White Christmas is the biggest-selling single of all-time, with Bing Crosby's original selling over 100 million copies, but Nat's The Christmas Song has a good argument at being the best. Written by the singer Mel Torme and his partner Bob Wells in 1945, Cole did the original version the next year, and re-recorded it several times. The version we hear these days is one done in 1961 to have it in stereo. It was also at that time added to his existing Christmas album, originally titled The Magic Of Christmas, but re-named after his most famous holiday song after that.
It's such a favourite, that Cole's voice is now associated with Christmas, his gorgeous tones immediately calling up that feeling of warmth. The rest of this album is mostly typical holiday standards and carols, from Adeste Fideles to Joy To The World to The First Noel, Cole joined by choral voices and an orchestra conducted by Ralph Carmichael. Each song is stirring, and immediately puts you in a sentimental, Christmas Past mood, recalling childhood and family memories. It's partly due to the old-fashioned treatments of course, but I still argue that Cole's voice, an amazing instrument, affects us in a special way. I can feel the stress leaving my mind when I listen to him.
For this reissue, some bonus cuts have been added, including God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman, which was the cut dropped off the album when The Christmas Song was added, and a non-album holiday single, Buon Natale/The Happiest Christmas Tree, the latter a cute novelty number from 1959. = Plus there's another of those edits where his daughter Natalie was added to his original vocals, creating a posthumous duet. This was done to The Christmas Song in 1998, and given how familiar we are with the original, it's very successful and seamless. This is the ultimate album for those late nights just before Christmas, when the children are nestled all snug in their beds.