The Little Drummer Boy

Stacie Marshall

The Little Drummer Boy
"The Little Drummer Boy" (originally known as "Carol of the Drum") is a popular Christmas carol written by the American classical music composer Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941. First recorded in 1951 by the Trapp Family Singers, the song was popularized by a 1958 recording by the Harry Simeone Chorale; the Simeone version was re-released successfully for several years and the song has been recorded many times since. In the lyrics, the singer describes how, as a poor young boy, he was summoned by the Magi to the Nativity of Jesus. Without a gift for the Infant Christ, the little drummer boy played his drum with Jesus’ mother, Mary’s favor; saying, “I played my best for him” and "He smiled at me."

"The Little Drummer Boy" Lyrics

Come thy told me
Pa rum pum pum-pum
A newborn King to see
Pa rum pum pum-pum

Our finest gifts we bring
Pa rum pum pum-pum
To lay before the king
Pa rum pum pum-pum
Rum pum pum-pum Rum pum pum-pum

So to honor Him
Pa rum pum pum-pum
When we come

Little baby
Pa rum pum pum-pum
I am a poor boy too
Pa rum pum pum-pum

I have no gift to bring
Pa rum pum pum-pum
That's fit to give our King
Pa rum pum pum-pum
Rum pum pum-pum Rum pum pum-pum

Shall I play for you
Pa rum pum pum-pum
On my drum

Mary nodded
Pa rum pum pum-pum
The ox and lamb kept time
Pa rum pum pum-pum

I played my drum for Him
Pa rum pum pum-pum
I played my best for Him
Pa rum pum pum-pum
Rum pum pum-pum Rum pum pum-pum

Then He smiled at me
Pa rum pum pum-pum
Me and my drum

Songwriters Katherine Kennicott Davis, Harry Simeone Published by 20th Fox

The Story Behind The Little Drummer Boy

According to Wikipedia, this carol was initially named "Carol of the Drum" and was published by Davis based upon a traditional Czech song. Davis's interest was in producing material for amateur and girls' choirs. Her manuscript is set as a chorale, in which the tune is in the soprano melody with alto harmony, tenor and bass parts producing the "drum rhythm" and a keyboard accompaniment "for rehearsal only". It is headed "Czech Carol freely transcribed by K.K.D.", these initials then replaced with "C.R.W. Robinson", a name under which Davis sometimes published. The Czech original of the carol has never been known.

Bible Inspiration of "The Little Drummer Boy"

"But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” ~ Matthew 19:14

"And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh." ~ Matthew 2:11

"Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!" ~ Psalm 150

Our Favorite Performance of "The Little Drummer Boy"

Collection of Popular Christmas Hymns and Carols:

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
The First Noel
Joy To The World
O Holy Night
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Silent Night
O Come All Ye Faithful
Go Tell It On The Mountain
What Child Is This
O Little Town of Bethlehem
We, Three Kings of Orient, Are
Ave Maria
Away in a Manger
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Do You Hear What I Hear?
We Wish You A Merry Christmas
The Little Drummer Boy


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