Musical Advent Calendar 2013 – December 5

It’s getting chilly here in the Bay Area, which has inspired today’s offering in the Musical Advent Calendar – “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.

I put this song in the category of Holiday Songs That Aren’t Actually About The Holidays.  The song has actually achieved a fair amount of controversy over the years due to its lyrics that suggest the possible coercing of a woman to stay the night against her will (the original lyric sheet listing the parts as “mouse” and “wolf” didn’t help).  More traditionally, it is heard as a playful flirtation between two people already falling for each other.  Either way, there is nothing in the song to suggest any connection to Christmas or the holidays, other than the fact that it is cold.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” won the academy award for Best Original Song at the 1950 Oscar ceremony.  It first appeared in the 1949 movie Neptune’s Daughter, about a swimsuit designer.  That doesn’t really scream “Christmas” to me.  And neither does the performance from the film here:

I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the two scenarios, with Red Skelton playing what is usually the female part in the second half of this performance.  But Ricardo Montalban reminded me of “The Continental” sketch from Saturday Night Live, which is funny, but kind of creepy.  (Maybe we could get Christopher Walken to record a version of the song!)

But as more artists started recording the song in the 1950’s and 60’s, it began showing up on Christmas albums and TV holiday specials, eventually settling itself comfortably into the holiday music menagerie.  Below is a classic example of the song performed for inclusion on a Christmas album – Dean Martin’s, in this case:

And, as an equal opportunist, I will leave you with a more modern take on the song, with the “mouse” and “wolf” roles reversed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lady Gaga.  Enjoy, and stay warm.

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~ by themattmorrisshow on December 5, 2013.

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