Bing Crosby’s Last Christmas Special ► Monday Musical Appreciation

On this day in 1977 (as The Music History Calendar tells us): Bing Crosby’s last Christmas special airs. The show was recorded in September, and Crosby died that October. The show is remembered for Crosby’s unusual duet with David Bowie, where they sang a modified version of “Little Drummer Boy,” with Bowie singing the new “Peace On Earth” lyrics composed by the show’s writers.

For many decades — and for millions of people around the world — Bing Crosby meant Christmas. His rendition of Irving Berlin‘s White Christmas has been certified by Guinness World Records as the best selling single in history, with well over 150 million copies. According to the WikiWackyWoo:

The first public performance of the song was by Bing Crosby, on his NBC radio show The Kraft Music Hall on Christmas Day, 1941; a copy of the recording from the radio program is owned by the estate of Bing Crosby and was loaned to CBS News Sunday Morning for their December 25, 2011, program.[5] He subsequently recorded the song with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra and the Ken Darby Singers for Decca Records in just 18 minutes on May 29, 1942, and it was released on July 30 as part of an album of six 78-rpm discs from the film Holiday Inn.[5][8]
At first, Crosby did not see anything special about the song. He just
said “I don’t think we have any problems with that one, Irving.”[9]

Crosby reprised the tune in the 1954 movie White Christmas, which was virtually a remake of Holiday Inn.

One of my earliest posts here was called “Okay, I’ll Confess. I Love Bing Crosby!” It is a paean to one of my favourite vocalists, and one I used to make jokes about. However, as I explained, it took Louis Armstrong to make me appreciate Bing Crosby, who rocketed up to the top of my personal hit parade.

Here is the last time the country was able to celebrate Christmas with Bing Crosby.

Long may he sing.

About Headly Westerfield

Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.