Ah, Christmas; cosy nights in, time with friends and family and crooner classics that are seemingly about, er, date-rape.
For many years now, there’s been controversy surrounding a formerly-favourite Christmas classic written in 1944 by Broadway composer Frank Loesser, thanks to a modern reading of the out-of-date lyrics.
Luckily, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend have come to the rescue, giving the song a revamp for the #MeToo era.
Originally performed by Loesser and his wife, Lynn Garland, as a closing act at New York society parties, it was sold to MGM in 1949 to be used in the film Neptune’s Daughter. It was a good move, as the track – performed by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban, as well as Betty Garrett and Red Skelton, in the movie – went on to win Neptune’s Daughter the Oscar for Best Original Song, and it was considered a jazz standard for years.
The song started to fall out of favour even before the #MeToo movement hit the entertainment industry.
The lyrics to the original Baby, It’s Cold Outside – always performed as a duet – had the female vocalist repeatedly telling her male partner that she ‘really can’t stay.’
The man keeps pressuring her to stay, and then the woman sings ‘Say, what’s in this drink?’ which can be misinterpreted badly. She also specifically sings ‘the answer is no’ but the male singer continues to push with ‘but baby, it’s cold outside.’
What are the new Baby, It’s Cold Outside lyrics?
Vanity Fair have reported that the new lyrics have Kelly Clarkson singing ‘what will my friends think?’ and John Legend replies ‘I think they should rejoice.’
Kelly then sings ‘… if I have one more drink?’ to which John sings ‘it’s your body, and your choice.’
Other consent-friendly changes to the lyrics are thought to include: ‘I really can’t stay (Baby it’s cold outside) I’ve gotta go away (I can call you a ride) This evening has been… (So glad that you dropped in) …so very nice (Time spent with you is paradise) My mother will start to worry (I’ll call a car and tell ’em to hurry).’
Some, like Piers Morgan, have argued against the change, insisting the song was just old-fashioned flirtation.
Susan Loesser, daughter of the original songwriter Frank Loesser, has also defended the song. Talking with NBC News, she said: ‘I think my father would be furious [at the date-rape implications].
‘People used to say “what’s in this drink” as a joke. You know, “this drink is going straight to my head so what’s in this drink?” Back then it didn’t mean you drugged me.’
Who else has recorded Baby, It’s Cold Outside?
The song has been covered by artists from almost every genre. Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark, Ray Charles, Sammy Davis Jr, Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera, Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews and Lady GaGa and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have all covered the song.
King of Christmas Michael Buble teamed up with Frozen’s Idina Menzel to release a cover in 2014.
Story sourced from – Metro