When David Bowie sent a Christmas message with the perfect Elvis Presley impression

There has always been something distinctly Christmassy about David Bowie. Perhaps it is because of his inexplicable Bing Crosby collaboration, or maybe his involvement in The Snowman. On this occasion, the reason he seems so seasonal is because of the perfect festive impression of Elvis Presley… or should we go the cracker joke route and say Elfish Presley.

Bowie has always shared a similar sibilance with the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. In fact, in a recent dream covers piece, yours truly wished that he could’ve covered ‘Heartbreak Hotel’. Proof that he would’ve nailed it comes from midway through his medley with Cher. Bowie dons a verse by ‘The King’ and it’s a highlight in what is undoubtedly one of the finest music videos you will ever find.

Simply put, Bowie was a very talented vocalist whether singing or doing daft impressions. In fact, it highlights an eternal paradox in music, can Bowie be really an underrated singer when everyone considers him an underrated singer? While this Christmas message impersonating the ‘King’ might not bring that debate back to the fore per se, it does show how talented he was across the board.

And the links between Elvis and Bowie are plentiful. Hell, he even wrote ‘Golden Years’ intending to give it to the star. The duo also shared a birthday and in a strange way this forecasted Bowie’s future like nominative determinism. As he said himself: “I couldn’t believe it, he was a major hero of mine. And I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something.”

This cosmic connection would come to the fore at the end of his career too. His final outing Blackstar shares a name with a little-known Elvis track of the same name (a precursor to ‘Flaming Star’). Whether this was a coincidence or not is hard to tell, but what is for certain is that ‘The Starman’ had a hell of a lot of respect and admiration for ‘The King’.

Sadly, however, their astral plains failed to align. As country star Dwight Yoakam recalled regarding their near collaboration with ‘Golden Years’: “I couldn’t even imagine 1977 David Bowie producing Elvis. It would have been fantastic. It has to be one of the greatest tragedies in pop music history that it didn’t happen, one of the biggest missed opportunities.”

Fortunately, we have snippets of fun crossovers that really did happen as this clip Bowie sent for Mick Jones’s radio show in 2013 shows. As Bowie purrs in a voice that could be Presley’s: “Hello everybody, this is David Bowie making a telephone call from the US of A. At this time of the year I can’t help but remember my British-ness and all the jolly British folk, so here’s to you and have yourselves a Merry little Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you very much.”

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