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Day 349 | Peace on Earth/ Little Drummer Boy

I intended to post this song on this day for nearly a year, from just after I started this tribute. It’s an obvious selection now, but it’s hard for me to imagine how unusual the pairing of Bowie and Bing Crosby must have been in 1977. This wasn’t just a meeting of different generations (I think there’s a gap of one or two between them), but Bowie in 1977 was not the cuddly, accessible Bowie of the 1980s or early 2000s. Bowie was creating the Berlin Trilogy at the time, which was not only cutting-edge but edgy. He was in Berlin in the first place to recover from drug addiction. This was the Bowie who wore a skirt on Saturday Night Live, when that was shocking, and dressed in drag for the “Boys Keep Swinging” video. But here, for Bing’s Christmas special, he looks as natural as Bob Hope. Since his death, many of Bowie’s songs seem to be transitioning from “classics” to standards. Oddly enough, this duet was probably the first to make the leap, long before Bowie died. Of course neither Bowie nor Crosby wrote this, but their rendition has now been part of the holiday rotation for nearly 40 years. My final note on this song is that it marks a point in time linking two artists whose combined careers spanned nearly a century. Crosby got his start in 1926, while Blackstar’s success this year marks the end of Bowie’s output. That 90- year span pretty much constitutes the history of pop music. I chose this song for this day for the obvious reason. Tomorrow begins the countdown to the anniversary of Bowie’s death and the end of this tribute. Every song after today is meant to be relevant to the occasion.

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