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Baby It's Cold Outside: A Winter Standard

Updated on November 24, 2012

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?

See results

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

Baby, It's Cold Outside (1990 - Remaster)
Baby, It's Cold Outside (1990 - Remaster)

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?

Do You Think It's Cold Outside or Is the Wolf Too Creepy? - Tell Me What You Think About the Song

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    • zumbawjade profile image

      zumbawjade 4 years ago

      I absolutely LOVE Baby It's Cold Outside. My favorite version is Ella Fitzgerald's. My little sister and I have tradition where every year for Christmas one of us takes Louis' part and one of us takes Ella's part and we sing the song together, I look forward to it so much every year. Such a great song!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The one line from the Wolf that bugs me is "Baby, don't hold out."

      That one crosses the line for me.

      Usually, it's handled pretty well, but every once in a while, it turns Wolf into Stalker.

      Every Christmas, I'm reminded how great this song is and I go search for as many versions as I can find.

      Deano was the first version I heard, so he'll always have a place in my heart, but my current (as of 2011) favorite versions are the Zooey Deschanel/Leon Redbone and Ann Margret/Al Hirt versions - followed closely by Willie Nelson/Nora Jones

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What about the version where the roles are reversed...the Englishman is timid and propah and the woman tries to convince him to stay

    • profile image

      SandyPeaks 5 years ago

      Dean Martin's version is my favorite - it suits him so well!

    • Not-Pop profile image
      Author

      Not-Pop 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Actually, it's the second video in the first set. It was recommended to me long ago! I definitely agree that they bring out the creepier aspects of the song. :D

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You missed the Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews big brass version. Her accent makes her the perfect mouse and Tom Jones is well Tom Jones :)

    • noobeegin profile image

      noobeegin 6 years ago

      Another fantastic and fun Christmas tune. LOVE this one. Deano's version is the best.

    • JeremiahStanghini profile image

      JeremiahStanghini 6 years ago

      Ella Fitzgerald singing "Baby it's Cold Outside..." Man, now that is a duet! Gotta love Ella and her groove! :-)

      With Love and Gratitude,

      Jeremiah

    • venitalynn profile image

      venitalynn 6 years ago

      Being a youngster, the first time I ever heard this song was when watching Elf (Will Farrell) and since then, I've heard many different versions but Zooey Deschanel really does the song justice.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      My favorite version is the Chris Colfer/Darren Criss version of the song done on Glee. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I never knew where this song got it's origins, and now I am amazed at how old this song really is. Fascinating.

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 6 years ago

      LOVE this song! All versions are fab but like Fluff I do have a soft spot for the Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews version, even though I'm not a big Tom fan!

    • EditPhotos profile image

      Edit Photos 6 years ago from Earth

      Secret Angel Blessing

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      My favourite version is the one I sing in the shower

    • Not-Pop profile image
      Author

      Not-Pop 6 years ago

      @fluffanutta: I think Tom Jones makes an excellent Wolf but Cerys Matthews really turns it around on him in the end!

    • fluffanutta profile image

      fluffanutta 6 years ago from UK

      My favorite version is the one by Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews (1999).

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      I think "Baby It's Cold Outside" is just cute and funny. My favorite version is Ray Charles and Betty Carter.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love "Baby It' Cold Outside." And to think the writers wrote it for themselves to perform at parties. And unable to come up with a song for the movie submitted it expecting to get it back from the studio. Instead it was nominated for a Academy Award. At the ceremonies Esther Williams was out of town so Arlene Doll stood in for her. Thanks for the lens.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      Hey baby! I am surely looking forward to being able to say it is cold outside as I have had an extended summer here in Florida. Naw, the wolf is sweet.

    • Not-Pop profile image
      Author

      Not-Pop 6 years ago

      @indigoj: I added it to the first set of videos. I had a different video of the same pairing but that one was a great version. Thanks for sharing it!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      Came back to visit this one again after watching Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews perform it on YouTube. Their version has been my favourite ever since they recorded it and there's currently a video of them singing live on this lens but the promo video is so funny, well worth checking out. Not sure if the link will work via the guestbook but it is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PceqPkTdYgA Jones may be a Wolf (or think he is) but Cerys is certainly no Mouse, don't be fooled by her act at the beginning! :)

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 7 years ago from Western Mass

      i just love this song. lovely lens.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      I think it's a lot of fun and has a real feel of another era in which men did pursue and women were coy with them! Really enjoyed your tribute to the song here.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Baby, It's Cold Outside is charming. My favorite version is the Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McRae version where they call each other by name and crack each other up. Usually, I am The Mouse, usually.

    • profile image

      hallow 7 years ago

      Nice lyrics, I actually never got to know some words in the baby its cold outside lyrics. Thanks for the information and keep writing. 5** By Portable Propane Heaters

    • profile image

      Sojourn 8 years ago

      I voted before listening to all of the versions but when I saw which was your favorite I had to go back and listen. You're right! That version is beautiful! Nice job and I had a lot of fun listening. Amazing how the different voices can change up each version!

    • Not-Pop profile image
      Author

      Not-Pop 8 years ago

      I don't see the typo! Can you give me a hint in which module to look? At any rate, thanks to all of you for your kind words and blessings. This is such a fun song and I'm glad to see others enjoying it!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Hah! That Miss Piggy made my day, I'll be giggling for hours... Great idea for a lens. I did a lens on a song too, but mine was a murder ballad (Lamkin). I'm visiting around at the sites of my WiWon team mates this morning. Good luck!

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 8 years ago

      Love this song! I didn't know that Michael Buble and Ann Murray did it. I would love to hear that version. Great job as always!

    • Laniann profile image

      Laniann 8 years ago

      No, I don't think it was creepy- it's charming. I like the version with Johnny Mercer and Magaret Whiting. 5*s

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 8 years ago from Croatia

      Well known song and for a reason! You did good presentation here! And fun!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      I like the version Leon Redbone and Zooey Deschanel did for "Elf," but it's a great winter song no matter who sings it. Nice lens!

    • EelKat13 profile image

      EelKat13 8 years ago

      sending an angel blessing for your lens - keep up the good work!

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 8 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I've always wondered about the mixed messages in this song. Is the wolf wheedling or coming on too strong? I think it depends on the way the singer interprets the lyrics and so the way they perform it.