“The Christmas Song”, commonly subtitled “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire“ or “Merry Christmas to You”,
is a classic Christmas song written in 1944 by vocalist Mel Tormé and Bob Wells. According to Tormé, the song
was written during a blistering hot summer. In an effort to “stay cool by thinking cool,” the most-performed
(according to BMI) Christmas song was born.
“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.”