"Baby, it's cold outside." These aren't just the words of your significant other observing how cold it is today, it's also the wonderful tune from the golden era of jazz. With winter making its way through much of North America, let's sing this tune.
It’s officially winter, which means much of Canada and the United States will be blanketed with snow, engulfed in freezing temperatures and cooped up indoors. Although some like to enjoy winter sports, many would rather prefer to stay indoors.
During the 1940s, successful American Broadway songwriter Frank Loesser wrote the tune “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” He premiered the song with his wife, Lynn Garland. After he sold the song to MGM, which made his wife furious, it was considered by many to be a Christmas tune. However, it was meant to have been sung throughout the entire year.
Loesser’s lyrics are conversational between a man (wolf) and a woman (mouse) about the snow outside. Unfortunately, many have referred to the tune as a “date-rape song” for Christmas because there are lyrics that have been taken out of context, such as “Say, what’s in this drink?” and “The answer is no.”
The song made its debut to the American public in the 1949 motion picture, “Neptune’s Daughter,” which had two performances of the song: the first was performed by Ricardo Montalban and Esther Williams and the other was done by Red Skeleton and Betty Garrett.
Loesser garnered an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Since 1949, there have been numerous duet renditions, which have been considered classics.
Here are some of the best versions of Baby, It’s Cold Outside.
Margaret Whiting & Johnny Mercer – Mar. 18, 1949
It became a huge hit in May of 1949 and was listed on the Billboard Best Seller chart for 19 weeks.
Dean Martin – 1949 Christmas album
Although there isn’t an official duet in his rendition of this tune, Doris Day was part of it in the background. There are several women singing, but there was never one single lady. Day later sang with Bing Crosby.
Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan – Apr. 28, 1949
Surprisingly, there isn’t a version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Instead, there is a wonderful tune between Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan. This became an instant hit and lasted seven weeks on the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart.
Dinah Shore & Buddy Clark – Mar. 17, 1949
Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark became one of the first duets to perform this song outside of the motion picture studios. In May of 1949, the rendition hit the Billboard Best Seller chart and lasted for 19 weeks.
Louis Armstrong & Verma Middleton – 1949
One of the most iconic jazz artists in the history of music added his uniqueness to this classic standard. In 1949, Louis Armstrong teamed up with Verma Middleton, but it did not make the best seller charts.
Sammy Davis Jr. & Carmen McRae – 1957
Nearly a decade later, the song returned to prominence. The Rat Pack member Sammy Davis Jr. performed with Carmen McRae. The song became part of the duet’s album, Boy Meets Girl. Similar to Armstrong and Middleton, Davis Jr. and McRae added their own personalities to the tune.