(Annoying) Little Drummer Boy

But he’s not drumming for me…

(In this series, we’re taking a look at the Christmas story through the lens of songs. If you missed any, you can catch up on Part I & Part II.)

I have some ambivalence about the next Christmas song on our list. I love the lyrics, but the song itself can be somewhat annoying in practice. (Is that bad to say???)

The song I am referring to is none other than “Little Drummer Boy.” My annoyance comes from the endless drones of “Pa rum pum pum-pum’s.” I know — those drum beats are the whole essence of the song. But they seem to drown out the lyrics, which carry a beautiful message.

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

“Little Drummer Boy” was written by Katherine K. Davis in 1941, but there is a bit of mystery surrounding it. Some accounts say Davis wrote the lyrics herself, while others say it was a collaboration between Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone.

The song was first recorded by the Trapp Family Singers (the family The Sound of Music was based on) in 1951. Like most Christmas carols, “Little Drummer Boy” has been recorded by hundreds of artists, most recently by Carrie Underwood(I guess Carrie is saving Christmas for me this year!)

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