Is there a more iconic Christmas video than that of Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth” …on Earth?
The answer is no.
That’s because in this one video you get so many good things including but not limited to:
- Two cross-genre singing legends teaming up for a beautiful yule-tide duet
- A song that has now become a mainstay of Christmas albums worldwide
- Awkward and stunted dialogue that provides decades of re-watchable entertainment
The video is so iconic that a few years ago, Will Ferrel and John C. Reilly remade the video shot-for shot and word-for-word. When you’re done with the original be sure to compare it to this hilarious parody which could only be characterised as an homage.
That’s a little Christmas gift from me to you.
The video is part of a narrative film called “Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas” following a story wherein Bing Crosby spends Christmas in England after finding out that a distant relative named Sir Percival Crosby has invited him and his family to spend Christmas there. The video was released posthumously only five weeks after Crosby’s untimely passing.
Because of that tragic timing, this recording holds a lot of significance.
There are a few particularly memorable moments of this, specifically around the fact that in the story, Bowie doesn’t realize who Bing Crosby is when he arrives.
Bowie- “Hello, are you the new butler?”
Bing- “It’s been a long time since I’ve been the new anything”
Bowie finally introduces himself with a string of classic banter. Then it’s Bing’s turn.
Bowie- “Are you related to Sir Percival?
Bing- “Well distantly”
Bowie- “Oh you’re not the poor relation from America?”
Bing- “Gee news sure travels fast doesn’t it? I’m Bing”
This comes across as kind of rude, but Bing seems to pass it off jokingly.
Bowie- “You’re the one who sings, right?”
Bing- “Well, right or wrong, I sing either way”
Classic comedy gentlemen, great stuff! After some more witty chit-chat, the duo move on to the topic of Christmas. David Bowie mentions that his six year-old son loves Christmas, and Bing asks if the Bowie family partake in the traditional Christmas…traditions…
Bowie- “Oh yeah most of them really, presents, tree, decorations, agents sliding down the chimney”
Bowie- “I was just seeing if you’re paying attention”
Just wall-to-wall laughs… I promise you this pays off when you watch the video…
Then they begin singing, and it is actually spectacular!
Chances are you’ve already heard this song, but watching the video is a little bit extra-special. It’s great to see these two legends side-by-side and both lending their own personal style.
This video was a big deal back in the day, as David Bowie was seen as vastly more contemporary than Bing Crosby in 1977 when it was released. This was seen as a very unusual collaboration at the time. A modern comparison could be if you were to pair Neil Diamond with Justin Timberlake.
Now however, the song as whole is the cornerstone of any Christmas playlist.
Watch the full video below to experience my favorite Christmas video of all time!
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