“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.
Noel Regney wrote the lyrics for the song, while Gloria Shayne composed the Christmas carol’s music in October 1962. This was an unusual arrangement for the two writers. Usually it was Shayne who wrote the lyrics for their songs while Regney composed the music, as they did when they wrote a song based on the classic children’s song “Rain Rain Go Away”.
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.”