“The Christmas Song” was written in July 1945 by Bob Wells and Mel Tormé. Composed during an oppressively hotsummer day in Los Angeles, Wells had penned the words for the first four lines of the song when Tormé dropped by. “It’s so hot today,” explained Wells, “I thought I’d write something to cool myself off.” Replied Tormé, “I think you might have something here.” Sitting at the piano, Tormé worked up a tune. “Improbable though it may sound, the song was completed about 45 minutes later,” he later recalled. Nat King Cole made the first recording in 1946. His later version, released in 1961, became widely popular.
As you may know, both the 1946 and 1961 versions quote “Jingle Bells” at the end. I’ve retained this. But just for fun, I’ve woven five other Christmas carol snippets into my arrangement. One at the end—“Joy to the World”—is easy to hear. The other four aren’t as obvious. So if you’re a musical sleuth, have fun ferreting them out.
(Audio file generated by Finale Music Notation Software.)