9. "The Christmas Song," Nat King ColeCapitol 311 (78) b/w "In The Cool Of Evening"
Highest chart position: #3 US (1946)
Recorded May 1946, Hollywood, CA
There are no less than four versions of this standard recorded by Cole from 1946 to 1961, some credited to his King Cole Trio and some to himself solo. Whichever version you listen to is largely academic, since this Mel Torme-penned hit is largely similar in each incarnation. As for the song's inception, the 19-year-old Torme visited the Los Angeles home of songwriting partner Bob Wells in the middle of a scorching July and saw the opening lines written on a pad. Turns out Wells was just trying to write down images that would cool him off, but Torme insisted that this was a standard in the making. Half an hour later, he was proven right.