NYFOS logo

Bing Crosby and David Bowie: Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy

The roster of great talents who have blogged for NYFOS’s No Song Is Safe From Us humbles me. Steve and Michael have created nearly three decades worth of artistic relationships with some of our city’s most gifted citizens. I am so very grateful, as humble publican to this exalted community, to be invited to share some of my favorite songs along with this impressive company of No Song Is Safe From Us contributors.

My first Song o’ Day is inspired by next Monday’s 6th annual Sing for Your Supper holiday show – A Goyishe Christmas to You – Yuletide Songs by Jewish Composers. SFYS is a divine mix of high- and lowbrow, formal and casual, elegant and earthy, classical and contemporary. I honor SFYS – Goy! with the choice of Bing Cosby and David Bowie’s duet of “Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy.” This duet is a perfect holiday blend of styles and generations. What better way to celebrate the holidays and NYFOS than this inclusive pairing of cardigans and mod hairstyles?

Holidays are one of the most important ways a culture defines itself. In a multi-cultural setting like New York City, and especially at HENRY’s, the lasting resonance of Goy is its message of a holiday as inclusive, welcoming and warm as this song. Bing + Bowie bring together so many disparate elements – faux castle sets, Christmas kitsch, cardigans and the hippest, most avant-garde, “tri-sexual” rocker ever – and from them they make beautiful music. If only the song had been written by a Jew!

We all know how hard it can be to create grace under pressure. Holidays are filled with tradition and heightened expectations. Sometimes it can be challenging to appear warm and welcoming, especially if difficult relatives are involved. There are moments in the famous footage of Bing + Bowie where you can see them sneaking uncertain glances like long-lost cousins. But, at the end of their song, you can also see artists who realize they’ve made something special. As Bing says at the end of their song, “It’s a pretty thing isn’t it?”

Please share the joys of Bing + Bowie with me as we enjoy the holiday season with friends and family. Join me as we move through the awkward and the difficult towards the warm and welcoming. Join me in the holiday spirit of inclusiveness.

Song of the Day: March 28


I am so grateful to be sharing these songs with you this week. It’s an eclectic mix as my tastes have never been particularly grounded in one musical style.

I grew up with Bowie’s music and loved it. It is extraordinary to think that throughout his career & even up to his recent death he went through so many re inventions and transformations. His songs provoke us to examine who we are, what we stand for and to question the very meaning of our existence. I am sure they will continue to do so for generations to come. This well known song from the 1971 Hunky Dory album is quintessentially Bowie – a kind of manifesto for ‘change’. A real gem.

New York Festival of Song • One Penn Plaza • #6108 • New York, NY 10119 • 646-230-8380 • info@nyfos.org