Blog Caroling – The Little Drummer Boy

Posted by: Eileen A. Souza


Posted today for Footnote Maven’s traditional blog caroling event, held every year at
Christmas time by the genealogy blogging community. You can see her 2018
announcement here .


My first encounter with the carol, “The Little Drummer Boy,” occurred while I was in high school, with the release of the initial 1958 recording by the Harry Simeone Chorale. My second encounter came the following year when the school chose to give a performance of this carol in the annual Christmas Pageant, and I was selected to paint the backdrop, a stained-glass window.

The window had a light shown through it, making it appear as glass. Mary, Joseph, the babe and manger were all arranged in front of it. Mary, who was a classmate of mine and had a beautiful voice, sang the carol. The drummer boy was a young boy from the lower grades. All went beautifully–until the drummer boy vomited!

Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati, and Harry Simeone composed the Christmas song “The Little Drummer Boy” (originally known as “Carol of the Drum”). Davis first composed the words in 1941, Onorati arranged the song for recording in 1957, and in 1958, Simeone re-arranged the song yet again for his hit single.

According to Wikipedia, the most notable rendition of this song was a duet by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. But I’ve always loved the classic Harry Simeone Chorale version best, that is, until recently, when I discovered two very different modern versions of this well-known classic, and both brought a tear to my eye. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Both can be found on YouTube.

The first of the two is the most traditional rendition of “The Little Drummer Boy.” It is performed a cappella by Pentatonix, and I think you’ll be astounded at what they do with it. You can find it here.

The second of the two will take you by surprise as it is magnificently performed by For King and Country here.

For those of you who prefer the traditional version by the Harry Simeone Chorale, it can be found here.

Finally, here are the lyrics courtesy of


The Little Drummer Boy

Come, they 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 the 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.




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