December 23, 2007

peace on earth

"...pretty little thing, isn't it?" I saw this video today on Current, but its interesting to me that I have a childhood connection to this song. I doubt I was watching Bing Crosby's "Merrie Olde Christmas" special in 1977, when this aired. But it was rereleased as a video in 1982. Thats a year after MTV was born. Remember at the time how every broadcast and cable had videos in any open spot the could find a la "Friday Night Videos" on NBC? Surely I saw this video countless times during those years when videos were new; so thats probably where my connection to this comes from. But how did it come to be originally? Bing Crosby and David Bowie had never met before, but the 1977 special was set in England and featured appearances from other British stars as well. They were originally supposed to sing "Little Drummer Boy," but when Bowie showed up for the taping, he said 'I hate that song, is there anything else I could sing?' Ian Fraser, Larry Grossman, and a team of composers and writers went into a frenzy and in less than 90 minutes wrote and composed "Peace on Earth" and arranged it as a counterpoint to "Little Drummer Boy." Bowie loved it. That was September 11, 1977. Bowie was 30 at the time, Crosby was 73. A month later, Bing Crosby died. A month after that, the special aired for the first time on CBS. It stayed fairly vaulted until 1982, when it was rereleased, and has since become a holiday staple. Today the song even lives on through YouTube. I think its still my favorite Christmas arrangement of a Christmas song still today. And ever timely as well. Peace on Earth. indeed.
  • YouTube: David Bowie & Bing Crosby - Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth
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