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 one of the singers (usually performed by a male voice) attempts to convince a guest (usually performed by a female voice) that they should stay together for a romantic evening because the weather is cold and the trip home would be difficult.
Originally recorded for the film Neptune's Daughter, it has been recorded by many artists since its original release.
Critiques of the song have highlighted parts of the lyrics such as "What's in this drink?" and his unrelenting pressure to stay despite her repeated statement of her desire to go home.
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. Frank 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." He sold it to MGM.
The lyrics in this duet are designed to be heard as a conversation between two people, identified as "mouse" and "wolf" on the printed score; they have returned to the wolf's home after a date, 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 wants to stay and enjoy herself, but feels obligated to return home, worried what family and neighbors will think if she stays. 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.
In 1948, after years of informally performing the song at various parties, Loesser sold its 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 song in its original form was released on the soundtrack for Neptune's Daughter sung by Ricardo Montalban and Esther Williams.
- 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 May 6, 1949, and lasted 19 weeks on the chart, peaking at number four.
- 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 number four.
- 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 number 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 number 17.
- A parody recording was made by Homer and Jethro with June Carter; it went to number 9 on the country charts and number 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, probably the most popular version being the 2004 Rod Stewart/Dolly Parton version for Stewart's album Stardust: The Great American Songbook, Volume III. The song made it to number two on the US Adult Contemporary chart.
- The 1961 Ray Charles/Betty Carter version is the first of two versions to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart (1958 to present) and the only one for over forty-eight years; it peaked at number 91 in March 1962. This version was used in the 1990s on the program A Different World, in which a husband and wife lip sync to the recording as a means of flirtation.
- In 2004, Rod Stewart recorded a version with Dolly Parton for his album Stardust: The Great American Songbook, Volume III. The song made it to number two on the US Adult Contemporary chart.
- In 2007, Martina McBride recorded an overdubbed duet with Dean Martin (from his original version recorded in 1959), and the song was added on McBride's third re-release of her Christmas album White Christmas (Martina McBride album). It peaked at number 36 on Hot Country Songs charts.
- In 2008, country music group Lady Antebellum released a version as a promotional single. This version reached number 1 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100.
- In 2009, Willie Nelson recorded the song with Norah Jones for his American Classic album. The song peaked at number 55 on Hot Country Songs charts.
- In 2010, Chris Colfer and Darren Criss performed the song on the TV show Glee as Kurt Hummel and Blaine Anderson, respectively, in the episode "A Very Glee Christmas". It had been released the month before on the album Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album, and although the song was not separately released as a single, it nevertheless charted at number 57 on the Billboard Hot 100 after the show aired.
- In 2014, Canadian pop artists Virginia to Vegas and Alyssa Reid recorded their own adaptation of the song which was released as single, charting at no. 5 on the Canadian Hot 100.
- In 2014, Seth MacFarlane and Sara Bareilles recorded a version for MacFarlane's Christmas album, Holiday for Swing. This version peaked at No. 10 on Billboard's weekly Adult Contemporary chart for the week ending December 20, 2014.
- In 2014, Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé recorded a version for Menzel's Christmas album, Holiday Wishes. This version debuted and peaked at No. 78 on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week ending December 6, 2014. This version also climbed to No. 1 on Billboard's weekly Adult Contemporary chart for the week ending December 20, 2014, spending a total of three weeks on top. The two also recorded a "family-friendly" version with altered lyrics for their music video.
- In 2014, Darius Rucker and Sheryl Crow recorded a version for Rucker's Christmas album, Home for the Holidays. This version peaked at No. 13 on Billboard's weekly Adult Contemporary chart for the week ending December 27, 2014.
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- List of number-one adult contemporary singles of 2015 (U.S.)
- The Power of Nightmares Part 1: "Baby it's cold outside"
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