Friday, May 7, 1999

Today in Music (1949): “Baby It’s Cold Outside” first charted

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Margaret Whiting & Johnny Mercer with Paul Weston’s Orchestra

Writer(s): Frank Loesser (see lyrics here)

Recorded: March 18, 1949

First Charted: May 14, 1949

Peak: 3 BB, 4 BS, 3 DJ, 8 JB, 4 GA, 6 HP (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 6.1 video, 14.64 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Frank Loesser wrote “Baby It’s Cold Outside” in 1944. WK He performed it at parties with his wife, Lynn Garland, as a way to hint to guests that it was time to leave. WK To Garland’s shagrin, Loesser sold it to MGM in 1948 to be featured in the 1949 romantic comedy Neptune’s Daughter. WK In the movie it was sung by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban and reprised by Red Skelton and Betty Garrett. It won the Oscar for Best Song and has become a Christmas favorite. It never mentions the holiday but does have a winter theme.

Before the movie was even released on June 9, 1949, a version of the song by Dinah Shore & Buddy Clark (#4) was released. A week later, Johnny Mercer & Margaret Whiting hit the charts (#3) with what would become the most successful version of the song. Other versions followed that year. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan also took the song to the top 10 (#9) and theirs was named one of the top 100 songs of all time by Time magazine. That same year, there were chart versions by Sammy Kaye’s Orchestra featuring Don Cornell & Laura Leslie (#12) and “a comical country parody” TY1 featuring Homer & Jethro with June Carter (#22). PM

The song was also recorded in 1949 by Bing Crosby & James Stewart, Doris Day & Bob Hope, Frank Loesser & Lynn Garland, Dean Martin & and Marilyn Maxwell. There have also been chart versions by Ray Charles & Betty Carter (1961, #91 BB), Rod Stewart & Dolly Parton (2004, #2 AC), Dean Martin & Martina McBride (2006, #7 AC, 36 CW), Willie Nelson & Norah Jones (2009, #55 CW), the Glee Cast (2010, #57 BB), She & Him (2011, #16 AC), Idina Menzel & Michael Bublé (2014, #1 AC, 58 CN, 51 AU), Seth MacFarlane & Sara Bareilles (2014, #10 AC), and Darius Rucker & Sheryl Crow (2014, #13 AC).

There have been over 400 recordings of the song, including versions by Louis Armstrong & Velma Middleton, Eddie Fisher & June Hutton, Sammy Davis Jr. & Carmen McRae, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gormé, Al Hirt & Ann-Margret, Barry Manilow & K.T. Oslin, Bette Midler & James Caan, Lee Ann Womack & Harry Connick Jr., James Taylor & Natalie Cole, Darius Rucker & Sheryl Crow, Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood, John Farnham & Olivia Newton-John, John Legend & Kelly Clarkson, and the Glee Cast. WK

During the #MeToo movement of recent years, the song has come under fire because it focuses on a man pressuring a woman to stay with him. Some radio stations even banned the song in 2018. There have been those, including Loesser’s daughter, who argued that people need to understand that times were different then. However, Time magazine points out that even in 1949 the song was controversial with NBC initially banning it. TM


First posted 12/23/2023.


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