As sung by Demi Lovato, this song appears on the soundtrack for the Disney computer-animated film, Frozen. The song is performed in the movie by Elsa (voiced by Broadway veteran Idina Menzel), when she leaves the kingdom of Arendelle and creates her own ice palace. The track was released alongside the pre-order of the soundtrack on iTunes on October 22, 2013.
"Kids don't want to stand out all the time, they want to fit in," Menzel said regarding this song. "It's about finding that thing that makes you different that's going to make you special and extraordinary."
The song was written and composed by the husband-and-wife songwriting team of multiple Tony Award-winning composer Robert Lopez (Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon) and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, both of whom had previously worked with Walt Disney Animation Studios on Winnie the Pooh.
This song sounds like it would fit in very well on the Broadway stage, which is Menzel's bailiwick. It's very dramatic and builds in intensity, especially in the second verse ("It's funny how some distance...") when more of the orchestra kicks in.
The song's chorus is especially dramatic, consisting of three distinct sections that find Elsa stepping brimming with confidence and inspired to leave the past behind:
"Let it go..."
"I don't care what they're going to say..."
"The cold never bothered me anyway."
This won for Best Song at the Oscars in the 2014 ceremony. The win meant that the song's co-writer Robert Lopez had gone EGOT, winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award.
Accepting the Oscar, Lopez' wife/co-writer Kristen underscored the song's message when she thanked their daughters (Katie and Annie, who both had roles in Frozen), saying, "This song is inspired by our love for you, and the hope that you never let fear or shame keep you from celebrating the unique people that you are."
When Idina Menzel performed this song at the Oscars, she was introduced by John Travolta, who announced her as "Adele Dazeem." His flub quickly became a topic on social media, with a Twitter account dedicated to it, and an "Adele Dazeem Name Generator
" cropping up to "Travoltify" any name.
Getting her name mangled at the Oscars ultimately was a positive for Menzel, since it garnered a lot of publicity and exposed her to a wider audience, but at the time she was not happy about it. She told Howard Stern: "Now it's amazing, but in that first eight seconds that I planned to be very zen and focused on this beautiful song to my son in front of Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep, I thought, 'don't screw me up right now, sir.'"
Idina Menzel's version rose into the Top 10 of The Hot 100 in the wake of her performance of the song during the Academy Awards. In doing so, Menzel made history by becoming the first person with both a Top 10 hit and a Tony Award for acting. (She won the 2004 Tony Award for best actress in a musical for her performance in Wicked).
Demi Lovato spoke out about the success of this tune. "I think the song is so appealing because the words are so uplifting," she said. "It's a really inspiring song too when you listen to it, it makes you wannabe yourself and be proud of who you are."
The former Disney star, who has had much-publicized battles with eating disorders and substance abuse added: "I feel uplifted and, at the same time, I remember what it's like to feel very insecure about who I am."
"But after I've grown and I've gone through some life experiences, I've become proud of who I am and so I can also feel the uplifting part of the song as well," she concluded. "I think it's the perfect song for me to be singing!"
Both Demi and Idina Menzel's versions entered the Billboard Hot 100 in the week after the release of Frozen.
This was the first hit single of Idina Menzel's career. She told Billboard magazine: "I worked my whole life to have a crossover song. Finally I turned 40, had a kid, and stopped giving a f--k, and all of a sudden I have this song that's in a Disney film."
When she listened to the demo of this song, Menzel thought, "S--t, this is going to be hard to sing." She explained in Entertainment Weekly that she knew it was going to be a big song, but had no idea how popular it would become.
Idina Menzel gave full credit to Robert and Kristen Lopez for the song's success. "Early on, the Elsa character was written as this very conventional nemesis in a Disney movie, this witchy character," she explained to Billboard. "The credit is with the Lopezes, who got this idea and wrote a song about her powers and embracing who she is and being comfortable with how to harness her power."
Robert Lopez told Billboard the story of the song: "Elsa's situation reminded me of the first time you fail a test as a straight-A student and everything goes out the window."
Kristen Anderson-Lopez added: "I took that further to reflect how women feel every day, that we're under so much scrutiny to be thin and perfect."
The song was covered by Lea Michele's character Rachel Berry in Glee. It was a match made in heaven as Idina Menzel plays Berry's absent mother on the show.
This added "Grammy Award winner" to it's resumé when it took the trophy for Best Song Written For Visual Media at the 2015 ceremony.
The song earned an entry in the 2016 Guinness World Records book for "Most Languages Featured on a Single." It was recorded in 42 different languages for Frozen's foreign releases.
Idina Menzel shared in a magazine interview how her young son boasted to his classmates that his mom sings the songs in Frozen. To this, another child replied, "So does everyone else's."
Chilean singer-songwriter and producer Jaime Ciero filed a lawsuit claiming "Let It Go" ripped off his 2008 song "Volar." He claimed that the two tracks share similarities in "note combinations, structures, hooks, melodies, lyrics, themes, production and textures." Ciero sued Idina Menzel, Demi Lovato and The Walt Disney Company among others and requested a share of profits from Frozen.
This was used in 2020 Super Bowl commercial for the Audi e-tron electric vehicle. In the spot, Maisie Williams hits a traffic tie-up, but enters a utopian driving landscape when she sings along to "Let It Go."