[JPL] NAT KING COLE and THE CHRISTMAS SONG

Blaise Lantana blantana at rioradio.org
Wed Dec 28 01:56:49 EST 2011


Happy New Year and thank you so much for the chocolate!!  I'm taking it to
work next week when I go back.  I have eaten my share.
Blessings to you and your family.
Blaise

On Sun, Dec 11, 2011 at 12:45 AM, <dlpjazz at thegrid.net> wrote:

>  *In early May of 1946, the King Cole Trio, with guitarist Oscar Moore
> and bassist Johnny Miller, was appearing at The Trocadero in Hollywood.
> One night after the last set, a then 21-year-old Mel Torme came up to the
> bandstand and told Nat Cole that he had a new song that he was eager for
> him to hear.  After the last few customers left, Mel sat down at the piano
> and performed The Christmas Song for Nat and the guys.  Nat loved it
> immediately and he sat down at the piano and ran it down a couple of
> times.  Years later, Nat told me that it was that very night that Oscar
> Moore played the "Jingle Bells" coda.  Interestingly, Nat used this same
> ending every time he recorded the song.
>
> As much as Nat liked the song, he told Mel that it would be wrong to
> record it with just The Trio, that it deserved a bigger showcase.  Carlos
> Gastel, who was managing both Nat and Mel at the time, tried to persuade
> Capitol Records to use a few strings just for this one song.  No luck.
> NO STRINGS!
>
> On June 14, 1946 while appearing at Kelly's Stable in New York, the Trio
> went into the studios of WMCA radio to record The Christmas Song.  As
> soon as he heard the first playback, Nat knew it was wrong.  He was
> determined to have his way; displaying a rare instance of stubbornness. Nat
> convinced Capitol to let him re-record it, this time with a string section.
>
> On August 19, 1946 Nat went back into the same WMCA studio for his
> first-ever orchestral recording.  By the way, the 'string section'
> consisted of four string players, a harpist, and a drummer.  A modest
> orchestral roster, to be sure, but a beginning, an augur of things to come
> for Nat Cole.  The session turned out perfectly, and became a watershed
> recording in his career.  Contrary to what many think, this was an entirely
> new session, not just the addition of some strings to the June 14th date.
>
> Nat's first recording of The Christmas Song hit the record stores
> (remember them?) the third week of November 1946, and the response was
> incredible.  One week later it reached the #3 spot on pop, and rhythm and
> blues charts, an uncommom crossover, and a portent of what would ultimately
> become Nat's boundless appeal.  This was the recording that Capitol
> reissued every
> holiday season for the next 7 years, and each year it would chart in the
> top 5.  Any wonder that Capitol Records was elated?
>
> In August of 1953, Nat recorded it again, this time with Nelson Riddle
> conducting, and, of course, with many more than four strings.  This
> version was reissued for the next 8 years.  Then, on March 30, 1961 he
> recorded the stereo version with Ralph Carmichael conducting.  This is
> the last time he recorded it, and to the present time, this is the
> rendition that Capitol reissues regularly.  Given that the song is
> seasonal, it had no such restraints where Nat's fans were concerned.  It
> always blew me away to hear someone from the audience shouting, "The
> Christmas Song...The Christmas Song."
>
> The duet with daughter Natalie, so brimming with love and devotion, was
> recorded in July of 1998 in England with the London Symphony Orchestra.
> I've often conjured up a vision of this huge orchestra in London's Abbey
> Road Studios, standing by for the downbeat and Natalie looking up and
> saying, "Dad, you always wanted more strings.  Well, this is really more
> strings!"
>
> 2011 marks the 65th year that we're treated to Nathaniel's classic
> recording, and it remains, by far, the most-played of all Christmas
> records.  The original 1946 recording was inducted into The Grammy Hall
> of Fame in 1974.
>
> Merry Christmas, and enjoy the magic of the Season.
>
> Dick LaPalm
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>    **
> *****
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> --
>
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-- 
Blaise Lantana
Music Director
KJZZ Phoenix 91.5
www.kjzz.org
blantana at kjzz.org


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