Christmas Songs #4. The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole (1946)

Number 4: Festive Christmas Songs
Good Housekeeping: Nov. 30, 2019


The Christmas Song 
Nat King Cole (1946)

Everyone knows this holiday song, so it barely needs a name — it's the one where Nat King Cole sings, "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire." It's so popular that it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974. 

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Nat King Cole recorded this for the first time in 1946 with his group The Nat King Cole Trio. Columbia Records had them re-record the song with a string section. It was the first time the trio used strings on a record. 


Nat King Cole

The song became more popular than ever in the '00s, as radio stations in a variety of formats added it to their holiday playlists every year. 

In 2006, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) announced it was the most-played holiday song of the previous five years. 

In 2011, ASCAP declared the song was the third most played holiday song that year, behind "Sleigh Ride" and "Winter Wonderland."


The Christmas Song
Nat King Cole



The Christmas Song
Vince Guaraldi Trio (1965 )

By the early 1960s, Charles M. Schulz's comic strip Peanuts had become a sensation worldwide. 

By April 1965, Time featured the Peanuts gang on its magazine cover, and plans for an animated half-hour Peanuts Christmas special were commissioned by The Coca-Cola Company. 

Scene from "A Charlie Brown Christmas"


Vince Guaraldi composed the music for the project, creating an entire piece, "Linus and Lucy", to serve as the theme.  

Guaraldi brought in bassist Fred Marshall and drummer Jerry Granelli to record "The Christmas Song" and "Greensleeves." 

The album credited Guaraldi solely, neglecting to mention the other musicians; Guaraldi was notorious for never keeping records of his session players. 

The Christmas Song
Vince Guaraldi Trio

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The Christmas Song (2020)
Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello 

Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello recorded a duet version, which they dropped on December 5, 2020. Their take of the cozy Christmas ballad is included on the holiday deluxe edition of Mendes' Wonder album.

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Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello


Cabello revealed that their rendition of the classic festive tune will double as a charity single, with every stream supporting "those in need right now." 

The songstress added that she and Mendes are donating $100,000 to Feeding America.

The Christmas Song
Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello 

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