Holiday Music Countdown: Number 17, with the Velvet Fog

Counting down my twenty-five favorite holiday songs. (Find previous posts here.)

17. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting by an Open Fire) (Mel Torme)

Mel Torme co-wrote "The Christmas Song" with Bob Wells in 1944. From the Wikipedia article:

"I saw a spiral pad on his piano with four lines written in pencil," Tormé recalled. "They started, ‘Chestnuts roasting … Jack Frost nipping … Yuletide carols … Folks dressed up like Eskimos.’ Bob (Wells, co-writer) didn’t think he was writing a song lyric. He said he thought if he could immerse himself in winter he could cool off. Forty minutes later that song was written. I wrote all the music and some of the lyrics."

Mel was nicknamed the Velvet Fog because of his beautiful voice and silken delivery. I prefer his recordings of this song to Nat King Cole’s, although the latters are probably better known today. Here’s Mel singing with Judy Garland, whose TV show he worked on for a few seasons and was infamously fired from.


2 replies on “Holiday Music Countdown: Number 17, with the Velvet Fog”

  1. I just finished loading all my Christmas CDs on my ipod. Did you know that nearly all the old time shows are in The Paley Center for Media ( (Formerly The Television and Radio Museum) in Los Angeles? I watched some when I was there last month. They hope to put them on the Net once they’ve finished converting them all to electronic storage. You can sit at the library and watch anything! The commercials are mostly for cigarrettes. Lots of smoke encircling the announcer to talks about the benefits of smoking.
    It would be fun to watch the old Christmas Specials.

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