December 5th: “Little Drummer Boy” / “Peace On Earth” Bing Crosby & David Bowie

 

The Little Drummer Boy” (originally known as “Carol of the Drum“) is a popular Christmas song written by the American classical music composer and teacher Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941. First recorded in 1951 by the Trapp Family Singers, the song was further popularized by a 1958 recording by the Harry Simeone Chorale; the Simeone version was re-released successfully for several years and the song has been recorded many times since.

 In the lyrics the singer relates how, as a poor young boy, he was summoned by the Magito the Nativity of Jesus. Without a gift for the infant the little drummer boy played his drum with Jesus’ mother, Mary’s approval; recalling, “I played my best for Him” and “He smiled at me.”

“Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” (sometimes titled “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth“) is a Christmas song with an added counterpart, performed by David Bowie and Bing Crosby. “The Little Drummer Boy” is a Christmas song written in 1941, while the “Peace on Earth” tune and lyrics, written by Ian Fraser, Larry Grossman, and Alan Kohan, were added to the song specially for Bowie and Crosby’s recording

The single saw commercial success upon its release in 1982 and peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart. The single became one of Bowie’s best selling in his career, with total estimated sales over 400,000 in the UK alone. The song has since become a Christmas classic in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom and has been referred to by The Washington Post as “one of the most successful duets in Christmas music history”.


 

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