Baby It's Cold Outside: A Winter Standard
Winter Weather, Love, and Persuasion
Frank Loesser wrote Baby It's Cold Outside for he and his wife, Lynn, to perform at a dinner party in 1944. The song was such a hit that the two were popular guests for years. They were so well known for the song, in fact, that Loesser decided to give it up for good by putting it into Neptune's Daughter, a film released in 1948.
Thank heavens he did, for the song has worked its way into the winter repertoire of folks around the world. The combination of cute and somewhat creepy persuasion, where The Wolf tries to convince The Mouse to stay "safe" and warm with him (or her, as was the case in Neptune's Daughter, in which Esther Williams plies her feminine wiles upon Ricardo Montalban). On this page you'll find lyrics, dozens of samples and videos, and a poll where you can vote for your favorite version of Baby It's Cold Outside. I've shared my favorite cover, as well. Please let me know what you think of the song in the guest book at the end and Happy Holidays!
The Lyrics for Baby It's Cold Outside
Say, What's in This Drink?
I've separated The Mouse and The Wolf here into separate colors so that Baby It's Cold Outside is easier to read. There are a few lines that the two sing together, as well.
I really can't stay (Baby it's cold outside)
I've got to go 'way (Baby it's cold outside)
This evening has been (Been hoping that you'd drop in)
So very nice (I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice)
My mother will start to worry (Beautiful, what's your hurry?)
My father will be pacing the floor (Listen to the fireplace roar)
So really I'd better scurry (Beautiful, please don't hurry)
Well, maybe just a half a drink more (Put some music on while I pour)
The neighbors might think (Baby, it's bad out there)
Say, what's in this drink? (No cabs to be had out there)
I wish I knew how (Your eyes are like starlight now)
To break this spell (I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell)
I ought to say no, no, no, sir (Mind if I move a little closer?)
At least I'm gonna say that I tried (What's the sense in hurting my pride?)
I really can't stay (Baby don't hold out)
Ahh, but it's cold outside
I simply must go (Baby, it's cold outside)
The answer is no (Ooh baby, it's cold outside)
This welcome has been (I'm lucky that you dropped in)
So nice and warm (Look out the window at that storm)
My sister will be suspicious (Man, your lips look so delicious)
My brother will be there at the door (Waves upon a tropical shore)
My maiden aunt's mind is vicious (Gosh your lips look delicious)
Well, maybe just a cigarette more (Never such a blizzard before)
I've got to go home (Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there)
Say, lend me your coat (It's up to your knees out there)
You've really been grand (I thrill when you touch my hand)
But don't you see (How can you do this thing to me?)
There's bound to be talk tomorrow (Think of my life long sorrow)
At least there will be plenty implied (If you caught pneumonia and died)
I really can't stay (Get over that old out)
Ahh, but it's cold outside
Baby it's cold outside
Music Videos for Baby It's Cold Outside - Versions from the 40s through 2008
I must admit that Baby It's Cold Outside has been slaughtered by many people over the years (Bo Bice, I'm looking at you, and Jessica Simpson, too). That said, the song stands as the premiere holiday duet and has been performed by some amazing performers over the years (I'm looking at you, Johnny Mercer and Ella Fitzgerald) and elevated from the cute to the sublime by fantastic voices and personalities. Don't miss the Tallulah Bankhead version with Jack Carson. I've included here the Gap commercial, as Selma Blair takes the traditionally-male role in the song which makes for a fun switch and recalls the film debut of the song in Neptune's Daughter, and the Glee version from the 2010 season.
Is "The Wolf" Creepy or Compelling?
What's Going on in the Lyrics
While performers make Baby It's Cold Outside into a fun winter standard that's entertained listeners for sixty years, you could make the case that the song is closer to a creepy stalker song rather than an attempt at gentle persuasion meant to convince a shy date to linger just a little bit more. As the song was originally written as a fun duet to entertain the Frank Loesser's guests, performed with his own wife, I think it's safe to assume that such dark, predatory meanings were not intended to be taken seriously.
Consider, also, that Baby It's Cold Outside was written in the midst of World War II, a time when a woman being alone in a man's home was, indeed, cause for a scandal. While Mr. Loesser named the characters "The Wolf" and "The Mouse", the names relay the intended character for the performers to play rather than implying that The Mouse is in any danger. I picture The Wolf more as pleading and whining than as threatening. That question about "what's in this drink" does give one a moment of pause, however. I imagine that he was surprised that The Mouse agreed to come in in the first place!
Which Version Is Your Favorite? - Who Convinced You that It's Cold Outside?
Share with me which wolf would lure you back into his lair or which mouse to which you'd like to say, "Baby, It's Cold Outside!" Would you take another drink from Dean Martin, let Louis Armstrong take your hat, or try to rescue Zooey Deschanel from getting pneumonia?
Which Version of Baby It's Cold Outside Is Your Favorite?
Even Miss Piggy Knows It's Cold Outside - The Muppet Show Version
If you're familiar with my lenses or with The Muppet Show, you'll know that many jazz and pop standards and famed performers appeared on that fabulous program. You'll be happy to know that I've discovered Miss Piggy singing Baby It's Cold Outside to Rudolf Nureyev in a sauna in 1977. Well, I was happy to have discovered it, at any rate.
My Favorite Version of Baby It's Cold Outside - Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting's Big Hit
I love Leon Redbone and Zooey Deschanel singing this song, but Mercer and Whiting fit so well with the era in which Baby It's Cold Outside first became popular that you can almost see them acting out the lyrics as they perform it. Although many people have ascribed this song to Bing Crosby, he never recorded the song. Johhny Mercer does, indeed, sound a great deal like Mr. Crosby in this version of the song, though, which is no bad thing.
Sample and Buy More Versions of Baby Its Cold Outside - Classic Covers and Modern Renditions
You can sample more than thirty different cover versions of Baby It's Cold Outside here and buy your favorites. I've got all of the versions listed in the poll above and plenty more, besides. Let me know if I've neglected the version that you think is the best and I'll add it to the list.
Baby, It's STILL Cold Outside - Stay and Watch More Music Videos!
Just for fun, try Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton getting goofy. Don't miss Dianne Reeves hiccup, the terrific pictures of Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer, Petula Clark sounding rather exasperated, and Amy Grant's daughter, Sarah Chapman. Oh, and there are some men singing in there, too. You can't have Baby, It's Cold Outside without two people!
Let me know if you find Baby It's Cold Outside charming or creepy. Share your memories of the song and let me know which version is your favorite. Do you see yourself as The Wolf or as The Mouse?