For this week’s rewind, we’re going to rewind a loooong way…back to 1944, when Mel Torme first penned what we now call “The Christmas Song.” (Back then, it was titled, “Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire.”) Interestingly, Torme didn’t set out to write a Christmas song; by his account, it was mid-July, and he was just writing down mental images to try and keep cool (“Jack Frost nipping at your nose”, etc.).
What came out of that experience one of America’s all-time favorite Christmas classics, covered by everyone from Judy Garland to Daffy Duck. I dare you to try and get through a Christmas season without hearing this one covered by multiple artists.
I’ve included two versions of the song below: one by Nat King Cole (who first recorded the song in 1946 and made it famous), and a more recent performance by the great Tony Bennett. I included Bennett’s performance because in his mid-‘80’s (and once again at the height of popularity), he’s just about as timeless as “The Christmas Song” itself. This is pure opinion, but in my view, Tony Bennett is the consummate “pop star.” Enjoy!