Revenge Recommends: "The Little Drummer Boy/ Peace on Earth" by Bing Crosby & David Bowie


Sinatra and Bono, Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue, Ike and Tina Turner – over the years there have been some extremely oddball musical pairings, but taking the Xmas cake for the weirdest musical duet pairing of all time is undoubtedly this classic carol from two towering geniuses of completely different musical cosmoses, Bing Crosby and David Bowie, recorded in September 1977.
The bass baritone of 74-year-old crooning legend and the androgynous tenor of the 30-year-old "Thin White Duke" dovetail perfectly in this duet, but also interesting is the way the song itself is a kind of duet between two separate songs, Katherine Kennicott Davis' 1941 composition, "The Little Drummer Boy," based on a traditional Czech carol, and "Peace on Earth," a song that was quickly written by Ian Fraser, Larry Grossman, and Alan Kohan after Bowie expressed misgivings about singing "The Little Drummer Boy."

Tragically Crosby never made it to Christmas, dying one month after the recording.

Pre-song dialogue:

David: Hello. You the new butler?
Bing: Hahaha! Well, it's been a long time since I've been the new anything!
David: What's happened to Hudson?
Bing: I guess he's changing.
David: Yeah, he does that a lot, doesn't he? Uhm... Oh, I'm David Bowie, I live
down the road.
Bing: Oh!
David: Sir Percival let's me use his piano when he's not around. He's not around, is he?
Bing: I can honestly say I haven't seen him, but come on in! Come on in!
David: But uh...
Bing: Come on in!
David: Are you related to sir Percival?
Bing: Well, distantly...
David: Oh, you're not the poor relation from America, right?
Bing: Ha! Gee, news sure travels fast, doesn't it? I'm Bing.
David: Oh, I'm pleased to meet you. You're the one that sings, right?
Bing: Well, right or wrong, I sing either way.
David: Oh well, I sing too.
Bing: Oh good! What kind of singing?
David: Mostly the contemporary stuff. Do you uh... do you like modern music?
Bing: Oh, I think it's marvellous! Some of it really fine. But tell me, have you ever listened to any of the older fellows?
David: Oh yeah, sure. I like, ah, John Lennon and the other one with, eh, Harry Nielson.
Bing: Mmm, you go back that far, huh?
David: Yeah, I'm not as young as I look.
Bing: Haha, none of us is these days!
David: In fact I've got a six year old son. And he really gets excited around the Christmas holiday-thing.
Bing: Do you go in for any of the traditional things in the eh Bowie household, Christmas time?
David: Oh yeah, most of them really. Presents, a tree, decorations, agents sliding down the chimney...
Bing: What??
David: I was just seeing if you were paying attention.
Bing: Haha!
David: Actually, our family do most of the things that other families do. We sing the same songs.
Bing: Do you?
David: Oh, I even have a go at White Christmas.
Bing: You do, uh!
David: And this one. This is my son's favourite. Do you know this one?
Bing: Oh, I do indeed, it's a lovely thing.

Lyrics:

Come they told me pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
A new-born king to see pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
Our finest gifts we bring pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
Rum-pum-pum-pum, rum-pum-pum-pum

David: Peace on Earth, can it be
Bing: Come they told me pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
David: Years from now, perhaps we'll see
Bing: A new-born king to see pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
David: See the day of glory
Bing: Our finest gifts we bring pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
David: See the day, when men of good will
Bing: To lay before the king pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
David: Live in peace, live in peace again
Bing: Rum-pum-pum-pum, rum-pum-pum-pum
David: Peace on Earth,
Bing: So to honour him pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
David: Can it be
Bing: When we come

David Bing:
Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can

David: I pray my wish will come true
Bing: Little baby pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
David: For my child and your child too
Bing: I stood beside him there pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
David: He'll see the day of glory
Bing: I played my drum for him pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
David: See the day when men of good will
Bing: I played my best for him pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
David: Live in peace, live in peace again
Bing: Rum-pum-pum-pum, rum-pum-pum-pum
David: Peace on Earth,
Bing: And he smiled at me pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
David: Can it be
Bing: Me and my drum
David Bing: Can it be
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