30 December 2008

12 Songs of Christmas - Song #2

Surely one of the oddest collaborations in history, what’s the most odd about it is that it’s become a bona-fide Christmas video classic, faithfully drug out and dusted off every year. David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth” probably did nothing but alienate fans of either artist (long-forgotten factoid: Bowie also performed “Heroes” on the same special!) at the time, but what I love about it (aside from the cheesiness) is that it’s a rare surviving fragment of that thing we used to call “The Inevitable Christmas Special” which was the duty of every moderately-loved entertainer back in the day.

It’s one of the reasons Stephen Colbert’s recent and Inevitable Christmas Special is just that little bit extra more enjoyable for those of us who grew up during the era of the ICS, as it's a wickedly on-target parody of all the touchstones of those shows. The clip I’ve selected has all the inane dialogue setting up the Crosby/Bowie meeting (some drivel about Bing’s relative “Sir Percival” and his castle) so you can get more of the flavour of just how painfully contrived these holiday programs were.

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