Bing Crosby and David Bowie might not seem like the perfect collaboration on paper, but the pair proved to be very charming on the former’s television show.
Bowie appeared on the Merrie Olde Christmas special on this day in 1977. Crosby joined him for “Peace On Earth” before segueing into “Little Drummer Boy.”
Watch the performance below:
Bing’s daughter Mary recalled to Billboard that everybody was stunned by Bowie’s rock star presence.
“The doors opened and David walked in with his wife. They were both wearing full-length mink coats, they have matching full makeup and their hair was bright red,” she told the summer TV critics’ tour Wednesday. “We were thinking, `Oh my god.'”
Son Nathaniel Crosby was skeptical it would work out.
“It almost didn’t happen. I think the producers told him to take the lipstick off and take the earring out. It was just incredible to see the contrast.”
Bowie recalled in a 1999 interview with Q Magazine that he thought the appearance was preposterous.
“I think the thing with Bing is the most ludicrous…it’s wonderful to watch. We were so totally out of touch with each other.”
Crosby passed away from a heart attack before the special aired. Bowie questioned his well-being during the filming.
Yes. I was wondering if he was still alive. He was just… not there. He was not there at all. He had the words in front of him. (Deep Bing voice) “Hi, Dave, nice to see you here…” And he looked like a little old orange sitting on a stool. “Cos he’d been made up very heavily and his skin was a bit pitted, and there was just nobody home at all, you know? It was the most bizarre experience. I didn’t know anything about him. I just knew my mother liked him.
Bowie also performed his signature song, “Heroes”, on the Christmas special: