Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Baby, It’s Cold Outside (words and music: Frank Loesser)
Citing the book A Most Remarkable Fella: Frank Loesser and the Guys and Dolls in His Life; A Portrait by His Daughter by Susan Loesser (1993) pp. 79–81, Wikipedia provides a bit of the song’s history:
Loesser wrote the duet in 1944 and premiered the song with his wife, Lynn Garland, at their Navarro Hotel housewarming party, and performed it toward the end of the evening, signifying to guests that it was nearly time to end the party. Garland considered it “their song” and was furious when Loesser sold the song to MGM.
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. The film featured two performances of the song: one by Ricardo Montalbán and Esther Williams and the other by Red Skelton and Betty Garrett, the second of which has the roles of wolf and mouse reversed. These performances earned Loesser an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Frank Loesser and Lynn Garland — date unknown
Esther Williams and Richardo Montalbán in Neptune’s Daughter (1949)
The earliest recordings include the following, all from 1949 (adapted from Wikipedia):
- Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark — recorded on March 17 and released by Columbia Records. It first reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on May 6, 1949, and lasted 19 weeks on the chart, peaking at number four.
- Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer — recorded on March 18 and released by Capitol Records. It first reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on May 6, 1949, and lasted 19 weeks on the chart, peaking at number four.
- Don Cornell and Laura Leslie with the Sammy Kaye orchestra — recorded on April 12 and released by RCA Victor Records. It first reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on June 24, 1949, and lasted 10 weeks on the chart, peaking at number 13.
- Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan — recorded April 28 and released by Decca Records. It first reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on June 17, 1949 and lasted seven weeks on the chart, peaking at number 17.
- Non-charting recordings include:
- Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban, recorded on April 7, 1949 released by MGM Records as catalog number 30197.
- Pearl Bailey and Hot Lips Page, recorded on June 23, 1949 released by Harmony Records as catalog number 1049.
- Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton
Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark — recorded in February 1949; issued on the 78 rpm single Decca 38463, c/w “My One and Only Highland Fling”
Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer with Paul Weston and his Orchestra — recorded on 18 March 1949; issued on Capitol 567, c/w “I Never Heard You Say”
Don Cornell and Laura Leslie with the Sammy Kaye Orchestra
Ella Fitzgerald with Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five
Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton
Carmen McRae and Sammy Davis, Jr., 1957
Dean Martin, 1959
Ray Charles and Betty Carter — 1961
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. This version was used in the 1990s on the program A Different World.
Al Hirt and Ann-Margret – from their collaboration Beauty and the Beard, released 1964
Dianne Reeves & Lou Rawls, released 1998(?)
Steve Tyrell and Jane Monheit – from Tyrell’s 2001 album Standard Time