Yesterday Entertainment Weekly broke the news that Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams have recorded yet another version of Baby, It’s Cold Outside. I couldn’t be more happy about this! Not only is it a great song, but these two could sing anything together and it would sound fantastic, as evidence by this gem.
Many people got tired of the growling and the scatting from each of them, but when every other performance on American Idol is a beauty queen or Adam Lambert wannabe, I’ll take the growling any day.
But I digress.
Even though this isn’t a Christmas song (they just talk about the weather, you guys. There’s no mention of baby Jesus at all), it gets played repeatedly on all the adult contemporary All Christmas All The Time stations in December. Some people get tired of it, but it’s my go-to jam when the weather is dark and cold and what other people would deem “yucky”. I love it!
So, I got to thinking; what are the best versions of this song? There’s a ton out there and I probably haven’t heard half of them, but I’m going to share my top 3 favorite versions now! You’re welcome.
3. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan
Here’s a pretty classic version of this song that would be good playing in the background of any Christmas party. There’s not much pizazz to this version, Ella and Louis know how to sing it like pros.
2. Ray Charles and Betty Carter
If you want a sexy, jazzy version of this song then look no further! This version actually took a little while to grow on me, but on repeat listens you hear how smooth and effortlessly they sing together. Pair the downplayed vocals with the ramped up horns and it’s pretty hard not to love.
1. Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting
You absolutely can’t go wrong with this version of Baby, It’s Cold Outside. What I like so much about this one is how animated they are when singing. They aren’t just singing the words, they’re acting them out vocally so that you can picture them bickering at each other during each line of the song. It really is pretty brilliant. The best part is Margaret’s gasp in the middle of the line “I’ll take your hat (gasp) your hair looks swell.” Love it. It’s also kind of hard to find a version where both male and female vocals are bearable. Sometimes the male outshines the female or vise-verse, but I can’t find anything to complain about with Johnny and Margaret. It’s perfect.
I’m going to go ahead and give an Honorable Mention to She & Him. Their version on their new Christmas album released just last week is the first version I’ve ever heard where they switched roles. M. Ward sings the traditionally female part and Zooey Deschanel sings the male part and it works. To me it sounds a bit frantic and rushed and I’m not a huge fan of the echo effect on Zooey’s voice, but it’s different and I like it. Well played, She & Him!
Because I like you guys so much, here is a playlist of 10 versions, including my 3 favorite, of Baby, It’s Cold Outside to get you all in the cold weather spirit. So, fix yourself half a cocktail and light up a cigarette because it’s going to be a cold one!
What are your favorite versions? Did I miss one that I need to know about?
(Be sure to click on the EW link above to hear a sample of Haley and Casey’s duet. But be quick! It’s only available for 24 hours, but the official download will be available November 21)