Little Drummer Boy
"The Little Drummer Boy" is a popular
Christmas song, with words and music by Katherine K. Davis. Henry Onorati and Harry Simeonehave been credited with writing the song, even though they were only the arrangers for their recordings of it. The best-known and most standard version is by the Harry SimeoneChorale. It is also known as the "Carol of the Drum".
Davis first composed the words and music for "Carol of the Drum" (ostensibly transcribed from a traditional Czech carol) in 1941. [ [http://musicyouwont.blogspot.com/2006/12/carol-of-little-drummer-boy.html Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anyplace Else: Carol of the Little Drummer Boy ] ] In 1957 Onorati arranged the song for a recording by the
Jack HalloranSingers on Dot Records. The following year Simeone re-arranged the song yet again and retitled it for his Chorale's hit single version, which was issued on 20th Fox Records' 45-121 with a 45rpm picture sleeve, then on their LP called "Sing We Now of Christmas", which became an enormous bestseller. In 1963 the company, now known as 20th Century Fox Records, retitled and reissued their album. It was now called "The Little Drummer Boy: A Christmas Festival", in order to boost sales even higher, as the 45-rpm single had continued to be a seasonal hit. The album was first issued only in mono, then in stereo a year later. Harry Simeone signed to Kapp Recordsin 1964 and recorded a new version of "The Little Drummer Boy" in 1965 on Kapp K-711 with a 45rpm picture sleeve. This version came from his new album "O' Bambino-The Little Drummer Boy" [Kapp 1450(mono) / 3450(stereo)] .
The lyrics tell the
apocryphal story of a poor young boy who, unable to afford a gift for the infant Jesus, plays his drum for the newborn with the Virgin Mary's approval. Miraculously, the baby, although a newborn, seems to understand and smiles at the boy in gratitude. The story is somewhat similar to an old twelfth-century legend retold by Anatole Franceas "Le jongleur de Notre-Dame" (The Juggler of Notre Dame), which was adapted into an operain 1902 by Jules Massenet. In the French legend, however, a jugglerjuggles before the statue of the Virgin Mary.
Rankin-Bassproduced a stop motionanimated Christmas television specialbased on the original story. The film names the drummer boy Aaron and expands the song's storyline to include events before the birth of Jesus. It stars the voices of Greer Garsonas "Our Storyteller" and Jose Ferreras Ben Haramad; it also features the Vienna Boys' Choirsinging the title song. It aired for many years on NBC(under original sponsorship of the American Gas Association(AGA)) before entering syndication. It currently airs in the U.S. on the ABC Familycable channel.
A television sequel, titled "The Little Drummer Boy, Book II", premiered in 1976, also on NBC, again sponsored by the AGA, again narrated by Greer Garson, and also currently airing on ABC Family. This time the sequel co-starred
Zero Mostelas the voice of Ben Haramad. NBC stopped airing the program after many complaints of Anti-Arabism.Fact|date=December 2007
Boney M. version
Name = Little Drummer Boy" / "6 Years of Boney M. Hits
from Album = Christmas Album
Released = November 1981
Format = 7" single, 12" single
Recorded = 1981
Genre = Pop,
Last single = "We Kill the World / Boonoonoonoos"
This single = "Little Drummer Boy / 6 Years of Boney M. Hits"
Next single = "The Carnival Is Over / Going Back West"
(1982)Extra album cover
Upper caption = Alternate cover
Background = khaki
Lower caption = "6 Years of Boney M. Hits" 12" single, Germany 1981.
"Little Drummer Boy" / "6 Years of Boney M. Hits (Boney M. on 45)" is a single by German band
Boney M., taken off their 1981 album "Christmas Album". "Little Drummer Boy" - the last song to feature dancer Bobby Farrell- peaked at #20 in the German charts. The B-side, a Stars on 45type medley of Boney M. hits was flipped as the A-side January 1982 and became a Spanish Top 10 hit single. While "Little Drummer Boy" was only released as a single in Germany, Canada and Scandinavia. Lead Vocal: Liz Mitchell. Backing Vocals: Jerry Rix, The London Christmas Choir.
*"Little Drummer Boy" - 4:27 / "
6 Years of Boney M. Hits" - 4:48(Hansa 103 777-100, Germany)
*"Little Drummer Boy" / "Little Drummer Boy" (Hansa 103 838-000, Promo-only, Germany)
Variations and covers
Trapp Family Singers, whose life story provided some inspiration for Rodgers and Hammersteinin their musical " The Sound of Music", recorded a song entitled "Carol of the Drum", identified on the Decca record jacket as a "Czech carol", prior to their 1955 retirement. This song has the same melody as "The Little Drummer Boy", and the text is the same as that given in the main article except for the line "The ox and lamb kept time". The TFS recording has "The ox and ass kept time", instead.
Harry Simeonerecording rose to #13 on the pop charts in 1958, despite its late issue date in November. Jim Jensen and John Cahill of KCRG in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, made it their pick-of-the-week as soon as they heard it, becoming the first deejays in this country to promote the recording as a pop hit.
The song has been covered by many other choral groups and
easy listeningorchestras as well, such as Percy Faith's orchestra, and light classical orchestras such as the Boston Pops.
Marlene Dietrichrecorded a German version of the song ("Der Trommelmann") in 1964.
* One of the most popular versions of this song is the "
Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" duet by the unusual pairing of Bing Crosbyand David Bowie. The duet was recorded in 1977 for a Crosby Christmas special and reappears annually in holiday music rotations.
The Dandy Warholsrecorded two versions of the song. The first was released in 1994 on Tim/Kerr Records. The second version was released by Capitol Recordsin 1997.
Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Bandcovered this song in 1977.
* A cover of this song by
Joan Jett and the Blackheartsconcluded the album "I Love Rock N' Roll" when it was released in December 1981. However, after the holiday season passed, the track was replaced by another song.
* The song has been adapted into an Icelandic version called
* A segment in a Christmas episode of
Animaniacshad an interpretation of "The Little Drummer Boy" featuring the Warner Brothers and Sister; Wakko turns out to be the Drummer Boy.
* The alternative rock band,
Jars of Clayhas recorded the song twice; once on their EP " Drummer Boy," and the second time on their full length " Christmas Songs".
Alicia Keysreleased a version entitled "Little Drummer Girl", which substantially modified the song's lyrics and music, before her label change and subsequent breakthrough hit "Fallin'".
* In 2004
Art Paul Schlosserreleased a version of the song called "Kazoo Boy" on his album " The ABCs of Art Paul Schlosser World". Schlosser's version uses Kazooinstead drum on the "rum pum pum pum" parts.
Celtic Womandid a version of the song in their Christmas show, in a duet with Orla Fallonand Chloe Agnew. The version included a choir and a real drummer.
Vince Guaraldidid a jazz piano arrangement titled "My Little Drum", for his soundtrack to "A Charlie Brown Christmas".
Parodyversions include "The Little Hooters Girl" (by Bob Rivers) and "Rub-a-Dum-Dum" (by The Boys, recording as "The Yobs").
Whitney Houstonand her daughter did a cover of the song "Little Drummer boy" on Houston's album Jack Halloran's daughter, Dawn Halloran Charouhas, has disputed Harry Simeone's co-authorship credit for the song. [ [http://www.jerryosborne.com/12-10-01.htm "Mr. Music" ] ]
The song was reportedly the favorite Christmas carol of President
Richard Nixon. It was featured on the television special Christmas at the White Housein 1972.
* [http://www.allchristmaslyrics.com/little_drummer_boy_lyrics.htm Little Drummer Boy Lyrics]
* [http://www.carols.org.uk/little_drummer_boy.htm Little Drummer Boy Lyrics]
* [http://www.musicatolica.net/displayimage.php?pos=-1547 Lead sheet and Spanish lyrics]
* [http://keyframeonline.com/Animation/The_Little_Drummer_Boy/82/"The Little Drummer Boy"] at
Keyframe - the Animation Resource
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Little drummer boy — Little Drummer Boy, auf deutsch „Der kleine Trommler“ ist ein bekanntes amerikanisches Weihnachtslied. Es erzählt die Geschichte des Sklavenjungen Michael, der mit seinem Herrn Titus zu König Herodes nach Judäa unterwegs ist. Während der Reise… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Little Drummer Boy — („Der kleine Trommler“) ist ein amerikanisches Weihnachtslied. Es erzählt die Geschichte eines armen Jungen, der es sich nicht leisten kann, dem neugeborenen Jesus ein Geschenk zu machen und daher mit dem Einverständnis der Jungfrau Maria für ihn … Deutsch Wikipedia
Little Drummer Boy Live — Infobox Album | Name = Little Drummer Boy Live Type = Live album Artist = Mark Kozelek Released = November 28, 2006 Recorded = 2003 2006 Genre = Folk rock Length = 72:23 (disc 1) 27:09 (disc 2) Label = Caldo Verde Records Producer = Mark Kozelek… … Wikipedia
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The Little Drummer Boy, Book II — is a 1976 Rankin Bass film. [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074805/ The Little Drummer Boy Book II (1976) (TV) ] ] It is the sequel to the 1968 Rankin Bass film, The Little Drummer Boy. It wil be release on DVD in a box set fall 2008. It airs… … Wikipedia
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