A professional singer at the age of three, Mel Torme was a genuine musical prodigy. As a teenager, he played the drums in Chico Marx's band and earned the nickname "The Velvet Fog" because of his smooth, mellow tenor voice. In the 1940s, he formed his own group, the Mel-Tones, one of the first jazz-influenced vocal groups. As a solo musician, he had a number one hit in 1949 called "Careless Hands" and several lesser hits. He also acted in films and wrote several books, including biographies of Judy Garland and Buddy Rich. Torme's career included some songwriting, too. One of his most well-known compositions, "The Christmas Song", was written in midsummer as Torme relaxed by the pool.