David Bowie and Bing Crosby
Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy
1977, released 1982
Surreal television. Weird team-up in entertainment. Perfect musical moment.
In 1977 glam rocker David Bowie appeared as a guest on Bing’s long-running annual Christmas TV special, and they sang a duet after an awkward scripted setup. The song was a medley of “Peace On Earth” with the standard “Little Drummer Boy”.
Bing died a month after this was recorded, and a month prior to the airing of the TV special. The song was finally released as a single in 1982. Also that year, MTV added the clip to its rotation as a stand-alone video.
After decades of forgettable holiday TV specials and variety shows with uninspired duets with artists from different genres, this performance stands out. At first you may think it’s due to the shock factor of the pairing: it’s the tiny point on the Venn Diagram where The Golden Age of Hollywood overlaps with Modern Rock. But shock value alone doesn’t hold it up this long. Two great voices do.