Appearing in the freshly released Netflix special, A Very Murray Christmas, Bill Murray and Phoenix combined their contrasting musical abilities to tackle a cover of a rare Beach Boys holiday tune, "Alone on Christmas Day." The track was originally written in 1979 for a Beach Boys Christmas LP, but was ultimately scrapped and never saw an actual release. A demo version of the track has been floating around as a bootleg for years.
The Murray-Phoenix cover track, complete with sleigh bells and heavy synth, also features Bored to Death's Jason Schwartzmann, New York Doll's David Johansen and Paul Schaffer, former musical director for the Late Show. Phoenix frontman, Thomas Mars, croons of the loneliness hidden underneath the snow-filled, naturally cheery season. For the Ghostbusters alum's segment, he gives the advice to "keep moving on" throughout life's troubles.
The piano steered track, crafted for the Sofia Coppola-directed film, is available for digital purchase as well as a seven-inch, limited edition vinyl via independent music retailers. All earnings from the track's sale will go towards UNICEF, Pitchfork reports.
Phoenix went to Beach Boys member and co-founder Mike Love to ask permission of covering "Alone on Christmas Day" for the Netflix special, sparking the idea for Love to revamp the track and re-write the song's arrangement and lyrics with the assistance of Michael Lloyd and classical pianist Ron Altbach.
"I know what it's like to be away from loved ones during the holidays," Love told Rolling Stone. "With all the cheer that's around, you can still feel pretty melancholy. But the message of this song is that you're never truly alone if you're in the hearts of those you love. No matter where you are that time of year, we're with you."
A Very Murray Christmas is now available to view on Netflix, with glimpses of and performances form a star-studded cast of Miley Cyrus, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock, Michael Cera, Jenny Lewis, George Clooney and more.