A bit of a weather report today, and we focus on a classic call-and-response song by the great Broadway writer Frank Loesser in 1944. Simple, but beautifully rendered, it centres on a common scenario, one person (conventionally the woman) feels she should be getting home, but the man tries to persuade her to stay at the bar or party instead of heading out into the cold night. On the original score the these parts are marked as ‘mouse’ and ‘wolf’ respectively. Some versions, notably a mimed appearance by Lady Gaga and the actor James Gordon-Levitt on The Muppet Show, switched roles. The lyrics express a charming push-me-pull-you feel, all about looking for excuses to do the opposite, such as what her family will think:
My mother will start to worry (beautiful what's your hurry?)
My father will be pacing the floor (listen to the fireplace roar)
The song comes in a period where charm and wit were the currency, and it began life at a party where Loesser performed actually the song with his wife, Lynn Garland. He introduced himself as the seducer role, and as the “Evil of Two Loessers” to reverse a popular phrase, the lesser of two evils. Two recordings gained chart success in 1949, released on 17 and 18 March, pairing Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark, the perhaps the best, Margaret Whiting, a popular country singer, with the great songwriter and singer Johnny Mercer, featured below.
Many pairs of artists, the great and not so great, have recorded it since, often as a way to boost mutual sales, with mixed success, some better than others. They include, Lady Gaga again with Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan, Homer and Jethro with June Carter, Ray Charles and Betty Carter, Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews, Rod Stewart with Dolly Parton, Martina McBride in an overdubbed duet with Dean Martin, Willie Nelson with Norah Jones, Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé, and Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane with Sara Bareilles.
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