Countdown to Downton Abbey – Cora’s YouTube Music Video

Last year I wrote a series of “Countdown” posts in anticipation of Season 4 of Downton Abbey.  I had not intended to do the same this year, but yesterday I stumbled across something that was too fun not to share.

So, first the “countdown” part.  Season 5 of Downton Abbey is set to premiere in the U.S. on January 4 at 8:00 pm Central Time (9:00 Eastern).  The official PBS Downton Abbey page doesn’t have a countdown clock, as it has in past years, forcing us all to do the math ourselves.  But the page does have trailers and links and all the usual time-wasting stuff 🙂

Now for Cora’s music video.  Actress Elizabeth McGovern, who plays Lady Grantham, has a band in real life called Sadie and the Hotheads.  They’ve just released a cover of “The Little Drummer Boy,” which has a YouTube video (below) and which is also available for downloading at iTunes.

And, of course, the song itself has now put me in mind of two other versions (well, actually just one; the other is an exact replica, with uncanny mimicry) that I also feel compelled to share 🙂   The first features Bing Crosby and David Bowie, an odd pairing if there ever was one—and an excellent example of how innovative it can be to combine wildly disparate elements.

Apparently the creation of this polyphony between the old “Drummer Boy” and the new “Peace on Earth” was a completely unexpected turn of events.  A Washington Post article, “Bing and Bowie,” details the strange serendipity behind the song’s composition.  Apparently Bing Crosby happened to be in England on a concert tour in September 1977 and had lined up some British stars to appear as guests on his annual Christmas special.  David Bowie’s home was near the studio where Crosby was recording scenes for the show, so convenience was one factor in getting him.  But at the last minute Bowie announced that he hated “The Little Drummer Boy” and refused to sing it, so Crosby’s writers hurriedly wrote the “Peace on Earth” song for him to sing in counterpoint instead.  Necessity truly is the mother of invention.

By the way, Crosby died about a month after this performance was recorded.  So “serendipity” may be a very relevant description, indeed.

The second video is a parody of the first, with dead-on accuracy of reproduction by Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.  I don’t know why this video makes me laugh so much.  Will Ferrell plays it completely straight, which you can see if you compare the two videos closely, but every eyebrow lift and turn of the head is hilarious.  You’ll have to head over to YouTube to actually watch this video: link here.  For whatever reason, Funny or Die (the producers) have set it up so that I can’t embed it for you to view on my blog.  You’ll be subjected to a really long ad at first, but it’s worth enduring in order to watch the video, IMO 🙂


About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
This entry was posted in Life, Popular culture, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Countdown to Downton Abbey – Cora’s YouTube Music Video

  1. Those are great!! 🙂


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