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, tries 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 wrote the song for him and his wife to perform at parties. He sold the song to MGM, which used it for the 1949 film Neptune's Daughter. It was sung by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban and won the Academy Award. Since 1949 it has been covered by many singers, including Ray Charles, Michael Bublé, and Dolly Parton.
During the 1940s, when Hollywood celebrities attended parties, they were expected to perform. In 1944, Frank Loesser wrote "Baby, It's Cold Outside" for him and his wife, Lynn Garland, to sing at a housewarming party in New York City at the Navarro Hotel. They sang the song to indicate to guests that it was time to leave. Loesser often introduced himself as the "evil of two Loessers" because of the role he played in the song.
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." In 1948, after years of performing the song, Loesser sold it to MGM for the 1949 romantic comedy Neptune's Daughter. Garland was furious. She 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.
- The version by Lynn Garland and Frank Loesser (credited as Lynn & Frank Loesser) was released by Mercury Records.
- The version by Don Cornell and Laura Leslie with the Sammy Kaye orchestra was recorded on April 12 and released by RCA Victor. It reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on June 24, 1949, and lasted 10 weeks on the chart, peaking at No. 13.
- The version by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan was recorded on April 28 and released by Decca Records. It reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on June 17, 1949, and lasted seven weeks on the chart, peaking at No. 17.
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- 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