Classic Christmas: Nat King Cole's The Christmas Song

Over the holidays, we're looking back at some classic Christmas albums taking some track by track and just digging on others.

Originally titled The Magic of Christmas, when it was released in 1963, this collection of Christmas songs was basically cobbled together in support of what many -- myself included -- consider the greatest version of the greatest holiday composition ever recorded, "The Christmas Song."

Cole had recorded the song -- sometimes referred to by it's first line, "Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire" -- three times prior to this one with tremendous success, with this being quintessential version and the first to be recorded in stereo. This is the one you hear on the radio and streaming from the speakers at the mall. It is a transcendant performance that even Mel Torme, who penned the tune, considers the best ever of his song.

But, this album has some other very good versions of holiday classics, mostly carols like "Silent Night," "O Holy Night" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." In fact, the only songs on the record that are not traditional carols are "The Christmas Song," which replaced "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" on the first release of the record (it was added back to the album on the 2009 digitally re-mastered version) and "Caroling Caroling," probably the one other song you'll immediately recognize when you hear the lyric, "Ding, dong, ding, dong, Christmas bells are ringing."

The gentle smoothness of Cole's voice is evident on every song, but none so much as "The Christmas Song," and he knew it. Outside of "Unforgettable," which got a restart when the original tracks were edited to include his daughter Natalie Cole's voice as a duet in 1991, how many Cole classics can you name off the top of your head?

While he may have been a soulful R&B singer, he will always be best known as the guy that sung "The Christmas Song," and we're pretty sure that is just fine.

Check out previous classic Christmas album recaps:

Resale Concert Tickets

Powered By
powered by Seats For Everyone SEE MORE

  • Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 / 6:00pm @ Sam Houston Race Park 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway Houston TX 77064
    7575 North Sam Houston Parkway, Houston TX 77064

  • Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 / 7:00pm @ House Of Blues - Houston 1204 Caroline St Houston TX 77002
    1204 Caroline St, Houston TX 77002

  • Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 / 7:00pm @ The Ballroom at Warehouse Live 813 St. Emanuel Street Houston TX 77003
    813 St. Emanuel Street, Houston TX 77003

Elvis Presley - Elvis' Christmas Album Perry Como - The Perry Como Christmas Album Bing Crosby - White Christmas Charles Brown - Merry Christmas Baby Johnny Mathis - Merry Christmas Andy Williams - The Andy Williams Christmas Album Phil Spector - A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records Frank Sinatra - A Jolly Christmas fro Frank Sinatra The Carpenters - Christmas Portrait Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Charlie Brown Christmas George Winston - December Various Artists - A Very Special Christmas Mel Torme - Christmas Songs

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >