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5 Things to Know About Chestnuts That are Roasting on an Open Fire

Many people call it, “Chesnuts Roasting On an Open Fire” but the actual title is “The Christmas Song”. Here are five things about the song you may not know.


Written by 1940’s vocalist Mel Torme, who due to his husky voice was nicknamed “The Velvet Fog” and composer Bob Wells.


It was the summer 1944, a heat wave was on and Torme and Wells were working on songs. Due to the heat wave, they started joking around about things that were cold. According to Wikipedia, Torme said that “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.”


Nat King Cole recorded the song in 1946, 1953 and in 1961. You probably are most familiar with the ’61 version. It’s the one we play on WBKR. The original is in the Grammy Hall of Fame.Torme recorded his tune in 1954, 1961, 1966 and 1992. And, by hundreds of others.


A SpongeBob Christmas special with a parody lyric.

A 1963 Judy Garland Special in which she sings the song with Mel Torme.

Ricky Nelson on the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet


On The Simpsons, they sang the tune, “The Simpsons” roasting on an open fire.

A Seattle deejay Bob Rivers called it, “Chipmunks” roasting on an open fire.

In 2006, Twisted Sister featured a parody in their Twisted Christmas CD.

Stan Freberg‘s “Green Chri$tma$” includes several snippets of holiday songs. One segment begins with a sincere-sounding “Chestnuts roasting…” and quickly segués into a mock 1950s radio or TV ad, for a brand of chestnuts, being described as if they were toothpaste or cigarettes.



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