The Harry Simeone Chorale was a large-ensemble vocal group that became famous beginning in the late 1950s. Formed in 1958 by Harry Simeone (May 9, 1910 - February 22, 2005), this group, which typically consisted of 25 chorus members, is best known for the perennial Christmas favorite, "Little Drummer Boy."
Born Harry Moses Simeone in Newark, New Jersey, he studied at the Juilliard School of Music to be a concert pianist before beginning his career at CBS as an arranger for bandleader Fred Waring. In 1939, he relocated to Hollywood where he served as an arranger at Paramount Pictures and worked on a number of movies, including many that starred Bing Crosby. He rejoined Waring in 1945 and then became a conductor and choral arranger for "The Firestone Hour" from 1952-1959. In 1958, Twentieth-Century Fox contracted Simeone to record a Christmas album, "Sing We Now Of Christmas," which led to the founding of the Harry Simeone Chorale.
The Harry Simeone Chorale debuted in 1958 on the Pop/Rock charts with "Little Drummer Boy," which became a Top 20 hit and went on to make the Top 40 every year around Christmas through 1962. Written in 1941 by Katherine Kennicott Davis, this oldies holiday classic was based on a traditional Czech carol and originally titled "The Carol Of The Drum." The Harry Simeone Chorale also had several minor hits through 1965 that included "Do You Hear What I Hear?" (1962), "O' Bambino (One Cold And Blessed Winter)" (1964), and "Summer Wind" (with Roger Williams) (1965). The Harry Simeone Chorale had one final entry on the Adult Contemporary charts in 1966 with "Anyone Can Move A Mountain."
- The New York Times remembers Harry Simeone.
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Harry Simeone Chorale
- The Little Drummer Boy 1958
(This perennial Christmas favorite recharted in 1959, 1960, 1961, and 1962. It also became a hit for Johnny Cash (1959), the Jack Halloran Singers (1961), and Moonlion (1975).)
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