December 12, 2018

'Baby It's Cold Outside' breaks previous records after playing on radio amid controversy

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The 1944 Christmas classic "Baby It's Cold Outside" was pulled from stations and then reinstated. Now it's on the top sales charts with record-breaking numbers. 

Frank Loesser's "Baby It's Cold Outside" has sparked debate about its lyrics for years now. Recently, amid the #MeToo movement, listeners influenced radio stations to pull the song from their airwaves.

Cleveland's WDOK was a primary force in starting the trend. In late November, the San Francisco station KOIT announced that they would also no longer be playing the song on the airwaves. 

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Stations across the nation and even in Canada followed suit. The story made far-reaching news that prompted both a strew of support and backlash from the public. 

On Monday, the station revealed that they had changed their mind following more feedback from listeners. It turned out to be a profitable move on their part. 


Billboard polls showed that three renditions of the song reached the top of the Holiday Digital Song Sales charts. This is the highest number of any Christmas hit. 

The 1959 version from Dean Martin also propelled to its highest ranking since it started topping the list in October 2011. The week ending December 6 saw 7,000 sales for the song.


Other versions of the song experienced increased sales and streams as radio stations continued to play them on the airwaves. Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé's version reached No. 29  on the charts and saw 2,000 copies sold. The same number was seen for Leon Redbone and Zooey Deschanel's 2003 "Elf" movie version. 

The Holiday Streaming Songs chart listed Dean Martin's version as acquiring 8.2 million streams for the week ended December 2. Menzel and Bublé's rendition featuring Meghan Trainor saw 3.6 million streams.


The results are reflective of what arose after careful listening by KOIT. Upon reinstating the classic, the station's Program Director Brian Figula said in a Monday statement: 

"After hearing from thousands of Bay Area listeners via polling, phone calls, emails and social media, KOIT has concluded that the vast majority consider the song to be a valuable part of their holiday tradition, and they still want to hear it on the radio."

The 96.5 station recalled that after some complaints, the song was placed "on hold while seeking further listening feedback."


It continued: 

“KOIT’s listeners have spoken, and the overwhelming message is they do want to hear Baby, It’s Cold Outside on our station, as they have throughout the years."

They gave statistics to give the public an idea of why they made their decision: 

"More than seven out of every ten listeners who responded said although some lyrics of the song may reflect a different era and a different sensibility than today, still they love the tradition and history of the song, and want to hear it as part of their holiday season.”


The lyrics that Figula is referring to include the lyrics going "what's in this drink?" as well as the man's persistence that she stay despite her opposition. 

Loesser's daughter Susan gave her input when the song was pulled. She blamed disgraced actor Bill Cosby for the move. 

"Bill Cosby ruined it for everybody. Way before #Me Too, I would hear from time to time people call it a date rape song. I would get annoyed because it’s a song my father wrote for him and my mother to sing at parties. But ever since Cosby was accused of drugging women, I hear the date rape thing all the time.”


The 74-year-old reflected the same sentiments of a Havard professor who asserted that the song's historical context makes a huge difference in understanding the song. 

She said that in the movie "Neptune's Daughter" which caused the song to skyrocket, the pursuit is a two-way street between the man and the woman who sing the duet. 

Furthermore, the woman is looking for an "excuse" when she questioned her drink. The women will be happy to see that the song is no longer off the airwaves and people that people will continue to enjoy the classic hit.