The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole

You are listening to “The Christmas Song” sung by Nat King Cole and written by Nel Torme’. Nat King Cole was a popular American jazz singer who performed with his band, the “Nat King Cole Trio”, formed in 1937. Despite being recorded during a time of racism, Nat King Cole was the first African American to sing a holiday song.This was their big break into the music business after recording the track in 1946, just 2 years after it was written.  

This unique version was originally recorded using strings, but the non-stringed version was published and became the #3 best Christmas song in the 1960’s. It provides that smoothe jazz feeling we all love, consisting of violins, a harp and the piano, played by Cole himself. It perfectly captures the festive holiday spirit, a feeling in which Torme’ was anticipating when he wrote it in the heat of summer.

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