First recorded by The King Cole Trio (1946, released 1989).
Other popular versions by The King Cole Trio (US #/R&B #3 1946), Bing Crosby (1947), Mel Tormé (1955 et al.), Stevie Wonder (1967), The Carpenters (1978), Christina Aguilera (US #18 1999), Michael Bublé (MOR #6 2003).
From the wiki: “‘The Christmas Song’ is sometimes known as ‘Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire’ and was co-written by Mel Tormé (with Robert Wells) in the summer of 1944 when Tormé was 19.
“According to Tormé, the song was written in July (1944) during a blistering hot summer. In an effort to ‘stay cool by thinking cool,’ the most-performed Christmas song was born. ‘I saw a spiral pad on his (Wells’s) piano with four lines written in pencil’, Tormé recalled. ‘They started, ‘Chestnuts roasting… Jack Frost nipping… Yuletide carols… Folks dressed up like Eskimos.’ Bob 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.’
“The first recording and the original arrangement of the song was recorded in June 1946 by the The King Cole Trio – without strings, because Capitol Records didn’t want to risk losing Cole’s core R&B audience with orchestration. But Cole insisted, so strings were scored for a session two months later, in August 1946, This was the recording released in November 1946 with great success, peaking at #3 on both the Hit Parade and R&B music charts. (The original non-string arrangement was not issued until 1989, when it was accidentally included on the various-artists compilation Billboard Greatest Christmas Hits (1935–1954).)
“Cole would go on to record two further arrangements of ‘The Christmas Song’ in the 1950s: the first magnetic tape recording of the song, in 1954; and the first stereo recording of it, in 1961, the version which has gone on to become the most heard version of the song.
“Mel Tormé himself made several recordings of the song, including versions released in 1955 (on his live Coral Records album At the Crescendo), 1961 (on his Verve Records album My Kind of Music), 1970 (on a promotional single), 1990 (in a medley with ‘Autumn Leaves’, on his live Concord Records album Mel Tormé Live at the Fujitsu–Concord Festival 1990), and 1992 (on his Telarc Records album Christmas Songs).”
The King Cole Trio, “The Christmas Song” with string arrangement (1946):
Bing Crosby, “The Christmas Song” (1947):
Mel Tormé, “The Christmas Song” (1955):
Stevie Wonder, “The Christmas Song” (1967):
The Carpenters, “The Christmas Song” (1978):
Christina Aguilera, “The Christmas Song” (1999):
Michael Bublé, “The Christmas Song” (2003):