Some songs have journeys that are amazing. Such is the case for Baby, It’s Cold Outside.
This song has had some really big highs and some really big lows. Written in 1944 by Broadway legend Frank Loesser, the original intent would surprise people. It was written to be sung at their housewarming party as the last song – to indicate to guests it was time for them to leave. It became so delightfully welcomed that it turned into a parlor favorite. And Loesser and his wife, Lynn Garland, became quite popular.
Four years later, he solid the rights to MGM. This was not something that his wife approved of. She told many she was furious, as if her husband cheated on her. But MGM used it and in 1949, the song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Greats like Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Shore, Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin, Bette Miller, Vanessa Williams, Lee Ann Womack, Natalie Cole, Christian Aguilera, Lady Gaga, Amy Grant and so many more have recorded it. Rod Stewart recorded it with Dolly Parton. I still am trying to picture that in my brain but it just doesn’t come together.
Then something happened … a new century, a new outlook, and a new culture has turned the song into a target for the #MeToo movement. Some of the song’s lines have been considered predatory, they even claim it is all about date rape. The daughter of the original author blames this backlash on Bill Cosby. She also said her father would be furious for people to take it with such an intent of maliciousness. It was to be fun. Oh well.
So now, some radio stations and stream services are banning the song. From a party favorite, to Oscar winner, to recordings by greats, to anathema of society.
John Legend rewrote the lyrics to change the questionable lines. He and Kelly Clarkson recorded it. And the family still gets appropriate revenue. It was about taking a delightful tune, keep its fun spirit, make it inoffensive, and keep the song alive. He says he did it not to be preachy but for it to be fun.
Yet, the furor continues. Both sides of the issue seem to be unhappy. I truly think in today’s world, nobody ever seems to be happy.
Happiness is fickle … just like the weather. Fortunately my happiness, my joy, does not reside in circumstances but in the truth that God loves me and is for me. This season reminds me of that so much. It may be cold outside, but there is a baby that came to bring joy … Joy to the world, the Lord has come.