The Christmas classic Baby, It’s Cold Outside was written in 1944 by famed songwriter Frank Loesser, and it was featured in the movie Neptune’s Daughter before becoming a Dean Martin hit. Since then, it has been covered numerous times by artists in every genre, and John Legend will be featuring it on his new Christmas album in a duet with Kelly Clarkson. However, Legend changed some of the lyrics because some activists believe the song promotes sexual assault, and the lyric change has caused some backlash.
The original song lyrics are:
“I really can’t stay (but baby, it’s cold outside)
I’ve got to go away (but baby, it’s cold outside)
This evening has been (been hoping that you’d drop in)
So very nice (I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice)
My mother will start to worry (beautiful what’s your hurry?)
My father will be pacing the floor (listen to the fireplace roar)
So really I’d better scurry (beautiful please don’t hurry)
But maybe just a half a drink more (put some records on while I pour)
The neighbors might think (baby, it’s bad out there)
Say what’s in this drink? (no cabs to be had out there)”
John Legend rewrote lines in "Baby, It's Cold Outside" that critics say encourage date rape.
His new version with Kelly Clarkson omits lines like "Say, what's in this drink?" and includes the lyric:
"It's your body and your choice." pic.twitter.com/GLXqCHJ37D
— AJ+ (@ajplus) October 29, 2019
John Legend’s new lyrics include:
“I really can’t stay (baby it’s cold outside)
I’ve got to 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)
What will my friends think (I think they should rejoice)
If I have one more drink? (It’s your body and your choice)”
According to The Daily Mail, Dean Martin’s daughter Deana says she is offended by Legends re-write, and she believes the new lyrics actually make the song more sexual.
“You do not change the lyrics to the song. He’s [Legend] made it more sexual with those words he’s said. It’s absolutely absurd,” said Martin. “I think what he’s done is he’s stealing the thunder from Frank Loesser’s song and my dad.”
Martin went on to say that Legend should write his own song if he doesn’t like Baby, It’s Cold Outside, but he shouldn’t change the lyrics because it’s a “classic, perfect song.” She believes that if her father were alive today, he would have laughed at the lyric change. Martin says that it was a fabulous song that many people have recorded, and her dad wouldn’t have cared about something like this because it’s too absurd.
Martin says her dad was a great guy, and Baby, It’s Cold Outside is such a fabulous song that Legend should have left it alone. She pointed out that the song is 60 years old and they’ve lost their minds, but she thanks the The Voice coach for bringing the song to the forefront again.
British singer Ruby Turner said on Good Morning Britain that the new lyrics are “perfectly alright” because they only tweaked a few lines. She explained that back when the song was written it was okay to say things like that. But, now things have changed and people have moved on.
American singer Sheila Ferguson sided with host Piers Morgan, saying that the song is a cutesy classic, and has nothing to do with the #MeToo movement. She said that there are so many other things they could have focused on, and she thought it was a gimmick.
“Why haven’t they rewritten rap lyrics?” asked Ferguson.
Neither John Legend nor Kelly Clarkson have commented about the lyric change. But, it should be pointed out that in the movie Neptune’s Daughter where the song originally came from, it starts with the woman trying to leave and the man asking her to stay. But then, it switches to a different scene where the man is trying to leave and the woman is asking him to stay.
Look at this in it's historical context. When this was written, it was a common style of courtship.
Even when a woman wanted to stay, she had to keep up the appearance of her innocence.
And, the movie that made it famous flipped the script as well. https://t.co/LZSx2mLuDe
— Jarrett Miller (@JarrettMiller12) November 4, 2019
Many believe it’s just a flirty song that was written at a time when it wasn’t appropriate for a single woman to stay late at a man’s house, and it has nothing to do with sexual assault or #MeToo.
John Legend’s Christmas album A Legendary Christmas will drop on November 8th. And, both Legend and Kelly Clarkson star on The Voice, which airs Monday and Tuesday nights on NBC.