Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

The classic winter tune “Baby Its Cold Outside” has been criticized by some for having lyrics they say equal sexual harassment, but the songs critics may not realize its background as a duet sung by a husband and wife.

Broadway songwriter Frank Loesser wrote “Baby Its Cold Outside” in 1944 to perform with his wife at their housewarming party in New York City. The tune was meant to be a gentle nudge for guests to realize “I really cant stay” and leave.

Their friends immediately loved the song.

“We became instant parlor room stars. We got invited to all the best parties for years on the basis of Baby. It was our ticket to caviar and truffles. Parties were built around our being the closing act,” Loessers wife Lynn Garland said, according to a 1993 biography of Loesser by his daughter Susan Loesser. (RELATED: Both Republicans And Democrats Love Baby Its Cold Outside: Poll)

Frank Loesser, who wrote lyrics and music for still-popular musicals like “Guys and Dolls” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” sold the song to MGM in 1948. Garland wasnt happy.

“I felt as betrayed as if Id caught him in bed with another woman,” she said.

Broadway songwriter Frank Loessers likeness appears on a postage stamp. Shutterstock image via user catwalker

Perhaps Garland changed her turn when “Baby Its Cold Outside” won the 1949 Academy Award for Best Original Song after being featured in the film “Neptunes Daughter” that year.

In “Neptunes Daughter,” two couples perform the song. In one version, its the man asking the woman to stay, and in the other, the roles are reversed.

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The song enjoyed breakout status in 1949 and was recorded by at least eight different sets of artists, including Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer, Homer and Jethro and June Carter and, of course, Frank Loesser and Garland. Although its makes no mention of Christmas or the holidays, it became a Christmas classic.

Stars have continued to put their own marks on the song. Sammy Davis Jr. and Carmen McRae recorded a version in 1957, followed by Davis fellow Rat Pack member Dean Martins recording in 1959.

More recent versions of the song include a 2016 duet by Amy Grant and Vince Gill and a 2017 duet by Fantasia and CeeLo Green.

However, some radio stations banned “Baby Its Cold Outside” in 2018, like Clevelands WDOK, which announced the decision on its website. (RELATED: Dean Martins Daughter Deana Defends Baby Its Cold Outside: Get Over It)

“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,” WDOKs Glenn Anderson wrote on Nov. 27. “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.”

But the songs defenders have come up with some creative ways to show their support.

A Kentucky radio station played a two-hour “Baby Its Cold Outside” marathon Sunday, alternating between five different versions of the tune.

Martins daughter Deana Martin defended the song on “Fox & Friends” Dec. 10.

“I was absolutely flabbergasted,” she said about the backlash the song has received. “Its just insane. When I heard it and I said, this cant possibly be. You know, its a sweet, flirty, fun, holiday song that, well, its been around for 50 years.”

The song is still popular among both men and women.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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