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FLASH FRIDAY: 27 Wonderful Takes On Frank Loesser's Wintry Holiday Showstopper 'Baby, It's Cold Outside'


Marking 27 days until Christmas, today we pay tribute to an instantly recognizable Oscar-winning seasonal selection penned by Golden Age Broadway and Hollywood master Frank Loesser, "Baby, It's Cold Outside".

I Really Can't Wait

Frank Loesser crafted an overwhelming oeuvre of hits in his time as a Broadway and Hollywood composer of note and many of his signature songs remain popular to this very day - among them, GUYS & DOLLS standards such as "Luck Be A Lady" and "Sit Down, You're Rockin' The Boat", HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING standouts "Paris Original" and "I Believe In You", plus "Standing On The Corner" from THE MOST HAPPY FELLA, among others, as well as countless songs penned for the hit parade and silver screen. Nevertheless, after already having won TONY AWARDS and even a Pulitzer Prize for his work onstage, of the many gems created by Loesser expressly for film to also be nominated for a Best Song Academy Award only one (of 5) secured the master composer/lyricist a golden trophy - the eventual holiday standard, "Baby, It's Cold Outside".

Although "Baby, It's Cold Outside" was most memorably introduced to the public at large in a major way via Hollywood's aquatic queen Esther Williams alongside Ricardo Mantalban, Betty Garrett and Red Skelton in 1949's movie musical hit NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTER, the song dates back to more than 5 years prior to that, when Loesser and his wife, Lynn, first sang the jaunty duet for their housewarming party at the Navarro Hotel in 1944. Reportedly, Lynn was incensed when Loesser recycled the tune a few years later for public consumption, considering it their private song.

As the sheet music states, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is a seduction song, with the duet partners outright named Mouse and Wolf, respectively. Of course, in its original form in NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTER the song is performed as a quartet made up of dual duets between the pairs. Also, amusingly, the sheet music also notes that the untraditional tempo of the tune should be played "Loesserando." Today, while the tongue-in-cheek tone and mistletoe mischief inherent in the slightly scandalous song may deem it a bit of a relic as far as political correctness for holiday tunes is concerned - not to mention the references to cigarettes and cocktails - the slightly naughty nature of the gist behind the instant earworm only adds to the fun and overall merriment of it when performed with a knowing wink and a flourish as befits it best.

While it would be near impossible to list all of the various versions of this beloved and ubiquitous song that have been recorded or performed over the years since its inception, in light of the recent internet viral sensation afforded to Idina Menzel and Michael Buble's endearing brand new music video iteration of the classic Loesser tune this week, now is an ideal time to look back at some of the very best renditions from the last 60 or so years, ranging from Louis Armstrong to Lou Rawls to Louis Jordan to Lady Gaga and far beyond.

Baby, Don't Hold Out

Now, here are the top 27 best of the best takes on Frank Loesser's "Baby, It's Cold Outside".

First up, the NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTER original from 1949.

Dinah Shore & Buddy Clark

Doris Day & Bing Crosby

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan

Liza Minnelli & Alan Cumming

Dianne Reeves & Lou Rawls

Sara Bareilles & Ben Folds

Bette Midler & James Caan

Ann-Margret & The Brian Setzer Orchestra

Lady Gaga & Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Ray Charles & Nina Simone

Connie Britton & Will Chase

Norah Jones & Willie Nelson

Zooey Deschanel & Leon Redbone

Lady Antebellum

Chris Colfer & Darren Criss

Zach Braff & Donald Faison

Kelly Clarkson & Ronnie Dunn

Natalie Toro & Ryan Kelly

Dean Martin (& Back-Up Chorus)

Colbie Caillat & Gavin DeGraw

Christina Aguilera & Cee Lo Green

Miss Piggy & Rudolf Nureyev

Vanessa Williams & Bobby Caldwell

Debra Byrd & Barry Manilow

Ariana Grande & Mac Miller

Idina Menzel & Michael Buble

So, what is your absolute favorite rendition of Frank Loesser's "Baby, It's Cold Outside" to date? Furthermore, what potential future pairing particularly warms your heart in looking forward to holidays ahead? With a showstopper this seasonally sensational, any new take is certainly worth making.

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From This Author Pat Cerasaro

Pat Cerasaro contributes exclusive scholarly columns including InDepth InterViews, Sound Off, Theatrical Throwback Thursdays, Flash Friday and Flash Special as well as additional special features, (read more...)