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Lady marmalade

The meaning of «lady marmalade»

"Lady Marmalade" is a song written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan. The song is famous for its sexually suggestive French chorus of "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?", which translates into English as "Do you want to sleep with me (tonight)?". The song first became a popular hit when it was recorded in 1974 by the American girl group Labelle. Labelle held the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week, and also topped the Canadian RPM national singles chart.

The song has had many cover versions over the years. In 1998, girl group All Saints released a cover of the song that peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart. The 2001 version by singers Christina Aguilera, Mýa, Pink and rapper Lil' Kim, recorded for the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack, was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks, and also a number-one hit in the UK. "Lady Marmalade" was the ninth song to reach number one by two different musical acts in America.[3]

The song was written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan, and was inspired by Crewe's experiences in New Orleans and the sex workers in the area.[citation needed] A demo of the song was first recorded by The Eleventh Hour, a disco group made up of studio musicians fronted by Nolan on vocals.[4] It was added in 1974 as a track on the Eleventh Hour's Greatest Hits LP which did not chart.[5][6] Crewe showed the song to Allen Toussaint in New Orleans, and Toussaint then decided to record the song with Labelle.[7]

Labelle's version of "Lady Marmalade" was produced by Allen Toussaint and Vicki Wickham. It was released in November 1974 from Nightbirds, their first album after signing with Epic Records.[8] Patti LaBelle sang lead vocals on "Lady Marmalade" with backing vocals being contributed by bandmates Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash. The song is best known for the explicit French lyric "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?" (English: "Would you like to sleep with me tonight?") in the refrain.[9] "Lady Marmalade" is a song about a prostitute, although Patti LaBelle, the lead female vocal of the band, was completely oblivious to its overall message, saying: "I didn't know what it was about. I don't know French and nobody, I swear this is God's truth, nobody at all told me what I'd just sung a song about."[10]

Steve Huey from AllMusic selected the song as one of the best tracks on Labelle's 1995 compilation Lady Marmalade: The Best of Patti and Labelle.[11] Critic Robert Christgau described it as "great synthetic French-quarter raunch."[12]

"Lady Marmalade" is billed as the song that made Labelle one of the "hottest girl groups" of the 1970s.[13] It 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.[14] Along with the track, "What Can I Do for You?", "Lady Marmalade" peaked at number seven on the disco/dance charts.[15] The single was also a major hit in the United Kingdom, where it charted at number seventeen . "Lady Marmalade" replaced another Crewe/Nolan composition, Frankie Valli's "My Eyes Adored You", as the Billboard Hot 100 number-one single. This feat made Crewe and Nolan the third songwriting team in Billboard history (after Lennon–McCartney and Holland–Dozier–Holland) to replace themselves at number-one.[3] Billboard ranked it as the No. 22 song for 1975.[16] Labelle performed "Lady Marmalade" on Soul Train on December 7, 1974.[17]

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