Via WashingtonPost.com. One of the most successful duets in Christmas music history -- and surely the weirdest -- almost didn't happen. "Little Drummer Boy" has become a holiday favorite. Bowie, who was 30 at the time, and Crosby, then 73, recorded the duet Sept. 11, 1977, for Crosby's "Merrie Olde Christmas" TV special. A month later, Crosby was dead of a heart attack. The special was broadcast on CBS about a month after his death.
When the producers of the special asked Bowie to sing Little Drummer Boy with Bing, he refused.
The original plan had been for Bowie and Crosby to sing just "Little Drummer Boy." But David came in and said: "I hate this song. Is there something else I could sing?"
So just hours before he was supposed to go before the cameras, a team of composers and writers frantically retooled the song. They added another melody and new lyrics as a counterpoint to all those pah-rumpa-pum-pums and called it "Peace on Earth." Bowie liked it. More important, Bowie sang it.
Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly recaptured the awkward banter and singing of the most bizarre pairing of talent Christmas has ever seen. And it's awesome!