Yes Baby, It Really Is Cold Outside

Yes Baby, It Really Is Cold Outside

This past week included a bit of nation-wide controversy regarding
a great old song – Baby It’s Cold Outside – when a Cleveland, Ohio radio station (Star 102) decided to no longer play the popular song. The decision allegedly followed the complaints of some listeners who voiced their objection due to the “wrong message” the song conveys during the current #MeToo movement.

The hypocrisy of the Star 102 decision is plainly apparent, yet hardly surprising. If we stop to consider the past 50-60 years of raunchy lyrics in popular music, the complaint that’s given about a classic song such as Baby It’s Cold Outside is the type of faux outrage that has become the hallmark of those who seek to destroy every vestige of traditional American and Western culture.

I spent some time thinking and I did a bit of research. I am of course quite familiar with Baby It’s Cold Outside, a song, which I have heard during the Christmas season throughout my life. As I considered the issue, several thoughts came to mind. It seemed like just last year that Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett sang a few lines from Baby It’s Cold Outside on a popular Barnes & Noble television commercial.
I checked and – surprise – it was actually December 2015. I cannot recall any complaints about the rendition given by these talented and enormously popular artists. You can see and hear their version on YouTube if desired.

      Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga – Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage

Then my mind wandered back to my younger days and the popular music I grew up with. Yes I am about to date myself here, but if you know me, you realize that I am a product of the late sixties and the seventies when Rock music was at its peak. Consider the lyrics from a well-known pop music hit from back in the day…

Tonight’s The Night (Rod Stewart) 1976

Kick off your shoes and sit right down
Loosen off that pretty French gown
Let me pour you a good long drink
Oh baby don’t you hesitate ’cause

Tonight’s the night
It’s gonna be alright
Cause I love ya girl
Ain’t nobody gonna stop us now

C’mon angel, my heart’s on fire
Don’t deny your man’s desire
You’d be a fool to stop this tide
Spread your wings and let me come inside

Tonight’s the night
It’s gonna be alright
Cause I love ya girl
Ain’t nobody gonna stop us now

Don’t say a word my virgin child
Just let your inhibitions run wild
The secret is about to unfold
Upstairs before the night’s too old

Tonight’s the night
It’s gonna be alright
Cause I love ya girl
Ain’t nobody gonna stop us now

 Rod Stewart and actress Britt Eklund (hers was the female French voice
 at the end of Tonight’s the Night) Photo from

The meaning of the song is clear to any teen or adult, but there has been no complaint about Tonight’s The Night, a song that reached number 1 on the Billboard Top 100 in late 1976. And 42 years later, the song still receives occasional playtime on pop radio stations.

Others? Following is a brief list of blatant sexually explicit top tunes from the 60s and 70s. This list is hardly conclusive, but includes a small number that I was able to remember in a few moments. Look up the lyrics for any of the following popular songs. If you are well-along in your adult years, you know the words to many of these and in some cases, you could probably sing along…

Lay Lady Lay (Bob Dylan) 1969
Please Go All The Way (The Raspberries) 1972
You’ve Never Been This Far Before (Conway Twitty) 1973
Rock Your Baby (George McRae) 1974
O What a Night (The Four Seasons) 1975
Big Ten Inch Record (Aerosmith) 1975
Slow Ride (Foghat) 1975
Love To Love You Baby (Donna Summer) 1976

Whether the genre is Hard Rock, Pop, Disco, or even Country,
the 60s and 70s produced scores of popular songs that heavily promoted immorality, glorified the seduction of women, and encouraged sexual activity. Of course, should you be more familiar with music of the 80s, 90s, or later, there should be plenty of titles from which to choose. The play list could go on and on and on…

If we feel the need to criticize and complain about a nearly 75-year-old classic song like Baby It’s Cold Outside, then let us at least have the consistency and intellectual honesty to decry the general decline of morality that has been glorified in popular music across the range of genres during the last sixty years or more.

A great old song like Baby It’s Cold Outside should rightly be regarded as a timeless treasure and a wonderful, artistic piece of traditional Americana. So… Find a close member of the opposite
sex (preferably your spouse!) and sing it together…

© Jeffery J. Michaels / Plain English Publications 2018

(Quotations allowed with attribution to this blog)

Radio station stops playing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” after listeners voice concerns about lyrics in #MeToo era. CBS News online. By O’Kane, Caitlin. December 1, 2018.

2 thoughts on “Yes Baby, It Really Is Cold Outside”

  1. Hi Emylee:

    Thanks very much for your comment and you make a great point about the word ‘No.’ My question in response is this: Excluding my admittedly old 70s examples, aren’t millennials annoyed about music from more recent times? Rap for instance has a deserved reputation for the degradation of women, as well as the glorification of rape, along with mental and physical abuse. The lyrics in rap as a genre are much more lurid than tunes from the 40s… and arguably even the 70s. My point in this blog post was more about what I see as a double standard regarding lyrics over the past fifty years. Should we criticize a tune from the 40s, which is rather quaint by comparison, when there’s plenty to complain about concerning popular music produced in the past few (or even 50+) years? I am interested in your perspective on this as a millennial.

    Jeff M

  2. While I agree that lyrics in modern day music is sexually explicit, and this song seems harmless, but you are missing the big point. The entire song “Baby it’s Cold Outside” the man is not listening to the woman saying NO. He is singing over her giving her reasons to stay, while she says “the answer is no”. In modern music, no one is arguing about what the next set of events are. Unfortunately we live in a society that does not always listen to the word “no”, so are we suprised that this song makes millennials a bit annoyed?

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