“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” may be shrouded in controversy, but the sudden push back into the headlines is reportedly helping to boost sales.
According to Nielsen Music and as reported by Billboard, three interpretations of the Christmas classic, penned by Frank Loesser in 1994, made their way to the Holiday Digital Song Sales chart dated Dec. 15, which is the most of any title.
Recorded in 1959, Dean Martin’s version is the chart's Greatest Gainer, having soared from its previously positioned No. 23 spot to claim the No. 2 spot for its highest rank in over seven years. Martin’s version reached 7,000 sold in the week ending on Dec. 6.
Idina Menzel’s 2014 version with Michael Bublé has also re-entered the chart at No. 29, and sold 2,000 copies. With similar numbers, Leon Redbone and Zooey Deschanel’s 2003 duet from the Elf soundtrack made the chart, with 2,000 copies sold, up 130 percent, and taking the No. 41 spot.
Various versions of the song are also making waves on the Holiday Streaming Songs chart. Martin’s version reached 8.2 million streams in the U.S. during the week ending Dec. 6, while Menzel and Bublé’s duet reached 4.8 million streams, and Brett Eldredge’s 2016 cover, featuring Meghan Trainor, hit 3.6 million streams.
As for radio airplay, versions of "Baby" both increased and decreased in the tracking week.
Renewed controversy surrounding the Christmas tune was sparked after Cleveland, Ohio radio station WDOK Christmas 102.1 announced that it had banned “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from playing as part of its 24-hour Christmas rotation. The move, due to listener complaints, was later addressed by radio host Glenn Anderson.
“I gotta be honest, I didn’t understand why the lyrics were so bad…Until I read them,” he wrote in a blog on the station’s website. “Now, I do realize that when the song was written in 1944, it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong. The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended, but in a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place.”0comments
Several other radio stations across the country also chose to ban the song from playing across their airwaves, though San Francisco’s KOIT radio station recently reinstated the song as part of its Christmas lineup following listener complaints.
Although the song’s lyrics, which include lines like “Say, what’s in this drink,” have been criticized for years, Loesser’s daughter, Susan Loesser, recently placed blame for the controversy on Bill Cosby, who was convicted of drugging and assaulting a former Temple University employee. She also urged people to look “at the song in the context of the time.”