Baby, It's Cold Outside

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For other works with this title, see Baby, It's Cold Outside (disambiguation).
Cpl. Jeremy Catledge of the U.S. Marine Corps Pacific Band and guest entertainer Ginai sing "Baby It’s Cold Outside" at the Fourth Annual Na Mele o na Keiki (Music for the Children) Holiday Concert in 2011.

"Baby, It's Cold Outside" is a song written by Frank Loesser in 1944.[1] 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.

In the early part of its history, the song was seen as presenting a liberating stand for women because the guest decides to stay despite what the neighbors might say about her reputation; however, in the 2000s, critiques of the song have highlighted other 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.[2]


Loesser wrote the duet in 1944 and premiered the song with his wife, Lynn Garland, at their Navarro Hotel 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. Garland considered it "their song" and was furious when Loesser sold the song to MGM.[3]


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/himself, but feels obligated to return home, worried what family and neighbors will think if s/he stays.[4] Every line in the song features a statement from the mouse followed by a response from the wolf. Although the two roles in the duet are often considered to be gender-specific, with the wolf being male and the mouse being female, in the original theatrical release in 1949, there were versions of the song with these roles reversed.

As a duet, the lyrics form a conversation with observations by the "mouse" and interjections by the "wolf." In recent years, there has been criticism of the song, stemming from a modernistic reading of the wolf-mouse dynamic as being sexually predatory.[5] Some commentators perceive the lyrics as the "mouse" as genuinely wanting to leave but being stopped by the "wolf" being coercive in his pleading. These readers cite certain lines as being questionable, including "I simply must go," "The answer is no," "I've got to go home."[6] At the time the song was written and for sometime after, however, it was not socially acceptable for women to agree to spend the night with a man to whom they were not married and the words "I ought to say no, no, no" refer to the social mores which the woman in the song wishes to ignore.


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.[3] 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.[1]

The song "debuted," with slightly different lyrics, at the Oscar ceremony via a performance by Mae West and Rock Hudson.[7] In at least one published version the tempo of the song is given as "Loesserando," a humorous reference to the composer's name.[8]

1949 recordings[edit]

The following versions were recorded in 1949:

Other recordings and performances[edit]

"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.

Two versions have also made the Hot Country Songs charts: Martina McBride in an overdubbed duet with Dean Martin, peaked at number 36, and a duet between Willie Nelson and Norah Jones reached number 55 in January 2010. However, perhaps the most famous country version is the Dolly Parton & Rod Stewart rendition, which in 2004 also made it to number two on the US Adult Contemporary chart.

Featured in popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 134. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ Marya Hannun (December 19, 2014). "‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ was once an anthem for progressive women. What happened?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b 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. 
  4. ^ Riis, Thomas Laurence (January 1, 2008). Frank Loesser. Yale University Press. pp. 71–73. ISBN 0300110510. 
  5. ^ ""Baby, It’s Cold Outside" Isn’t About Date Rape!". Salon (website). Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  6. ^ Wallace, Kelsey (December 6, 2011). Is She and Him Gender-Swapped "Baby, It's Cold Outside" Any Less Rape-y Than the Original? Bitch Media.
  7. ^ Roger Ebert. "Mae West and Rock Hudson: "Baby, It's Cold Outside!"". 
  8. ^ Michael Feinstein (2010-06-29). "Comment made by Michael Feinstein during Fresh Air Celebrates Frank Loesser's 100th Birthday interview". Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  9. ^ a b c d Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940–1955. Record Research. 
  10. ^ "Jul hos mig" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. 2009. Retrieved December 24, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Retrieved January 7, 2014". 2011-09-20. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  12. ^ "Chart Search Virginia to Vegas". Billboard. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  13. ^ "Adult Contemporary". Billboard. December 20, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2014. 
  14. ^ " Baby It's Cold Outside (feat. Eric Martsolf): Jen Lilley: MP3 Downloads". 
  15. ^ Al Hirt, Beauty and the Beard Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  16. ^ "Hot 100: Week of December 25, 2010 (Biggest Jump)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on January 21, 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2010. 
  17. ^ Baby It's Cold Outside, Astrid and John on YouTube
  18. ^ Baby Its Cold Outside, Zach Braff and Donald Faison Holiday Video on YouTube.
  19. ^ McDonnell, Brandy (October 1, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson collaborates with Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood, Ronnie Dunn on Christmas album". Tulsa World. BH Media. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  20. ^ "An Honest Performance Of "Baby It's Cold Outside"". Funny or Die. December 16, 2015. Retrieved December 16, 2015. 

External links[edit]