Drum Player with choir © Studi43

7 Epic Versions of Little Drummer Boy

This Christmas classical is an all-time favorite

Christmas Carols

How can a Christmas song from 1941 become one of the most clicked Christmas music videos of today? Well, when it has toured the whole world! “Little Drummer Boy”, written by Katherine Kennicott Davis, is not only sung in families and communities every year but it is continuously recorded and published by artists from all over the world,  again and again!

The song is about a little boy, who comes to Bethlehem to see the newborn Jesus Christ. Being a  poor boy, he comes without a gift for the child and therefore asks Maria to allow him to play his drum for the baby. The child seems to understand and thank him with a smile.

We collected some very classical but special and absolutely unique versions that will still blow your mind, even in 2021! This selection includes stars like The King’s Singers and Pentatonix, an Africanized version, a Nordic version, and some more real impressive cover versions.

Let’s go...!

1. The a cappella one: Pentatonix

With a total of 261 million views the Pentatonix version has become a real classic, which is being covered by choirs from all over the world:

2. The Scandinavian one: Norwegian University of Science and Technology

In 2016 singers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim released a video version that really gives some “Northern Spirit” to the song. By the way, the arrangement and musical management were done by our friend and adjudicator at several INTERKULTUR events, Eva Holm Foosnæs:

3. The African one: Alex Boyé

The U.S.-Gospel Singer Alex Boyé is famous for his Africanized covers of pop songs, like “Let it go” from Disney’s “Frozen” or “Baba Yetu” by Christopher Tin. But there’s also a really upbeat version of our Little Drummer Boy:

4. The classical one: The King's Singers

What would a real choir Christmas be without The King’s Singers? There was no doubt that they had already published Little Drummer Boy, too - a version that your playlist on Christmas Eve shouldn’t miss:

5. The choreographic one: Bethel Music Kids

If you’re looking for a catchy choreography to perform at your family’s Christmas party, take a look at the Bethel Music Kids: they belong to an American worship movement and are famous for contemporary church music.

6. The teen pop one: Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber was only 17 years old when he released his Christmas album “Under the mistletoe”. The album ranked at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, 210,000 copies were sold in the first week only. Of course, the album included a version of “Drummer Boy” as well, performed together with the American rapper Buster Rhymes. Watch them here live at Rockefeller Center in New York:

7. The (probably) best one: Frank Sinatra

Let’s conclude our list with another real classic: Frank Sinatra’s version of the song, which is sometimes considered “the best version ever”:


Compiling this list was not easy: after all, there are thousands of other versions of this piece: A rock version by King & Country, a Boney M version from the 1980s, a version by the German diva Marlene Dietrich, another brilliant rendition by the a cappella group Voices from Bethlehem, this adorable virtual choir by elementary students from Korea, and not to forget the first-ever recording of the song by the Trapp Family Singers.

 Do you know other versions of the song? Which one is your favorite?

Tell us on our social media and we will share it with our Community!

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