Little Drummer Boy has been around for ages. There is quite a bit of uncertainty about who wrote it and who composed the tune. Most people agree that it was written by Katherine K. Davis in 1941. The song lyrics are probably based on an old Czech carol. The first available recording is by the Trapp family in 1951.
The unique vocal drum sound in the song (pa rum pum pum pum), gave it the name “Carol of the Drum” at the beginning. There are literally thousands of versions of this song – from Acapella to Heavy Metal to Pop to Kid Songs to Worship numbers to just about every conceivable genre, variation, beat and music video concepts. I’ve probably listened to a small fraction of the versions available. There are my five favorite versions of the lot.
1. For King and Country
This explodes with high energy and most lively version of the song I’ve heard. Luke and Joel take the noise level up several notches and keep you engrossed for the entire music video duration
2. 3 Drummers
Phil and his friends released the first version as 3 Drummers on multiple drum sets and accessories. The entire video was shot in one take and the backing vocals was the popular Pentatonix version. It rocked and racked up millions of views before being pulled down for copyright violation. The team then rerelease the video with their own backing vocals, but have not hit that level of viewership. The drumming and concept are fabulous. Don’t forget to see the full room cam view video also as it shows how the video was made. Interesting and definitely addictive.
This is the most meaningful video of the song I have seen in recent years. This was also the only song of Gentri I have seen. Shot in a hospital during Christmas season, it showcases excellent acoustic guitars with vocals along with the positive Christmas message of giving. It’s likely that the medico in me found this quite attractive!
4. Alex Boye’ and Genesis Choir
I like the African beat and music behind this version of the song. It’s a decent video too and tries to show the spirit of giving and sharing. The multiple African drums are a visual treat too!
5. Lincoln Brewster ft KJ 52
Lincoln has changed the rhythm on the usual “Pa rum pum pum pum”. This may sound like a cardinal sin for the song, but it works out as he throws in screeching guitars and makes it a rockish version of the carol. Just when you think the variation is enough, KJ 52 walks in with a wicked rap solo. I love how it all falls together. This just sneaks into my top 5 favorites!
The words of this song do reflect the true meaning of Christmas, but throws in some artistic liberty into the lyrics – ox keeping time and Mary nodding are well…. I wonder whether a tired mother would have actually loved having a drummer thrashing out a beat to her newborn baby!!