John Legend's 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' Redo Not Going Over Well

Legend changed the lyrics to make them less 'date-rapey,' not everyone is pleased
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2019 10:25 AM CST
John Legend's 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' Redo Not Going Over Well
This combination photo shows, at left, singer and talk show host Kelly Clarkson during a portrait session in Los Angeles to promote her animated film "UglyDolls" on April 14, 2019, and, at right, singer John Legend at the Vanity Fair Oscar party in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Feb. 24, 2019.   (AP Photo)

"Baby It's Cold Outside" has become a bit controversial in the #MeToo era, so when John Legend recorded the 1944 holiday classic for the upcoming deluxe edition of his Christmas album, he decided to change the lyrics. That decision isn't going over well with some big names. Vanity Fair reported last month that Legend and fellow The Voice coach Kelly Clarkson made the song less "date-rapey," singing lines like this in the new version:

  • Clarkson: "What will my friends think..." (original line: "The neighbors might think...")
  • Legend: "I think they should rejoice." (original line: "Baby, it's bad out there.")
  • Clarkson: "...if I have one more drink?" (original line: "Say, what's in this drink?")
  • Legend: "It's your body and your choice." (original line: "No cabs to be had out there.")
Legend also, at two points in the song, offers to call Clarkson a ride home rather than urging her to stay, and tones down a few other lyrics ("So glad that you dropped in" rather than "Been hoping that you'd drop in," and "Time spent with you is paradise" rather than "I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice"). But while VF says the changes feel "genuine, not performative" and that the song is still "every bit as fun and swinging as the original," not everyone agrees.

  • Dean Martin's daughter, Deana: Yahoo News notes that Martin's 1959 version of the song is "arguably its most famous," and Deana Martin went on Good Morning Britain Monday to call Legend's version "absolutely absurd." "He's stealing the thunder from Frank Loesser's song and from my dad," she said. "He should write his own song if he doesn't like this one, but don't change the lyrics. It's a classic, perfect song." She also argues Legend's changes actually make the song "more sexual."
  • Piers Morgan: During Martin's interview, the Good Morning Britain host said Legend's version of the song "trivializes" the #MeToo movement, and wondered why Legend doesn't instead rewrite lyrics to rap songs that are "far more incendiary ... and far more woman-hating."
  • Sharon Osbourne: On The Talk Monday, Osbourne said it's "ridiculous" to rewrite things like this. "It's, to me, like a master painting. ... It's a piece of art." And she echoed some of Deana Martin's concerns about the changes, too: "To change an innocent lyric, to what is it, 'Your mind and your body'? What the hell are you on?" she said. "Why do you do this? That's not right."
  • Laura Ingraham: "I think it is horribly unfair to new generations of Americans to deny them the ... opportunity to hear and take in a bygone time," the Fox News host said, blaming "PC culture" for the changes.
  • Twitter: Yahoo Style rounds up a number of outraged reactions from users of the social media site.Legend's A Legendary Christmas: The Deluxe Edition drops Friday, Fox News reports.
(More John Legend stories.)

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