As I have gotten older… much older now, I am always amazed at just how quickly the Holidays seem to come back around once again. I totally love this Season but it feels like it was April just yesterday – I’m not sure how December has already arrived – although there is much to enjoy about this time of year. For one thing, in my neck of the woods there is an amazing light display put on in the middle of town – made up of over 400,000 lights – and every year it seems like it is even more beautiful than the previous year. Of course there is also the amount of Holiday music that take over the radio as well as what is pumped out in all of the stores. In my youth it was really my Grandmother and myself that were the big fans of this Season – a lot of that was spent listening to her collection of Holiday LP’s – like Nat King Cole, Elvis, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby to name a few. So back on November 30th of 1977, while I was busy thinking about pretty much nothing but Star Wars and looking over my Topps trading cards – my Family tuned to CBS to watch Big Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas special. One that featured a duet with David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing “Peace on Earth/The Little Drummer Boy” – furthermore after that aired there was The Johnny Cash Christmas Special!
Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas was recorded on September 11th of 1977 – which would mark a mere five weeks before Crosby would pass away. The story for the Holiday special revolves around Bing Crosby and his Family receiving an invitation to join their relative, Sir Percival Crosby, in England for the Holiday. While Bing and his real life Family were featured in the special, Sir Percival was played by Ron Moody of Oliver! fame – as well as Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge, Fagin, and Daniel Quip. Twiggy also made an appearance as did comedian Stanley Baxter – each playing multiple characters in the special too. David Bowie appeared as the next door neighbor of Sir Percival Crosby and in my opinion – Bing and David truly play well off of each other – plus their duet of “Peace on Earth/The Little Drummer Boy” is just beautiful.
Supposedly the single for “Peace on Earth/The Little Drummer Boy” which was released on November 27th of 1982 – sold over 400,000 copies in just the UK and was Bowie’s best selling single of his career. In fact David Bowie would later in the show perform “Heroes” – being introduced by Bing Crosby while talking to Twiggy. I tell you, I still miss the late and great David Bowie but I am very grateful we have the ability to check out these moments of the Holiday special.