The Christmas Song

I’m not big on Christmas music but I love Mel Tormé. The Velvet Fog wrote my favorite Christmas standard. The “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” opening line makes me think of my mother’s chestnut laden stuffing. Growing up in the Bay Area, Jack Frost never nipped at my nose. Can’t imagine why.

The Christmas Song was written in the summer of 1945 by Mel and Robert Wells. It became such a success that Mel often referred to it as his “retirement account.”

We begin with the songwriter:

The first version of The Christmas Song was cut by the Nat King Cole Trio in 1946:

What would Christmas be without one of the Velvet Fog’s musical heroes, Der Bingle?

My mom always identified with her fellow Scandinavian midwestern farmer’s daughter Peggy Lee:

What would the Friday Cocktail Hour be without Ella and Frank?

Here’s a soulful take on the Tormé-Wells classic:

Finally, 21st Century versions from Aimee Mann and Chris Isaak.

What would the Friday Cocktail Hour be without some jazz instrumental versions of the week’s song? This time, Jimmy Smith and Dexter Gordon.

Before signing off, a link to Mark Evanier’s wonderful story about Mel Tormé and the carolers.

That’s it for this week. On this Christmas Eve, let’s toast the memory of the late great Mel Tormé. It’s what Frank and Bing would want. Never argue with them.