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#164 – Robert Wells and Mel Tormé

#164 – Robert Wells and Mel Tormé published on No Comments on #164 – Robert Wells and Mel Tormé

Robert Wells

He attended a local business college and later the University of Southern California, where he majored in speech and drama. He served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. Both before and after the war, he worked as a scriptwriter and lyricist for both radio and film.1


Mel Tormé

In 1946, Tormé was discharged from the U.S. army in 1946, and soon returned to a life of radio, television, movies, and music. 3The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. 3 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove’s Dictionaries. p. 769. In 1947, he started a solo singing career. His appearances at New York’s Copacabana led local disk jockey Fred Robbins to give him the nickname “The Velvet Fog” in honor of his high tenor and smooth vocal style.4

Robert Wells & Mel


From 1945-1949, Wells collaborated extensively with Tormé. Among their many hits were “Born to the Blue” and “A Stranger Called the Blues”, as well as numerous film songs.

Their most famous work together is “The Christmas Song”. Wells had written what would become in the first four lines of the song on a hot day in July, 1945. Torme had come over to visit, and saw the lines written out on a notepad. Wells thought the idea of writing a Christmas song was a good means of cooling off in the hot California summer, and Tormé agreed. The song was completed in 40 minutes, and went on to become one of the most performed Christmas songs of all time.5It Wasn’t All Velvet: An Autobiography.