Thursday, December 27, 2012

Baby it's cold outside: how times have changed

It's funny how at Christmas all kinds of songs come on the radio almost as traditions of the season. Think of 'Jingle bells' ... everyone associates it with Christmas, but in fact Christmas is never mentioned ... and that's because it's a song about sleigh-rides in the snow, not Christmas! The mere mention of snow is enough to get it on the Christmas playlist!

Ditto 'Baby, it's cold outside,' recorded by various artists, but mostly associated with Dean Martin & Doris Day (they dueted on it in a movie once I think, but I might be wrong; they certainly recorded it together at some point - the version above is by Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer, who as far as I can make out were among the first to record it; the one below is Dean Martin with Martina McBride & includes the lyrics). It was on the radio as I was having breakfast this morning. A Christmas song solely on the strength of its snowy credentials.

Listening to it I was struck by something. The female part of the lyric displays a lot of concern about what others might say or think or even do if she, a single woman, spends too long alone in the company of the male singer. She worries that her father might be worried, her mother & sister concerned, her brother might come looking, other relatives jump to conclusions, or the neighbours shocked. In the context of the song, her objections are perhaps token ones. But it'd be hard to make those arguments today, even as tokens, with much credibility, wouldn't it?

The song was written in 1944. We've traveled a long way from there, baby, haven't we?

Merry Christmas.


  1. Now who was it who said that the more interesting adventure was 'the road less travelled?'
    Merry Christmas, Father! keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks, Father, & a happy New Year to you ... looking forward to reading many more posts from you in 2013, DV!