Baby, It's Cold Outside
|"Baby, It's Cold Outside"|
"Baby, It's Cold Outside" is a song written by Frank Loesser in 1944. It is a call and response duet in which a host (usually performed by a male voice) attempts to convince a guest (usually performed by a female voice) that she should stay the evening because the weather is cold and the trip home would be difficult.
Loesser originally created it to sing with his wife, Lynn Garland, as a private performance for their friends. It was later recorded for the film Neptune's Daughter, it has been recorded by many artists since its original release, including Ray Charles, Dolly Parton and Michael Bublé.
Loesser wrote the duet in 1944 and premiered the song with his wife, Lynn Garland, at their Navarro Hotel in New York housewarming party, and performed it toward the end of the evening, signifying to guests that it was nearly time to end the party. Loesser would introduce himself as the "Evil of Two Loessers", a play on the theme of the song, trying to keep the girl from leaving, and on the phrase "lesser of two evils". This was a period when the Hollywood elite's chief entertainment was throwing parties and inviting guests who were expected to perform. Garland wrote that after the first performance, "We become instant parlor room stars. We got invited to all the best parties for years on the basis of 'Baby.' It was our ticket to caviar and truffles. Parties were built around our being the closing act." Garland considered it their song and was furious when Loesser told her he was selling the song. Garland wrote, "I felt as betrayed as if I'd caught him in bed with another woman."
The lyrics in this duet are designed to be heard as a conversation between two people, identified as "mouse" (usually female) and "wolf" (usually male) on the printed score; they are at the wolf's home and the mouse decides it is time to go home, but the wolf flirtatiously invites the mouse to stay as it is late and "it's cold outside." The mouse states that he/she has enjoyed the time and agrees at one point to another drink, but the mouse also says "the answer is no" and tries to return home, worried what family and neighbors will think. Every line in the song features a statement from the mouse followed by a response from the wolf, which is musically known as a call and response song.
Although some critical analyses of the song have highlighted parts of the lyrics such as "What's in this drink?" and the wolf's unrelenting pressure to stay despite the mouse's repeated suggestions that she should go home, others noted that cultural expectations of the time period were such that women were not socially permitted to spend the night with a boyfriend or fiancé, and that the mouse states that she wants to stay, while "What's in this drink?" was a common idiom of the period used to rebuke social expectations by blaming one's actions on the influence of alcohol.
In 1948, after years of informally performing the song at various parties, Loesser sold the rights to MGM, which inserted the song into its 1949 motion picture, Neptune's Daughter. The film featured two performances of the song: one by Ricardo Montalbán and Esther Williams and the other by Red Skelton and Betty Garrett, the second of which has the roles of wolf and mouse reversed. These performances earned Loesser an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
The following versions were recorded in 1949:
- The recording by Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark was recorded on March 17 and released by Columbia Records as catalog number 38463. It first reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on June 4, 1949, and lasted 15 weeks on the chart, peaking at No. 6.
- The recording by Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer was recorded on March 18 and released by Capitol Records as catalog number 567. It first reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on May 6, 1949, and lasted 19 weeks on the chart, peaking at No. 4.
- The recording by Don Cornell and Laura Leslie with the Sammy Kaye orchestra was recorded on April 12 and released by RCA Victor Records as catalog number 20-3448. It first reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on June 24, 1949, and lasted 10 weeks on the chart, peaking at No. 13.
- The recording by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan was recorded on April 28 and released by Decca Records as catalog number 24644. It first reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on June 17, 1949, and lasted seven weeks on the chart, peaking at No. 17.
- A recording by Lynn Garland and Frank Loesser (credited as Lynn & Frank Loesser) was released by Mercury Records as catalog number 5307.
- A parody recording was made by Homer and Jethro with June Carter; it went to No. 9 on the country charts and No. 22 on the pop charts.
"Baby, It's Cold Outside" has been recorded by numerous other artists over the years. At least five different versions of the song have made at least one singles chart in the United States.
- 1957: Sammy Davis Jr. and Carmen McRae on Boy Meets Girl.
- 1959: Jack Marshall on his album Soundsville
- 1961: Ray Charles and Betty Carter on their self-titled album (peaked at No. 91 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in March 1962)
- 1964: Al Hirt and Ann Margret on Hirt's album, Beauty and the Beard.
- 1999: Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews on Jones's album Reload
- 2002: Brian Setzer and Ann Margret on The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s Boogie Woogie Christmas
- 2003: Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone on the movie soundtrack for Elf
- 2004: Rod Stewart with Dolly Parton on his album Stardust: The Great American Songbook, Volume III (No. 2 on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart)
- 2007: Martina McBride recorded an overdubbed duet with Dean Martin (from his original version recorded in 1959), and the song was added to her third re-release of her album White Christmas (No. 36 on the Hot Country Songs chart)
- 2008: Lady Antebellum as a promotional single (No. 1 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100)
- 2009: Willie Nelson with Norah Jones on his album American Classic (No. 55 on the Hot Country Songs chart)
- 2010: Chris Colfer and Darren Criss performed it on the TV show Glee in the episode "A Very Glee Christmas"; released the month before on Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album, and although not released as a single, it charted at No. 57 on the Billboard Hot 100, after the episode aired
- 2011: Folk/indie rock band She & Him on their first Christmas album (and third studio album) A Very She & Him Christmas
- 2011: American Idol Season 10 alumni Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams with a single, charting at No. 120 on the Billboard 200
- 2013: Lady Gaga (as wolf) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Lady Gaga and the Muppets Holiday Spectacular. Gaga also performed a version of the song with Tony Bennett in a 2015 Barnes & Noble commercial.
- 2013: Jimmy Fallon and Cecily Strong on Saturday Night Live. The song begins in the traditional manner, but after sex, roles reverse and Fallon tries to get Strong out of his apartment.
- 2014: Canadian pop artists Virginia to Vegas and Alyssa Reid with a single, charting at No. 5 on the Canadian Hot 100
- 2014: Seth MacFarlane and Sara Bareilles on MacFarlane's album Holiday for Swing (No. 10 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart)
- 2014: Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé on Menzel's album Holiday Wishes (No. 78 on the Billboard Hot 100, and No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, spending three weeks on top)
- 2014: Darius Rucker and Sheryl Crow on Rucker's album Home for the Holidays (No. 13 on the Adult Contemporary chart)
- 2016: Brett Eldredge and Meghan Trainor on Eldredge's album Glow (No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart)
- 2016: Amy Grant and Vince Gill on Grant's album "Tennessee Christmas"
- 2017: VoicePlay and Shoshana Bean
- 2017: Avril Lavigne and Jonny Blu as "Baby It's Cold Outside"
- List of number-one adult contemporary singles of 2014 (U.S.)
- List of number-one adult contemporary singles of 2015 (U.S.)
- List of number-one adult contemporary singles of 2017 (U.S.)
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 134. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Loesser, Susan (1993). A Most Remarkable Fella: Frank Loesser and the Guys and Dolls in His Life; A Portrait by His Daughter. Hal Leonard. pp. 79–81. ISBN 1-55611-364-1.
- Riis, Thomas Laurence (January 1, 2008). Frank Loesser. Yale University Press. pp. 71–73. ISBN 0300110510.
- Marya Hannun (December 19, 2014). "'Baby It's Cold Outside' was once an anthem for progressive women. What happened?". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- "Listening While Feminist: In Defense of 'Baby, It's Cold Outside'". Persophone Magazine. December 6, 2010.
- Feinstein, Michael (June 29, 2010). "Comment made by Michael Feinstein during Fresh Air Celebrates Frank Loesser's 100th Birthday interview". Wbur.org. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940–1955. Record Research.
- Loesser, Lynn & Loesser, Frank (December 16, 2017). "Baby It's Cold Outside". Retrieved December 16, 2017 – via Internet Archive.
- "Boy Meets Girl: Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McRae". SammyDavisJr.info. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
- "'Baby, It's Cold Outside': You choose the best version -- POLL". Retrieved December 16, 2017.
- "Hot 100: Week of December 25, 2010 (Biggest Jump)". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 9, 2014. Retrieved December 16, 2010.
- Gunter, Barrie (July 24, 2014). "I Want to Change My Life: Can Reality TV Competition Shows Trigger Lasting Career Success?". Cambridge Scholars Publishing – via Google Books.
- "Watch Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett Sing Gorgeous 'Baby It's Cold Outside' Duet in New Commercial". Billboard. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
- McGlynn, Katla (December 22, 2013). "Their Version Of 'Baby It's Cold Outside' Is So Much Better". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
- "Jimmy Fallon's 'Baby It's Cold Outside' SNL Duet Has Hilariously Cold Modern Twist". Mediaite. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
- "Chart Search Virginia to Vegas". Billboard. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
- "Adult Contemporary". Billboard. December 20, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "Baby It's Cold Outside - Single by Avril Lavigne & Jonny Blu on Apple Music". iTunes (US). November 22, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
- Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
- 27 Takes On Frank Loesser's 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' Broadwayworld
- Is ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ About Date Rape? Snopes. Includes 1949 recording by the Loessers.