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Who Wrote and Composed “The Little Drummer Boy”

“The Little Drummer Boy”, originally known as “Carol of the Drum” is a popular Christmas carol that tells the story of a poor young boy who is invited to play his drum for baby Jesus. It has become one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time and has been recorded by thousands of different artists. The story has also been adapted for television, including a very popular animated version that is still shown around the world every Christmas. Let’s find out who wrote and composed this much loved Christmas classic.

Who wrote and composed “The Little Drummer Boy”?

“The Little Drummer Boy” was written by American music composer and teacher Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941 and the song was originally titled the “Carol of the Drum.” Davis had an interest in writing music for amateur and girls’ choirs. She was inspired by a traditional Czech carol, but the original carol has never been identified. The song remained virtually unknown until it was recorded by the Trapp Family Singers in 1955. It was also recorded in 1957 by Jack Halloran Singers with small adjustments to the arrangement. However, it was the 1958 recording by the Harry Simeone Chorale that led to the popularity of this Christmas song. Music arranger Harry Simeone was introduced to the song in 1958 and he made minor adjustments to the arrangement and released it under the title “The Little Drummer Boy.” The song was a huge success and the single was listed on the U.S. charts for 5 years running.

Did you know?
The story for the song is similar to a 12th century French legend (later made into an opera) called Le Jongleur de Notre Dame (French: Our Lady’s Juggler). In this story a juggler juggles before a statue of Mary and the statue smiles or throws him a rose.

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