Inside: The birth of a beloved Christmas song on day one of The 12 Posts of Christmas.
A Simple Song
Bob Wells didn’t set out to write one of the most beloved Christmas songs when he penned words to help him stay cool on a blistering July day. But his scribblings about chestnuts roasting and Jack Frost, Yuletide carols and folks wearing warm clothing caught the eye of Mel Torme who arrived at Wells’ home for a writing session.
Torme had let himself into the Toluca Lake house, called out for Wells, and then wandered over to the piano, spotting his writing partner’s notes–four lines of a short poem. When Wells walked in, Torme asked him about it, and Wells confessed he was trying to cool himself off through his writing, but all he could think about was Christmas and cold weather. One line from the poem came from a childhood memory of Boston street vendors selling roasted chestnuts in paper cones.
Torme told his friend that he had something there and promptly sat down at the piano and composed a melody for the opening. Forty minutes later a song was born–“The Christmas Song.”
While I like Mel Torme’s version, nobody sings it quite like Nat King Cole. But my most favorite singers? My parents bursting out in a spontaneous duet, singing “The Christmas Song.”
You never know when the spark of something amazing can come from something so simple, like words jotted down on paper. I’m certainly glad Wells wrote down those cold weather thoughts that hot summer day back in 1945.
What’s your favorite Christmas song? Tell us about it in the comments.
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