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"Baby, It's Cold Outside" is a pop standard with words and music by Frank Loesser. In the United States, it is mostly performed during the month of December and is often played alongside Christmas carols, although the song does not refer to Christmas. Furthermore, the song gets considerable air time in the typically cold months of January and February in the northern hemisphere and likewise during winter in the southern hemisphere.

Contents

Background

Loesser wrote the duet in 1944 and premiered the song with his wife at their Navarro Hotel housewarming party.[1]

The lyrics

The female voice in the song is called "The Mouse" and the male "The Wolf."[1] The lyrics consist of his attempts to convince her to stay with him at the end of a date; her indecisive protests reveal that although she feels obligated to go home, she is tempted to stay, partially because, as the title suggests, "it's cold outside."

The tempo

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

Neptune's Daughter

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.[1] The film featured two performances of the song: one by Ricardo Montalbán and Esther Williams and the other by Red Skelton and Betty Garrett. These performances earned Loesser an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

1949 recordings

The following versions were recorded in 1949:

Other recordings

"Baby, It's Cold Outside" has been recorded by numerous other artists over the years. At least four different versions of the song have made at least one singles chart in the United States.

The 1961 Ray Charles/Betty Carter version is the only version that has charted on The Billboard Hot 100 singles chart (1958 to present); it peaked at # 91 in March 1962. A version released by country music group Lady Antebellum in 2008 reached #3 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100, which is equivalent to #103 on the Hot 100.

Two versions have also made the Hot Country Songs charts: the first, by Martina McBride an overdubbed duet with Dean Martin, peaked at #36, and a duet between Willie Nelson and Norah Jones reached #55 on the same chart in January 2010.

The song was also used on the soundtrack for the 2003 film Elf, recorded by Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone.

Reference in the writings of Sayyid Qutb

"Baby, It's Cold Outside" is mentioned in a key passage from The America I Have Seen, a 1951 book by the influential Egyptian Islamist Sayyid Qutb. He described the scene as a record of the song was played at a church dance in the town of Greeley, Colorado: "The dance hall convulsed to the tunes on the gramophone and was full of bounding feet and seductive legs ... Arms circled waists, lips met lips, chests met chests, and the atmosphere was full of passion."

Snippets of the song are played multiple times in The Power of Nightmares, a BBC documentary on the origins of Islamism, neoconservatism and the ongoing War on Terrorism.

References

  1. ^ a b c Loesser, Susan (1993). A Most Remarkable Fella: Frank Loesser and the Guys and Dolls in His Life; A Portrait by His Daughter" p. 79-81. ISBN 1-55611-364-1.
  2. ^ a b c d Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research.  

External links

Preceded by
"Buttons and Bows" from The Paleface
Academy Award for Best Original Song
1949
Succeeded by
"Mona Lisa" from Captain Carey, U.S.A.
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