This Classic Christmas Song Was Written in a Massachusetts Bar
When you think about the classic Christmas songs we all know and love, you might also think of the great European composers from centuries ago.
Take, for example, "The Little Drummer Boy." Was it written by George F. Handel of "Joy to the World" fame? Felix Mendelssohn, composer of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," perhaps? Maybe Franz Gruber of "Silent Night" fame?
Nope. How about Katherine Kennicott Davis?
Davis, a graduate of Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, penned the Christmas classic in 1941.
Davis, a Missouri native, settled in Concord, Massachusetts where she taught at the Concord Academy.
The story gets better. In 1955, the Von Trapp Family Singers of The Sound of Music fame recorded the first version of "The Little Drummer Boy," first known as "The Carol of the Drum," giving the song national exposure.
Davis died in Littleton, Massachusetts at age 87.
"The Little Drummer Boy" is not the only classic Christmas song with Massachusetts ties.
According to Yankee's New England.com, Edmund Sears, born and raised in Massachusetts, wrote "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" in 1849.
How about this: "Jingle Bells," originally titled "One Horse Open Sleigh," composed in the 1850s by Boston native James Lord Pierpont, was reportedly written in a bar in Medford, Massachusetts.
NewEngland.com says some claim that the song was written in Savannah, Georgia but others insist it happened at the Simpson Tavern in Medford.
Kyna Hamill with the Medford Historical Society and a faculty member at Boston University told WGBH.org, "Did he sit and write it in a tavern in Medford? I don't know. I stopped asking that question."
In any event, a plaque in Medford claims Pierpont wrote the song there. That's good enough for me.
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Gallery Credit: Adlynn Jamaludin, Townsquare Media Laramie