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Five Things To Love About "The Little Drummer Boy"


Beating The Drum For Wellesley

Originally titled "Carol Of The Drum," "The Little Drummer Boy" was written by Katherine Kennicott Davis, who taught music theory and piano at Wellesley. Which goes to show that elves aren’t Santa’s only helpers – he can count on the Seven Sisters, too.

Spanning The Spectrum Davis also studied with Nadia Boulanger, a music teacher in Paris who instructed a glittering array of future luminaries including Philip Glass and Quincy Jones. Connecting the dots between "The Little Drummer Boy," Einstein On The Beach, and "It’s My Party (And I’ll Cry If I Want To)" is a sure-fire way to win a bar bet on a wintry Christmas Eve.

Maybe Just Brass

Writing a song that repeats ‘pa rum pum pum pum’ after every single line and then uses it for the chorus as well again takes bells of steel. Or silver at the very least.

Pret A Manger

The ox and lamb kept time’. This bit of whimsy from out of the blue in the song’s closing lines suddenly makes the manger feel like a hep place to be. Surely Sammy Davis Jr. will break into "Rhythm Of Life" the moment the drummer boy sets aside his sticks.

Cross Culture

Of all the songs in the Christmas canon, it’s the only one that ever brought David Bowie and Bing Crosby together. If only Bing had turned the tables and recorded "Is There Life On Mars?" As the B-side.

Number one in a series.

1 December 2020

The Enthusiast ( is the pen name of critic Michael Collins. He reports back only on what’s good, never what’s bad. He is currently imbued with the holiday spirit.


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