosby.  It was recorded at Elstree Studios in London on September 11th 1977 for Crosby's then-upcoming television special Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas.  Bootlegs of the song had "Heroes" as the B-side (which Bowie had also performed for the special) however in 1982 an official single was released with "Fantastic Voyage" from Bowie's album Lodger as the B-side.


Bowie reportedly hated the song "Little Drummer Boy" so the songwriters for the show composed "Peace on Earth" as a counterpoint, and the two singers performed the duet after less than an hour of rehearsal.  Afterwards Bowie admitted that he only appeared on the show because he knew his mother liked Bing Crosby, but he also described the experience as "surreal" because it occurred at a time when he was trying to "normalize" his career.  A few days after the taping, Crosby had a positive opinion of Bowie: "A clean-cut kid... He sings well, has a great voice."

The single hit Number Three on the UK singles chart in 1982, became one of Bowie's fastest-selling singles and was certified silver within a month of its release.  In 2010 a limited edition of 2000 copies was released on red vinyl in the U.S. by Collector's Choice Music, with a 1953 duet of Bing Crosby and Ella Fitzgerald singing "White Christmas" as the B-side.

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