My all-time favorite song - not just Christmas song, but ANY song - is the duet with Bing Crosby and David Bowie, "Peace On Earth". Every year, the first couple of times I hear it, it touches my soul and I cry.
Bing Crosby was my father's favorite singer. His albums were a staple in my house growing up. He was like a god. My father sang and patterned himself after Bing. You get the idea, he was a BIG DEAL in my life.
I remember when "Peace On Earth" first aired back in 1977. At that time, it actually upset me. It was Bing Crosby's last Christmas special. He died a month before it aired. I couldn't believe that of all the celebrities in the world, someone decided that David Bowie should be on Bing's Christmas special. It seemed like a bizarre choice to me. Bing's Christmas specials were always "warm and fuzzy," a good old-fashioned Christmas. David Bowie? REALLY?!!! Then, when they sang that song, David Bowie was the lead and Bing basically sang backup for him. Again... REALLY?!!! I was very upset.
After the song aired, it came out that David Bowie was supposed to sing "Little Drummer Boy" with Bing but refused. He said he hated that song and just couldn't do it. Now I was furious. The nerve of him to give my beloved Bing such a hard time on what ended up being his last Christmas special ever. Who did he think he was?!!!!!!
Fast forward 25 years or so. My youngest son sent me a Christmas CD he made for me. It has songs from many different artists. Guess what song is number 16? That's right, "Peace On Earth." I couldn't believe it. He sent me this song that I had such strong emotions about. Of course, he had no idea. Understand, it wasn't the actual song that I had an aversion to, it was the story that went with it. Truthfully, I don't remember if I actually even listened to the song itself. Well, I don't know exactly what changed between then and now (it was probably me), but I fell in love. I could not believe what a beautiful, meaningful song it was. Like I said before, it touches my soul.
As I think about and read about how this incredible song came to be, it just blows me away. First, this impudent 30-year-old rocker refuses to sing a particular song with BING CROSBY. So three people get together and scribble something out quickly to take its place. Then Bing and David Bowie rehearse for an hour and a half. Next they record it and they nailed it! The rest, as they say, is history.
I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I finally got it. It wasn't about Bing. It wasn't about David Bowie. It was about the message in the lyrics. ALL these circumstances had to come together to make this beautiful song happen. The WHOLE thing was so incredibly inspired.
I leave you now with the gift of this wonderful, moving song. Enjoy. I wish you all a happy holiday season filled with Peace On Earth. Merry Christmas!
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