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"Lady Marmalade"
Single by Labelle
from the album Nightbirds
B-side "It Took a Long Time"
Released December 1974
Format 7" single
Recorded 1974
Genre Soul
Disco
Funk
Length 3:56
Label Epic
50048
Writer(s) Bob Crewe, Kenny Nolan
Producer Allen Toussaint, Vicki Wickham
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Labelle singles chronology
"Going on a Holiday"
(1973)
"Lady Marmalade"
(1974)
"What Can I Do for You"
(1974)

"Lady Marmalade" is a 1974 song made famous by the girl group Labelle. Produced by Allen Toussaint, "Lady Marmalade" became a number-one hit the next year. An early funk hit, the song is most famous for its sexually suggestive chorus of "voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?" The song held the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the United States for one week. Labelle's version of "Lady Marmalade" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003.[1]

"Lady Marmalade" was written by Bob Crewe (who co-wrote many of the hits recorded by The Four Seasons) and Kenny Nolan. The songwriting pair had previously collaborated on the hit Frankie Valli song "My Eyes Adored You". The song came about after Crewe made first-hand observations in New Orleans. First recorded by Nolan's group Eleventh Hour in 1974 on Eleventh Hour's Greatest Hits LP, Labelle's producer Allen Toussaint decided to record it as the main track for the album Nightbirds. The record was produced by Toussaint, with instrumental backing from The Meters.

The song has received many cover versions over the years, including a 2001 version by singers Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mýa, and Pink as a single for the Moulin Rouge! film's soundtrack. Missy Elliott produced the version, with instrumental help from beatsmith Rockwilder. The song was mixed by world renowned audio engineer Dave "Hard Drive" Pensado. Their version was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. for five weeks, from May 26 to June 30, 2001. The Moulin Rouge! version of "Lady Marmalade" was also a number-one hit in the United Kingdom and Australia, introducing the song to a new generation of music listeners, and brought the song's infamous catchphrase back into mainstream culture. The 2001 version won Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, Mya, and Pink each a grammy.

In 2004, LaBelle's original version of "Lady Marmalade" was ranked #479 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In the United Kingdom, the song has been sung on several talent shows, including The X Factor by Leona Lewis, and on Eurovision: Your Country Needs You by Jade Ewen, where in both instances, the lyric "voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?" was changed to "voulez-vous chanter avec moi (ce soir)?" (do you want to sing with me (tonight)?).

Contents

Labelle's original version

Recorded with lead singer Patti LaBelle and accompanied with backing from bandmates Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash, it tells the story of a Creole woman known only as "Lady Marmalade", who seduces a man she met on the street in New Orleans, Louisiana. Although the man has moved on from the experience, his memories of their tryst remain vivid when he tries to sleep. The song's chorus, "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?", means "Do you want to sleep with me (tonight)?" in French, an unsubtle invitation to sexual intercourse. The same line appeared previously in the play A Streetcar Named Desire, coming from the promiscuous Blanche DuBois.

"Lady Marmalade" was a number-one hit for one week on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the United States during the early spring of 1975, and charted at number-one for one week on the Billboard Top Soul Singles chart.[2] "Along with the track, What Can I Do For You?", "Lady Marmalade" peaked at number seven on the disco/dance charts.[3] The single also charted at number seventeen in the United Kingdom. "Lady Marmalade" replaced another Crewe/Nolan composition, Frankie Valli's "My Eyes Adored You", as the Billboard Hot 100 number-one single. This made Crewe and Nolan the third songwriting team in Billboard history (after Lennon-McCartney and Holland-Dozier-Holland) to replace themselves at number-one.[4]

The single's disco success inspired Labelle to adopted a more eclectic, Funkadelic-based image for their next album, Phoenix. However, the group never had another top forty hit after "Lady Marmalade", and broke up in 1976. Patti LaBelle went on to have a successful solo career on another CBS Records-owned label, Epic Records and later with Philadelphia International Records and MCA Records. Also in 1975, Nanette Workman recorded a French version that became very popular in Canada (Quebec).

The song was first covered by Sheila E. on her 1991 album Sex Cymbal in a jazz-oriented rendition, with horns as the centerpiece. In 1995 disco cover band Boogie Knights covered "Lady Marmalade", fronted by singer Jeff Scott Soto. In 1999, the song was covered by the techno act Lords Of Acid as a bonus track on their remix album Expand Your Head. The song is not part of the official track listing on the CD itself, however. Luck Mervil made a second French version of the song.

More recently, the track has featured in the TV series Angel, performed by actor Andy Hallett, and was released on the soundtrack in 2005.

The Labelle version appears in several films, including The Long Kiss Goodnight, Dick, and Jacob's Ladder. In March 2008, Comcast began to use the song and its "more, more, more" refrain to promote its "On Demand" service -- the ad also features the "voulez-vous" line as the ad ends.

Improbably, the lyrics of "Lady Marmalade" were sung to the tune of the Toreador Song from Carmen by Tim Brooke-Taylor on the radio comedy panel-game show, "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" as part of a round called "One Song to the Tune of Another".

It was featured on the video game Karaoke Revolution Volume 2 as a version performed with Patti LaBelle.

The song remains Patti LaBelle's signature hit song.

LaBelle track listing

  • Labelle 7" single #1
  1. "Voulez Vous Coucher Avec Moi Ce Soir? (Lady Marmalade)" – 3:14
  2. "It Took a Long Time" — 4:04
  • Labelle 7" single #2
  1. "Voulez Vous Coucher Avec Moi Ce Soir? (Lady Marmalade)" – 3:14
  2. "Space Children" — 3:04

Labelle Charts

Chart (1974/1975) Peak
position
Austrian Singles Chart 17
Italian Single Chart 5
Dutch Singles Chart 2
New Zealand RIANZ Chart 21
UK Singles Chart 17
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play 1
Preceded by
"My Eyes Adored You" by Frankie Valli
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
March 29, 1975
Succeeded by
"Lovin' You" by Minnie Riperton
Preceded by
"I Belong To You" by Love Unlimited
Billboard Hot Soul number-one single
February 22, 1975
Succeeded by
"Shame Shame Shame" by Shirley & Company

Sabrina cover

"Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi ? (Lady Marmalade)"
Single by Sabrina
from the album Sabrina
B-side "Megamix"
Released 1987
Format CD maxi, 7" single
12" single
Recorded 1987
Genre Soul
Disco
Funk
Length 3:56
Label Baby Records
Writer(s) Bob Crewe, Kenny Nolan
Sabrina singles chronology
"Sexy Girl"
(1986)
"Lady Marmalade"
(1987)
"Boys (Summertime Love)"
(1987)

"Lady Marmalade" was also covered by Italian pop star Sabrina. It was released in 1987 as the album's second single by Baby Records. In some countries, including France and the Netherlands, the song was known as "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi? (Lady Marmalade)" and was released in 1988.

Sabrina track listings

7" maxi[5]
  1. "Lady Marmalade" – 3:55
  2. "Boys, Hot Girl, Sexy Girl" (7" megamix) – 4:10
12" maxi[6]
  1. "Lady Marmalade" (12" remix) – 5:57
  2. "Boys, Hot Girl, Sexy Girl" (12" megamix) – 6:04
CD maxi[7]
  1. "Lady Marmalade" (12" remix) – 6:08
  2. "Boys, Hot Girl, Sexy Girl" (megamix) – 6:04
  3. "Lady Marmalade" – 3:55
  • Remixed by Peter Vriends
  • Produced by Claudio Cecchetto

Sabrina charts

Chart (1988) Peak
position
Dutch Mega Top 100[8] 40
French SNEP Singles Chart[8] 41

All Saints cover

"Lady Marmalade"
Single by All Saints
from the album All Saints
B-side "No More Lies", "Get Bizzy"
Released April 27, 1998
Format CD single
Recorded 1997
Genre Dance-pop
Disco
R&B
Length 4:04
Label London
Producer Johnny Douglas, Timbaland
All Saints singles chronology
"Never Ever"
(1997)
"Under the Bridge"/"Lady Marmalade"
(1998)
"Bootie Call"
(1998)
Audio sample
file info · help

In 1998, the English female pop group All Saints covered Marmalade as part of the double A-sided single "Under the Bridge"/"Lady Marmalade". The third single from their self-titled debut album, it contained the "Marmalade" cover and a cover of "Under the Bridge" by Red Hot Chili Peppers; it reached number one on the official UK Top 40, becoming their second number one hit. In Europe, a "Lady Marmalade" only single was released.

A total of 424,799 singles have been sold in the UK, with proceeds from the single going to breast cancer charities.

The All Saints' version contains different lyrics for its verses; the only lyrics retained from the original composition are those for the chorus.

A version remixed by Timbaland appeared on the Dr. Dolittle soundtrack.

All Saints track listings

  • All Saints CD maxi single
  1. "Lady Marmalade" (98 mix) - 4:02
  2. "Lady Marmalade" (Mark's Miami Madness mix) – 7:55
  3. "Lady Marmalade" (Sharp South Park vocal remix) – 8:09
  4. "Lady Marmalade" (Henry & Hayne's La Jam mix) – 6:47
  • All Saints CD 1
  1. "Under the Bridge"5.03
  2. "Lady Marmalade" 4.04
  3. "No More Lies" 4.08
  4. "Lady Marmalade" (Henry & Haynes La Jam mix) – 9:23
  5. "Under the Bridge" (promo video) 5.00
  • All Saints CD 2
  1. "Lady Marmalade" (Mark!'s Miami Madness mix) – 7:56
  2. "Lady Marmalade" (Sharp South Park vocal remix) – 8:10
  3. "Under the Bridge" (Ignorance remix featuring Jean Paul e.s.q) – 4:55
  4. "Get Bizzy" – 3:45

All Saints charts

Chart (1998) Peak
position
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 3
French Singles Chart 28
Swiss Singles Chart 45
UK Singles Chart 1
Preceded by
"All I Need" by Boyzone
"Turn Back Time" by Aqua
UK Singles Chart number-one single
May 3, 1998
May 17, 1998
Succeeded by
"Turn Back Time" by Aqua
"Feel It" by The Tamperer featuring Maya

Moulin Rouge! cover

"Lady Marmalade"
Single by Christina Aguilera, Pink, Lil' Kim & Mýa
from the album Moulin Rouge!: Soundtrack
Released March 27, 2001
Format 12" maxi single
Recorded January 2001
Genre Pop
R&B
Hip hop
Length 4:24
Label Interscope
Producer Rockwilder & Missy Elliott
Christina Aguilera chronology
"Falsas esperanzas
(2001)
"Lady Marmalade"
(2001)
"Dirrty"
(2002)
Lil' Kim chronology
"Hold On"
(2000)
"Lady Marmalade"
(2001)
"In the Air Tonite"
(2001)
Mýa chronology
"Free"
(2001)
"Lady Marmalade"
(2001)
"My Love Is Like...Wo"
(2003)
Pink chronology
"You Make Me Sick"
(2000)
"Lady Marmalade"
(2001)
"Get the Party Started"
(2001)

In 2001, "Lady Marmalade" was featured as part of a medley in the film Moulin Rouge!. For the film's soundtrack album, Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mýa, and Pink recorded a cover version; it was released as the soundtrack's first single in spring 2001 (see 2001 in music). Produced by Missy Elliott and writing partner Rockwilder, it features an intro and outro from Elliott. A lyric was changed from the original version, with the song's setting being transferred from New Orleans to the Paris nightclub Moulin Rouge.

The song became a number-one hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for the second time, reaching number one in its eighth week and spending five weeks at the top of the chart. It was the second song in Billboard chart history (after Aaliyah's 2000 single "Try Again") to hit number one without being released in a major commercially available single format such as a CD or CD maxi single. "Marmalade" was Aguilera's fourth U.S. number-one single and first time number-ones for Kim, Pink and Mya in the U.S. It remained in the U.S. top forty for seventeen weeks and topped the charts in fifteen different countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia. The single was the best selling single for all the artists except for Christina Aguilera and Pink.

The song was included on non-US versions of Christina Aguilera's first greatest hits album, Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade of Hits.

Moulin Rouge! music video

The music video, directed by Paul Hunter, features all four performers in lingerie and was filmed at the end of March 2001 on sets (Los Angeles) built to resemble the actual Moulin Rouge night club around the turn of the century (1890-1910). The video won the MTV Video Music Award for "Best Video of the Year" and "Best Video from a Film"; it was also nominated for "Best Dance Video", "Best Pop Video", "Best Choreography" (Tina Landon), and "Best Art Direction". The song won a 2002 Grammy Award in the category of "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals". It ranks #30 on MuchMusic's 100 Best Videos.

Moulin Rouge! track listing

CD1
  1. "Lady Marmalade" (Radio Edit) – 4:14
  2. "Lady Marmalade" (Thunderpuss Club Mix) – 9:35
  3. "Lady Marmalade" (Thunderpuss Mixshow Mix) – 6:21
  4. "Lady Marmalade" (Video) – 4:14
CD2 (Remixes)
  1. "Lady Marmalade" (Thunderpuss Radio Mix) – 4:09
  2. "Lady Marmalade" (ThunderDub) – 8:21
  3. "Lady Marmalade" (Thunderpuss Drums) – 3:42
  4. "Lady Marmalade" (Thunderpuss Tribe-A-Pella) – 7.42

Awards

Year Ceremony Award Result
2001 Teen Choice Awards Choice Song of the Summer Won
MTV Video Music Award Video of The Year Won
Best Video from a Film Won
Best Pop Video Nominated
Best Dance Video Nominated
Best Choreography in a Video Nominated
Best Art Direction in a Video Nominated
TMF Award Best Video of the Year Won
Radio Music Awards Song of the Year Won
MTV Europe Music Award Best Song Nominated
2002 ASCAP Pop Music Awards Best Video Won
Billboard Music Award Best Direction for a Video Won
MTV Asia Awards Favorite Video Nominated
BMI Awards Best Song Won
Channel [V] Thailand Music Video Awards Popular Duo/Group Video Won
Grammy Awards Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals Won
MTV Japan Video Music Award Best Video from a Film Won
MVPA Video Award Best Styling in a Video Won

Moulin Rouge! charts

Chart (2001)[9] Peak
position
Australian ARIA Singles Chart[10] 1
Australian Airplay Chart 1
Austrian Top 75 Singles 3
Belgian Top 50 Singles 2
Canadian Singles Chart[11] 17
Dutch Mega Top 100 Singles 2
French Top 100 Singles 12
Germany Top 100 Singles 1
Irish Top 50 Singles 1
Italian Top 50 Singles 6
New Zealand RIANZ Top 50 Singles 1
Norway Top 20 1
Spanish Top 40 1
Swedish Top 60 Singles 1
Swiss Top 100 Singles 1
UK Top 40 Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[11] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks[11] 43
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play[11] 3
End of year chart (2001) Peak
position
Weeks
on chart
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart[12] 20 17

End Of Decade positions

Chart (2000-2009) Position
UK Singles Chart 89[13]
Preceded by
"Me, Myself and I" by Scandal'us
Australian ARIA Singles Chart
number-one single

May 20, 2001 - June 3, 2001
Succeeded by
"Angel" by Shaggy & Rayvon
Preceded by
"All for You" by Janet Jackson
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
June 2, 2001 - June 30, 2001
Succeeded by
"U Remind Me" by Usher
Preceded by
"Walking Away" by Craig David
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart number-one single
June 10, 2001 - June 24, 2001
Succeeded by
"What Took You So Long?" by Emma Bunton
Preceded by
"Angel" by Shaggy featuring Rayvon
UK Singles Chart number-one single
June 24, 2001 - July 1, 2001
Succeeded by
"The Way to Your Love" by Hear'Say

Other covers

References

  1. ^ Grammy Hall of Fame
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 337. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 150. 
  4. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003, 5th ed.). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. New York: Billboard Books. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6
  5. ^ Discogs.com
  6. ^ Discogs.com
  7. ^ Discogs.com
  8. ^ a b "Voulez-vous couchez avec moi ce soir ? (Lady Marmalade)", in various singles charts Lescharts.com (Retrieved April 22, 2009)
  9. ^ Chart History Christina Aguilera
  10. ^ "Christina Aguilera, Mya, Lil' Kim, P!nk - Lady Marmalade (song)". australian-charts.com. http://australian-charts.com/showitem.asp?key=4774&cat=s. Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Christina Aguilera - Billboard Singles". Allmusic and Billboard.
  12. ^ http://www.rianz.org.nz/rianz/chart_annual.asp
  13. ^ Radio 1 Chart of the Decade, as presented by Nihal on Tuesday 29th December 2009







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