"Do You Hear What I Hear?" is a Christmas song written in October 1962 with lyrics by Noël Regney and music by Gloria Shayne. The pair were married at the time, and wrote it as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It has sold tens of millions of copies and has been covered by hundreds of artists.
Regney was inspired to write the lyrics "Said the night wind to the little lamb, 'Do you see what I see?' " and "Pray for peace, people everywhere," after watching babies being pushed in strollers on the sidewalks of New York City. Shayne stated in an interview years later that neither could personally perform the entire song at the time they wrote it because of the emotions surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis. "Our little song broke us up. You must realize there was a threat of nuclear war at the time."
"Do You Hear What I Hear?" was released shortly after Thanksgiving in 1962. The song was originally recorded by the Harry Simeone Chorale, which had also popularized The Little Drummer Boy. It went on to sell more than a quarter-million copies during the 1962 Christmas holiday season. Bing Crosby made the song into a hit when he recorded his own version of it on October 21, 1963. Crosby also performed the song on a Bob Hope Christmas television special on December 13 of that year. Over the years, Crosby's recording of the song has been widely played on the radio, and has been available on numerous compilation Christmas albums and compact discs put out by Capitol Records. It is perhaps the most often-heard version of the song.
Practically everyone has covered this song. Some of my favorite versions (in no particular order): Bob Dylan, Orla Fallon, Third Day, Carrie Underwood, Anne Murray, Mahalia Jackson, Vanessa Williams, Pink Martini, Steven Curtis Chapman.
Said the (Am) night wind to the little lamb, (C) "Do you see what I see?
(Am) Way up in the sky little lamb, (C) Do you see what I see?
A (Am) star, a (E) star, (G) dancing in the (Am) night,
With a (F) tail as (G) big as a (Am) kite, with a (F) tail as (G) big as a (C) kite."
Said the (C) little lamb to the shepherd boy, (Am) "Do you hear what I hear?
(C) Ringing through the sky shepherd boy, (Am) do you hear what I hear?
A song, a (C) song, (G) sounding through the (C) night,
With a (F) voice as (G) big as the (C) sea, with a (F) voice as (G) big as the (C) sea."
Said the (Am) shepherd boy to the mighty king, (C) "Do you know what I know?
(Am) In your palace warm mighty king, (C) "do you know what I know?
A (Am) Child, a (E) Child, (G) shivers in the (Am) cold,
Let us (F) bring Him (G) silver and (Am) gold, let us (F) bring Him (G) silver and (C) gold."
Said the (C) king to the people everywhere, (Am) "Listen to what I say.
(C) Pray for peace people everywhere, (Am) listen to what I say.
The (F) Child, the (C) Child, (G) sleeping in the night,
He will (F) bring us (G) goodness and (Am) light, He will (F) bring us (G) goodness and (C) light."