Debate over John Legend's revised 'Baby It's Cold Outside' lyrics

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor

A debate has broken out on over the decision by John Legend to rewrite the lyrics to popular Christmas hit, ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’.

During today’s ‘Good Morning Britain’ show, the singer was criticised for his decision to change the lyrics to the song, in support of the #MeToo movement, for a new single recorded with Kelly Clarkson.

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In the new version, the lyric “So what’s in this drink?” has been changed to “If I have one more drink”.

Meanwhile the line, “No cabs to be had out there” is “It’s your body, and your choice” in Legend and Clarkson’s version.

'Baby It's Cold Outside' was first written and performed by Frank Loesser in 1944. [Photo: Getty]

Opponents of the song have claimed its original lyrics hold connotations of date rape and coercive behaviour.

But American singer Sheila Ferguson claimed “this song has nothing to do with the Me Too movement”, while Piers Morgan called Legend a “virtue signalling horror story”.

Viewers have weighed in on Twitter, with a number of people calling for the classic to be left alone and claiming there are many more offensive songs.

John Legend arrives at the 2019 LACMA Art and Film Gala at Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Others have called the offended parties “snowflakes” – a term used to describe people who are “too easily upset and offended”, according to the Cambridge Dictionary.

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Legend’s decision follows a controversy last year where a US radio station removed ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ from its Christmas playlist claiming the song’s lyrics are at odds with the #MeToo movement.

Glenn Anderson, a host at the Star 102 station, explained in a blog, now blocked for security reasons, that although the song was written in a different era, the lyrics felt “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,” he said at the time.

The mixed reception to ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’

Written by Frank Loesser in 1944, Baby It’s Cold Outside’ originally appeared in the film ‘Neptune’s Daughter’ and has been covered extensively over the years, including by Lady Gaga, Michael Bublé and Tom Jones.

The song, performed as a duo, is a back-and-forth conversation between a man attempting to dissuade a woman from leaving his house.

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It includes lines like “I really can’t stay” and “baby don’t hold out”, which many people regard as suggestive of coercive behaviour and blurs the lines of consent.

The line “say, what’s in this drink”, has drawn particular criticism from some who believe it hints that the woman’s drink has been spiked.

But many people don’t see anything wrong with the song arguing that in the context of the 1940s it’s merely a comment on society’s expectations of women at the time.