Las Vegas Rock band The Killers are recognized for their work with the Product Red campaign, an international charity dedicated to raising funds and awareness for HIV and AIDS. In 2006 they released their first Christmas themed song and music video, "A Great Big Sled," in aid of the charity. Their festive tunes have subsequently became an annual event and this is their sixth successive release intended to raise money for the Product Red campaign. The track was released as a digital download on December 1, 2011.
Speaking about the inspiration for the track, drummer Ronnie Vannucci told NME their original source was William Lawrence Chittenden's 1890 poem of the same name. "Brandon (Flowers) had a book of cowboy poetry and we took one of those and put music to it," he explained. "It's got this 1800s parlance, Western style. It's pretty upbeat and very down-home sounding - and overall pretty cool."
Back in 1991 Michael Martin Murphey adapted the same poem for a track on his festive album, Cowboy Christmas: Cowboy Songs II. (Some you might recall Murphey's 1972 top 40 hit, "Geronimo's Cadillac.")
David Bowie's "Space Oddity" tells the story of an astronaut who cuts off communication and floats into space. The BBC used it extensively in their coverage of the 1969 moon landing - an odd choice considering the lyrics.