Today in History: June 14

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping at your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.
—Bob Wells and Mel Tormé, “The Christmas Song”

According to BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), “The Christmas Song” is the most-performed of the many holiday classics one hears every holiday season. My offering a simple phrase (or two) from the song may be enough for readers to supply the rest of the song for themselves, words and music.

Nat King Cole recorded the song for the very first time 70 years ago today. Chances are that it is his version of the song that one is hearing in the MP3 player of one’s mind.

That first recording, the one that is 70 today, is not the Nat King Cole recording of the song that one hears thrown at one’s ears from every storefront during the holiday season. That version, sweetly syrupy-sweet, was recorded in 1961. The original recording of this holiday classic, which was written in the summer of 1945 by two songwriters who were trying “to stay cool by thinking cool,” according to Tormé, is of the The King Cole Trio: Nat King Cole, voice and piano; Oscar Moore, guitar; Johnny Miller, bass; and it is worth hearing, even on a June day (video below the jump):

* * * *
Today is Flag Day in the United States.

* * * *
Anne Frank made her first entry in an blank notebook on this date in 1942. The book had been a gift for her 13th birthday two days earlier.

* * * *
Jorge Luis Borges died 30 years ago today. (My homage at top; translation 2008 by Manolis Antoniou, photo montage 2014 by Mark Aldrich.)

* * * *
Harriet Beecher Stowe was born on this date in 1811. Alois Alzheimer was born on this date in 1864. Che Guevara was born 88 years ago today. Jerzy Kosiński was born on this date 83 years ago.

* * * *
Don Newcombe is 90 today. Marla Gibbs is 85. John Edgar Wideman is 75 today. Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump is 70. (If elected in November, he will set the new record for oldest elected President.) Archbishop Rowan Williams is 66. Pat Summitt is 64. Leon Wieseltier is 64. Eric Heiden is 58. Boy George is 55. Yasmine Bleeth is 48. Steffi Graf is 47. Diablo Cody is 38.

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  1. Martha Kennedy · June 14, 2016

    Sad how we always forget Alzheimer’s birthday. I love Borges — he changed the way I look at reality and I love this statement, “The infinite library is God.” ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aldrich · June 14, 2016

      Yes, I note Dr. Alzheimer every year for my dad.

      I haven’t read enough Borges. That is a sweet quote you shared.

      Liked by 1 person

Please comment here. Thank you, Mark.

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