Baby, It's Cold Outside

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For other works with this title, see Baby, It's Cold Outside (disambiguation).

"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.

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.[2]

Background[edit]

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 .[3]

Lyrics[edit]

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.[4] 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.

Publication[edit]

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]

In at least one published version the tempo of the song is given as "Loesserando," a humorous reference to the composer's name.[5]

1949 recordings[edit]

The following versions were recorded in 1949:

Other recordings[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, 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.

See also[edit]

References[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. ^ Michael Feinstein (2010-06-29). "Comment made by Michael Feinstein during Fresh Air Celebrates Frank Loesser's 100th Birthday interview". Wbur.org. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  6. ^ a b c d Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940–1955. Record Research. 
  7. ^ "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. 
  8. ^ "Chart Search Virginia to Vegas". Billboard. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  9. ^ "Adult Contemporary". Billboard. December 20, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2014. 

External links[edit]