Michael Bublé has been described as the ultimate Christmas singer. The Canadian crooner makes no secret of the fact he’s been emotional about the festive season since he was a small child, when he listened to Bing Crosby’s White Christmas with his parents.
His earliest memory is hearing his parents playing White Christmas, over and over again, when he was five. Now 43, Bublé still goes misty-eyed on hearing the classic Christmas song, as it brings back memories of his happy childhood in British Columbia.
It also had a profound effect on his music career, as he has released many festive classics over the years. In fact, White Christmas was the reason he chose singing as a career. When he was 13, it was playing on the radio, so he began singing along. His parents thought he had a great voice and encouraged him to become a professional singer.
At 16, Bublé was playing live gigs in local clubs. His grandfather, Demetrio Santagà, a jazz fan, paid for him to have singing lessons when he was 18. For years, he sang in shopping malls, on talent shows, on cruise ships and at conventions.
Finally, David Foster, an award-winning producer, heard Bublé singing live and agreed to produce his debut album, titled Michael Bublé, in 2003. It was made up of cover versions, such as The Way You Look Tonight, You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine and Fever.
This was the start of his hugely successful career, as he has sold more than 75 million records to date. Not surprisingly, many of these have been Christmas songs.
He released a Christmas EP, Let It Snow, in 2003, the album, Christmas, in 2011 and his famous cover version of Frank Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside in 2014 on which he dueted with the American singer-songwriter, Idina Menzel.
Baby It’s Cold Outside is a “call and response” duet. This means it’s written for two people, who are having a conversation with each other. Such songs are usually written for a male and a female duet, although they can be sung by same-sex duos.
Other famous examples of the genre were Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off in 1937, Sonny and Cher’s I Got You Babe in 1965 and Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl’s Fairytale of New York in 1987.
Baby It’s Cold Outside was written in 1944 by Tony award-winning songwriter Loesser and his wife, Lynn, as a duet they would perform themselves at private parties. It was the norm at celebrity Hollywood parties for the host to entertain guests and this was the Loessers’ party piece.
The song has a simple theme, relating to the male vocalist having hosted a party. As the evening draws to a close, he tries to persuade his female guest to stay longer, telling her it’s too cold for her to venture outside to go home.
The song doesn’t mention Christmas anywhere, although it has come to be regarded as a festive song, because of its theme of a party on a cold winter’s evening. The song made its debut at the Loessers’ party at the Navarro Hotel in New York.
Although the song was about a man trying to persuade his guest to stay and party on for longer, ironically it was sung by the celebrity couple at the end of the night, to hint to guests that it was time to go home, rather than wanting them to stay!
The song wasn’t released to the public until five years after it was first written. In 1949, Loesser was asked to write the soundtrack for the MGM film, Neptune’s Daughter, starring Esther Williams. He included Baby It’s Cold Outside and it was a huge hit, winning an Academy Award.
It is one of the most-covered songs of the 20th century. As well as Bublé’s version, various artists have recorded the song, including Rat Pack crooner Dean Martin in 1953, Ray Charles in 1957, Willie Nelson in 2009 and a 2004 version with the rather unusual pairing of Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton.
In total, there have been more than 50 cover versions! The song has also been on the soundtrack of modern TV shows and films, such as Glee in 2010, the Muppets Holiday Spectacular in 2013 and Pitch Perfect 3 in 2015.
Earlier this year, rumours were rife that Bublé was retiring from singing because one of his children was ill. In an interview in October, he said the first he knew of his impending “retirement” was after he received texts from friends, asking him what was going on. He blamed the rumours on being “misquoted” in an interview.
After he learned of his “retirement”, he was quoted by Sky News as having said, “I’ll keep going until the news of my death comes out – which will probably be fake too!”
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