“Frosty the Snowman” is a popular song written by Walter “Jack” Rollins and Steve Nelson, and first recorded by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys in 1950. It was written after the success of Autry’s recording of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” the previous year; Rollins and Nelson shipped the new song to Autry, who recorded “Frosty” in search of another seasonal hit. Like “Rudolph,” “Frosty” was subsequently adapted to other media including a popular television special. The song was originally titled “Frosty the Snow Man.”
The song is about a snowman who comes to life by the placement of a magical hat found by some children, with whom he shares playful adventures before he has to “hurry on his way” (likely a quaint reference to melting, and the ephemeral nature of snowmen). At the end of their adventures together, the children are saddened by Frosty’s leaving, however, he reassures them by exclaiming, “I’ll be back again some day.”
Some versions of the song change the last line to “on Christmas Day!” It has been covered by many artists over the years, including The Jackson 5, The Ronettes, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Larry Groce, Ray Conniff, Cocteau Twins, The Beach Boys, Leon Redbone with Dr. John, Red Foley (and his daughters), Fiona Apple, Connie Talbot (2008 and 2009), 1910 Fruitgum Company, Michael Bublé, The Partridge Family, The Coasters, and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh (as his character Major Monogram from Phineas and Ferb. Also sings it as Perry Saves Christmas.) and countless other musical acts (including a 2005 recording of the song by actor Burt Reynolds).
Jimmy Durante has recorded two versions, one with the earlier alternative lyric, and another for a television special of the same name (see below).
“Frosty” was recorded by Ella Fitzgerald on her 1960 Verve release Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas.
The Canadian Brass are known for a version that is both jazzy and darkly humorous (“One more time!”… “you know what happens when Frosty gets hot!”).