The Christmas Song was written in 1945 by Mel Tormé and Robert Wells during a blistering hot summer in Los Angeles. It was subtitled Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire and also Merry Christmas to You. It was first recorded in June 1946 by Nat King Cole. He did a second recording of the song, which Capitol Records objected to, using a smaller musical accompaniment of strings. This version became a hit and rocketed to the top on both the Pop and R&B charts, a remarkable thing for a Christmas song. Cole re-recorded the tune again using a full orchestra in 1953 and again in 1961. This 1961 version done in stereophonic and with the orchestra conducted by Ralph Carmichael, became the definitive version of the song you here today on the radio or streamed on Christmas music channels. The original 1946 version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974. The 1961 version has been included for preservation by the U.S. Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
As we draw closer to Christmas Day, songs that remind us of the various aspects of it fill the air. Some are sacred, some are fun, and some are just satirical or even worse in some cases. Not the case with Nat King Cole. It is a wonderful rendition of a timeless classic. Enjoy.
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