The words Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose single the beginning of one of the most loved Christmas carols of all time. Chestnuts Roasting on and Open Fire signifies everything that Christmas is about to some people. Everything from the white Christmas to the cold and tots eyes twinkling because they know that Santa is coming gives everyone who hears it a warm feeling during the holiday season.
The song was originally titled Merry Christmas to you and is often known as Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire (The Christmas Song). The song was written in 1944 by vocalist Mel Torm’e and Bob Wells. Ironically, the best-loved Christmas song of the season was written in the middle of a blistering heat wave in the middle of the summer. All that Torm’e could think about was trying to stay cool in the summer heat wave. He said when he sat down at the piano he was just trying to think cool to stay cool. 40 minutes later Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire was finished.
Chestnuts roasting on an Open Fire describes Christmas and the feelings that accompany Christmas to a tee. The last stanza of the song states:
And so I’m offering this simple phrase,
To kids from one to ninety-two,
Although its been said many times, many ways,
A very Merry Christmas to you.
This verse goes a long way towards describing how so many children and adults feel on Christmas that it has become the most popular and loved song of the season.
Early in 1946, the Nat King Cole Trio recorded the first version of Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire. Cole wanted to record a second version using a small string section. His record label at the time Capitol Records advised against it. Cole got his way and that version of the song became a massive hit on pop and R and B charts. Cole redid the song in 1953 and 1961. The 1961 version is the most popular of the song and is most loved by women from 30-49 during the Christmas season. Mel Torm’e himself recorded his version of the song in 1954, 1965 and again in 1992.
Other notable stars to sing Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire include Trace Adkins, Garth Brooks, James Brown, The Carpenters, Chicago, Alan Jackson in 2007, and Martina McBride. Reba McIntire and Christina Agullenia whose 1999 version peaked at number 15 on the billboard top 100 charts also recorded the song.