Friday, December 23, 2011

The "Little Drummer Boy" Is The Worst Song Ever.

I'm going to share something that my family and a few close friends know:  I HATE the Christmas song "Little Drummer Boy."  Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.  Of all the terrible Christmas songs out there - and there are many (I'm looking right at you "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer) -  "Little Drummer Boy" is by far the worst one ever made.

Now you are probably thinking to yourself, "Mookie, how can you hate such a wonderful song?  It is beautiful and carries the joyous story of Jesus' birth."

My reply is:  This song sucks, and is the most annoying thing ever.  I shall explain my reasoning.

First, a little history on the song itself.
According to my friends at Wikipedia, the song "Little Drummer Boy" (originally titled "Carol of the Drum") was composed in 1941 by Katherine K. Davis. It became popular in 1958 after the Harry Simeone Chorale recorded it and released it again, and again and again.  The current version is credited to Davis, Simeone and Henry Onorati.  As of now it has been recorded by anyone and everyone that has contributed to a Christmas compilation album.  There is allegedly over 220 versions of this song in at least 7 different languages, and different genres of music.  GOOD GOD.

As you know, the basis of the song is that a poor drummer boy was summoned to the nativity scene to see the new King, and he had no gift for the baby Jesus.  So with the old Virgin Mary's approval, the drummer boy played his best little drum show for the new King.  The end result of course was that the little drummer boy's drum solo was so awesome, that the infant/baby Jesus smiled at the drummer boy. Oh, and his drum.

Yeah sure.  The baby Jesus smiled at you beacause you went "pa rum pum pum pum" on your drum.   Wait...I'm sorry...you didn't do it just once.  If you count the number of times "pa rum pum pum pum" is uttered in the song, it counts up to TWENTY ONE &*%#ing times.  I'm not much for repeating something that much.  Do you know what I would do if my 4 year old played that on his little drumset more than 5 times? Smile?  Hardly.

For whatever the reason, I can trace my deep dislike of that song as far back as the age of 5.  I remember sitting in a music class in Kindergarten, and singing that song every day for weeks.  I'm not sure if it was all the "pa rum pum pum pum"-ming, or if it was the seemingly absurdity of the lyrics like the line "the ox and lamb kept time - pa rum pum pum pum."  All I know is that I did not like the song, and my utter hatred of it has only grown since then.

I think the song finally became a true Hell for me at the tender age of 20, when I was an "associate" working at Wal-Mart.  While that store is a Hell in itself, throw in the fact that during the Christmas Season (typically Thanksgiving until December 27th), the overhead PA played Christmas music all day, and all night.  I worked at Wal-Mart for 6 Christmas seasons.  In reflecting on that time, I can honestly say that I probably heard at least some version of EVERY Christmas song ever made up until that time.

Most Christmas songs as you know are cheery, and up-tempo.  "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," "Jingle Bells," and "Deck The Halls" are prime examples of this.  Even some of the low-tempo songs like "Silent Night," "White Christmas," and even "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)" are tolerable.  The song "Little Drummer Boy" is dreary as hell.  The long drawn out syllables in short sentences ("IIIIIIIMMMMMM a poor boy tooooo"), and of course the repeated "pa rum pum pum pum" 21 times is more than I can handle. 

As I said before, there are over 220 versions in the world of this song.  I'm pretty certain I heard all of them in my 6 years at Wal-Mart.  In an 8-hour shift, I bet it was played in some fashion at least 8 times.  I have yet to hear someone I like sing it and change my view on it.  Johnny Cash, Chicago, Bob Seger, and even the Brady Bunch have all tried and failed to make the song listenable to me.  To make matters worse, I heard the other day that Justin Bieber has also released a version of it on his Christmas album this year and I almost drove my car off a bridge.  If I believed in that whole thing about the world ending in 2012, this would certainly be a sign to that happening.

So you are probably thinking, "Mookie, you are just being silly." or possibly "Mookie, you need serious help."  I wholeheartedly agree.  I do need help.  I need people to help me get that song banned.  It is awful.  Someone needs to put a hole in the Little Drummer Boy's drum and break his sticks.  NOW.

Sadly, that song and the 6-year term at Wal-Mart caused me to dislike most Christmas music for many years thereafter.  However in recent years I have somewhat recovered from the post-traumatic-stress syndrome caused by the Wal-Mart/Drummer Boy Hell years, and do enjoy Christmas music in moderation.  "The 12 Days of Christmas" is a somewhat horrible song, but when I hear the versions done by John Denver with the Muppets, and Bob and Doug McKenzie, it gets me in the Christmas mood.  Throw in Bruce Springsteen's version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" with Clarence Clemons on the sax and it is great.  It makes me like Christmas again. 

So these days if I get an inkling that the next song I hear is going to be "Little Drummer Boy, you can be sure I will do everything in my power not hear that God-forsaken song. It is a horrible and traumatizing song, and it ruins my whats left of my Christmas spirit.

Thank you for your time. I now have to go back to listening to my kid on his drumset.
Pa rum pum pum pum.

1 comment :

  1. After all the adverse commentary, I would be very grateful if you could let me know where I could obtain a copy of the recording that was played during a TV programme - TRUE CRIME - performed by Kenny Burrell, and by courtesy of MCA records - under licence from Universal Music Special.
    I thank you in advance if you can help!!

    ReplyDelete