Christmas Music…Sort Of.

Again this year I listened to “Christmas music” on a local radio station from just before Thanksgiving until the day after Christmas.  Each year this station insists on playing some artists over and over and over again ad nauseum.  This year it was Dean Martin and, of course, Elvis.  One more round of Blue Christmas or Rudolph (Rudy) and I was ready to lose what was left of my Christmas spirit.  But there was one song I always look forward to because it’s kinda fun.  Unfortunately Dean Martin recorded that one too.

As I listened to this familiar song I was reminded how history can get lost, rewritten or repackaged in a way that creates a memory, picture or image that bears no resemblance to the original event or story. I am not saying that these alterations are intentionally malicious, bad, or demand that we rectify the situation immediately. I’m just saying that it happens regularly and we are usually unaware.

The  song I am referring to has always been associated with the Christmas holidays. I am not sure why except for the fact that I never heard it except at Christmas. Walking through a department store shopping for gifts, at a party, listening to Dolly Parton’s Christmas Album or watching the Andy Williams Christmas Special (which dates me as prehistoric) etc. etc.  So, in my mind, the history of this song was always associated with Christmas time, with cold weather, with snow, and people in love at Christmas time. That is what the song’s writer intended, right? That was the right historical framework for this song, right? It was written for the holidays, right?

The song I am referencing was written by Frank Loesser. Frank was a popular song writer and composer who is best known for writing Broadway musicals like Guys and Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. In the late 1940s he wrote a duet for he and his wife to sing at cocktail parties all over Hollywood and New York. His wife often commented that it kept them in caviar and truffles for years and she considered it “her song”. So, the song was written to sing at parties any time of year. It had nothing to do with Christmas or the holiday season or snow or cold weather, but it was about two people in love. Frank later sold that song and somehow over time it morphed into a song sung on Christmas albums and in holiday specials and associated with snow etc.

Have you guessed the song yet? Click and listen below, enjoy!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

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