¡Que siga la fiesta!
For me, Nat King Cole's version from his Christmas Song LP is the definitive version of "The Christmas Song." (He recorded it a few times, but this version is the one that nailed it, and is the one most often played.) Few others are able to bring that same magic to the song, even Mel Tormé (who wrote it, and does a nice version of it himself)...yet most of the others just seem like a "color by numbers" version that go through the motions without really creating anything special. With "MCD" being the definitive version of that tune (and by now, a holiday classic), I agree it completely overshadows the A-side. It is not really an overall favorite of mine either (I don't like holiday music in general, to be honest), but I appreciate it for its stature as a classic and ongoing popularity.Technically, because the single version of "The Christmas Song" has a clean open on the 45, I'd go with that. Other than that, I'd agree with Rudy that Carpenters version of this standard is perfectly fine, but not magical. "Merry Christmas Darling" on the other hand *is* magical and perhaps, even as a b-side, overshadows its a-side.