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The Little Drummer Boy Music, Lyrics and DVD

Updated on December 18, 2013

I Love the Little Drummer Boy Song and Movie

The Little Drummer Boy is a popular Christmas song that was also the inspiration for a 1968 animated TV special by the same name. The song, written by Katherine K. Davis and later arranged by Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone, was originally written in 1941, but didn't become a hit until it was rearranged and released in 1958. Then it rose to #13 on the charts, even though it wasn't released until November. It's been a perennial holiday favorite ever since then. Read more about one of the best family holiday movies and Christmas songs.

(Image of Little Drummer Boy DVD cover provided by amazon)

The Little Drummer Boy song was the inspiration for the 1968 animated holiday TV special by the same name. The screenplay was written by Romeo Muller, who also wrote the screenplay for other well-known Christmas specials, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.

Although the film was based on the famous song, it included extra elements to expand the story. In the TV version, the little drummer boy (named Aaron) is an orphan who plays his drum for the baby Jesus. His life is changed forever when he meets The Three Wise Men on their way to Bethlehem and plays for the Christ Child.

The stop-motion animated film was produced by Rankin-Bass. It first aired on December 19, 1968 and was then played annually for many years. NBC stopped airing it in 1984, and then CBS picked it up and showed it from 1985 to 1988. ABC was the third network to air the program, and it kept it in the annual holiday lineup through 2005. It is now broadcast by the ABC Family cable channel.

little drummer boy dolls by madame alexander
little drummer boy dolls by madame alexander

Little Drummer Boy Lyrics

Words to the classic Christmas song

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, pa rum pum pum pum,

rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,

When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum

I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum

I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum

That's fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,

rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,

On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum

The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum

I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum

I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,

rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum

Me and my drum

(Image of Little Drummer boy dolls provided by amazon)

Some Drummer Boy Trivia

June Foray, the voice of the drummer boy's mother in the TV special, was also the voice of Cindy Lou Who in the 1966 feature How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Little Drummer Boy DVD - Classic Christmas special was based on the song

This 1968 Rankin & Bass TV stop-motion TV special is still a wonderful holiday film to watch, and now you can own it on DVD or Blu-Ray.

The Little Drummer Boy
The Little Drummer Boy
Today's Christmas specials may have better animation and special effects, but this 1968 TV special is a classic that I still love. The story (for those who haven't seen it -gasp!) is about an orphan named Aaron who stumbles upon the birth of baby Jesus and affirms what the holidays are really about - giving and love.

Free Christmas Music Downloads

Every day in December, Amazon offers free Christmas music downloads.

Little Drummer Boy Nativity Set & Characters

You can now buy a child's nativity set featuring some of the characters from "The Little Drummer Boy" animated show, or you can buy the characters separately (as shown here).

The Original Christmas Classics

This is a great collection for anyone who remembers all the classic Christmas specials from the 1960s, including The Little Drummer Boy and the others included here.

The Original Christmas Classics (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer / Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town / Frosty the Snowman / Frosty Returns / Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol / Little Drummer Boy / Cricket on the Hearth)
The Original Christmas Classics (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer / Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town / Frosty the Snowman / Frosty Returns / Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol / Little Drummer Boy / Cricket on the Hearth)
Includes 7 Holiday Favorites: - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town - Frosty the Snowman - Frosty Returns - Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol - The Little Drummer Boy - Cricket on the Hearth

David Bowie & Bing Crosby Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy Medley - An unlikely duo create a Christmas classic

One popular variation of the song features Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing a duet. It was recorded in 1977 for a Crosby Christmas special and is still popular today.

Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy MP3

If you like the Bing Crosby/David Bowie duet featured in the video above, it's available as an mp3 download from Amazon.

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Whether you love the song or the animated special, share your thoughts!

Are You a Fan of The Little Drummer Boy?

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    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 

      8 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      The Little Drummer Boy is a Christmas movie classic and the song is one of my favorites!

    • PaigSr profile image


      8 years ago from State of Confusion

      Just becuase I had it on vhs and then dvd when the old player ate the tape doesn't meand a thing. Ok so it does. The story is great but the song is even better.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      one of the only songs that makes me cry,in a good way if you know what I mean?

    • James M Becher profile image

      James M Becher 

      10 years ago from South Florida

      Yes, I like little drummer boy, especially that neat version with bing and bowie. I will feature it on my "Unique Christmas Music" lense at I hope you can add my lense to your featured lenses here. Will also like and lensroll it.

      I know it's after Christmas now, but at least it should help for next year.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I love this song The Little Drummer Boy. Being a poor person myself I don't have much to offer. But I believe as the last line of the song says, "then he smiled at me" just says it all. I believe no matter whree Jesus was at in his life what you did for him would be worth more then the three gifts combined even though they was worth most at the time. Jesus came to give us the gift of salvation to the world. Let us share the same gift with others. Thank you and Merry Christmas. This was just the song I was looking for to list on my Christmas lens at: I never list a link on comments and I don't believe in doing so unless its very relevant. Thank you. Merry Christmas

    • Demaw profile image


      10 years ago

      Thanks for the backstory on this cute Christmas song.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      One of my favorite songs ever and the David Bowie / Bing Crosby duet is a favorite too. Wonderful lens. ** Blessed **

    • verymary profile image


      11 years ago from Chicago area

      very nice! rolling this to my Little Drummer Boy: Top 5 Takes lens

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Thanks for joining the group for A Day of Hope!

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      cute little movie, I want the grandkids to see it.


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