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Drummer Boy' with all voices, no drums becomes YouTube hit by Pentatonix
"The Little Drummer Boy," a Christmas song written in 1941 as "Carol of the Drum," has a new twist, with no drums - in fact, no instruments at all, just voices.
The new a capella version, performed by Pentatonix, has become an internet sensation on YouTube with about 10 million hits in just over a week since it was posted Nov. 25. It's guaranteed to stir the Christmas spirit.
The five-person a cappella group from Arlington, Texas, won the third season of NBC's competition series "The Sing-Off" in 2011. The group includes Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying, Avi Kaplan, Kirstie Maldonado and Kevin Olusola.
The song was written by U.S. classical music composer and teacher Katherine Kennicott Davis, with music based on a Czechoslovakian carol, and recorded in 1955 by the Trapp Family Singers, the real-life subjects of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "The Sound of Music."
A 1958 recording by the Harry Simeone Chorale hit the Billboard charts and helped the song become a holiday classic. It has since been recorded by Bing Crosby, Johnny Cash, Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams, Joan Baez, Jimi Hendrix, The Jackson 5, Bob Dylan and many others.
In 1968, the song became the basis of a stop-motion animated Rankin/Bass movie inspired by the lyrics about a poor young boy who shows up at the Nativity without a gift for the infant Jesus, but plays his drum for him with the Virgin Mary's approval.
In the movie, the boy's pet sheep is healed.