TOLUCA LAKE ( — Christmas Eve wouldn’t be the same without the best-selling “The Christmas Song,” crooned by the late Nat King Cole, but it turns out the song was written right here in Toluca Lake – in July.

The best-selling holiday song of all time was written 70 years ago, but it wasn’t actually inspired by Christmas. “The Christmas Song” was penned by the late jazz great Mel Torme and his writing partner Bob Wells, on an oppressively hot July day in 1945.

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James Torme says his father went to Wells’ Toluca Lake home for a day of writing and found a notepad by the piano.

“On this pad were four lines that were sort of scribbled down in pencil. ‘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,'” Torme tells KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO’S Margaret Carrero.

When his father questioned Wells about the verse, Wells said famously, “‘Mel, I’m hot all over,'” according to Torme. Wells said he had tried everything to cool down – a cold drink, a dip in the pool and finally resorted to trying to write wintry poetry to trick himself into thinking he was not so hot.

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Torme’s father looked at the pad and at Wells and said, “‘I think there might be something here.'”

Forty minutes later, the writing partners jumped in a car and hurried to Hancock Park to play it for Cole. Cole had the two play the song twice before interrupting them and saying, “‘Stop. That’s my song.'”

“And it really was,” Torme said with a laugh.

Torme, who is a jazz vocalist himself, re-recorded the classic this year with the help British arranger. It was an experience that brought him to tears.

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“It’s been a really special experience getting to do it, of course. I felt my father’s presence,” Torme said.