It was an unlikely pairing. Legendary crooner Bing Crosby and rock sensation David Bowie were about the last two people you'd ever expected to see doing a duet together. But it was incredibly effective, and incredibly popular, when they united voices on the old holiday standard The Little Drummer Boy. An instant classic, Crosby and Bowie unknowingly created one of the most played holiday songs ever.
It seems fitting in a way. After all, Crosby is the man who made White Christmas the seasonal sensation it has been ever since he first sang it in the film Holiday Inn. Known for his smooth delivery of standards over the decades, Bing had been doing holiday specials for years when his producers decided to invite the more contemporary, the utterly British, and the extremely flambouyant Bowie onto his show. Some folks even found it humorous. Yet these two singers, poles apart in style, made history.
The clip from that now classic special of Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing The Little Drummer Boy still evokes feelings of nostalgia and holiday spirit in even the most casual listener. It's fun to watch, especially their patter in the beginning, but when they begin to sing the magic is still made for a new generation of listeners every time it plays.