“It’s Cold Outside” is a song by the American garage rockbandthe Choir, written by the Choir’s drummer, Dan Klawon, and first released on Canadian-American Records in September 1966. It is considered a classic of the musical genre of garage rock, and became the group’s only national hit. The song has since been featured on several compilation albums.
The Choir originally came to prominence in Cleveland under the moniker the Mods, covering a wide variety of material penned by British Invasion-based groups such as the Who, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles. As the house band for the Painesville Armory, the group appeared on several local television programs, emulating a pop sound inspired by the songs they covered. By 1966, the band members developed into capable songwriters, writing the originals “It’s Cold Outside” and “Going Home”. With their freshly-penned material in hand, the Mods traveled to Chicago to record. Around the same time, the band changed their name to the Choir because the Modernaires were recording under the name “the Mods.”
The song’s lyrics pertain to a dejected recounting of a failed love affair, though the vocal delivery is conducted in a sunny manner. Klawon explains “I used to write quite a bit then, and one day I was thinking of some sort of theme to use with the moon/spoon, boy/girl lyrics,” before deciding “to go with a weather analogy”. Also evident are the soothing vocal harmonies and fast-paced rhythm guitar instrumentals, both reminiscent of early Beatles and Who compositions. In addition to the British Invasion-influenced arrangements, “It’s Cold Outside” is also marked by Dave Burke’s raving bass playing and lead guitarist Wally Bryson’s jangling Byrds-esque technique. Music historian Richie Unterberger, writing for the Allmusic website, proposes the tune would have been better suited for “the innocent times of 1964 than for the complicated culture and music scene of 1967”.