” Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy ” is by David Bowie and Bing Crosby. The song was written by Ian Fraser, Larry Grossman, Alan Kohan, Harry Simeone, K.K. Davis and Henry Onorati.
Production for the single was by David Bowie and Tony Visconti, the American record producer, musician and singer. Tony worked as a producer on many of David Bowie’s Albums including his 25th and final Album Blackstar.
The song was released in November 1982 by record label RCA Records ( Sony Music Entertainment ) and features on David’s 1993 compilation Album, The Singles Collection.
On the 11th of September 1977, Bing and David recorded ” Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy ” for Bing’s Merrie Olde Christmas TV special. The special was shot at Elstree Studios in London, England and featured his family and various guests which included Twiggy, David Bowie, Ron Moody, Stanley Baxter and the Trinity Boys Choir.
The show was to be Bing’s final Christmas special, five weeks later Bing passed away on October the 14th, 1977. The show was introduced by Kathryn Crosby, his widow and shown on TV in the United States on the CBS network on the 30th of November 1977 and ITV in the United Kingdom on Christmas Eve the same year. The show has gone down into music history because of the unusual duet.
The script had read that after Bing and David exchanged what they were doing for Christmas, it was then that they would sing ” Little Drummer Boy “. However, the show’s writers encountered a problem, in the fact that David refused to sing the song. ” I hate this song. Is there something else I could sing? ” co-writer Ian Fraser recalls David saying.
So Ian Fraser joined forces with Buz Kohan, the TV special scriptwriter and songwriter Larry Grossman to write a counter melody which became ” Peace on Earth “. It was reported that rehearsal for the new duet took less than an hour before they performed the song on the show.
A couple of days after the show was taped, Bing said of David, ” clean-cut kid and a real fine asset to the show. He sings well, has a great voice and reads lines well “.
” Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy ” was available as a bootleg single for many years; the song was backed with ” Heroes ” which David had performed on Bing’s Merrie Olde Christmas TV special. RCA issued the song in 1982 as an official recording and used ” Fantastic Voyage ” from David’s thirteenth Album, Lodger, which was released on the 18th of May, 1979.
David was unhappy with this move by the record label, and the official release soured the already strained relationship between David and RCA, soon after he left the label altogether.
” Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy ” was a commercial success for David and Bing. In the United Kingdom, the song entered the UK Singles Chart on the 27th of November 1982 and reached a peak of number three. It spent four weeks in the Top Ten and a total of ten weeks on the UK chart.
The single was to be one of David’s fastest selling singles of his career; it sold over 250,000 within the first month of being released and was certified Silver by the BPI ( British Phonographic Industry ) after a month of release. Total estimated sales for the single in the UK are thought to be over 445,000, giving David one his most successful singles.
Since the release of the single and airing of Bing’s Merrie Olde Christmas TV special, the duet has become a staple of the season with regular airplay on radio stations both in the UK and US; it’s also regularly added to Christmas compilation Albums and clips often shown on UK nostalgia shows.
” Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy ” continues to make the charts in both North America and Europe, it reached number two on the Canadian Singles Chart in 1998, proving the unlikeliest duet in music history hasn’t lost its appeal and has cemented a place in music history.
BillBoard Hot 100 Highest Chart Position: N/A
UK Highest Chart Position: 3
Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Austria 53, Belgium 33, Sweden 12, Norway 6, Ireland 3Christmas Pop bing crosbydavid bowiedavid bowie bing crosby little drummer boy peace on earthlittle drummer boypeace on earth