Although it’s been said many times, many ways…

“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” by Mel Tormé and Bob Wells, sung by Paul McCartney:


Video by Paul McCartney

And sung by Mel Tormé and Judy Garland:


Video posted by theBestArts.com

“The Christmas Song,” was written by Tormé and Wells when then were 19 and 22 respectively. According to Tormé, it was written in about 45 minutes during a heat wave, sparked by an attempt by Wells to cool off by thinking winter thoughts. (This seems to be a not-uncommon trigger for the writing of Christmas songs, does it not?)

This is probably the best known song by Mel Tormé and Bob Wells, both of whom were Jewish.

Although Tormé is best known as a jazz singer (he was dubbed “The Velvet Fog”) and for his many appearances on TV shows, he wrote or co-wrote more than 300 songs, about half of which he wrote with Wells. In his clearly abundant spare time he managed to write 5 books and to become a licensed airplane pilot.

Wells, born Robert Levinson, also wrote lyrics with many other musicians (including Duke Ellington and Henry Mancini), picking up a number of Oscar nominations, and was a scriptwriter and producer as well as a music director and soundtrack writer, winning six Emmys for his television work.

To all those celebrating, “…merry Christmas to you.”