"Lady Marmalade" is a song by the group Labelle. It was written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan, and produced by Allen Toussaint and Vicki Wickham. It was released on August 3, 1974 as the first single from the album Nightbirds. The song was inspired by Crewe's first-hand observations of New Orleans. After it was 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 for Nightbirds. The song is famous for its sexually suggestive chorus of "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?", which translates into English as "Do you want to sleep with me (tonight)?"
"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 BillboardTop Soul Singles chart. Along with the track, "What Can I Do for You?", "Lady Marmalade" peaked at number seven on the disco/dance charts. 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, a feat that made Crewe and Nolan the third songwriting team in Billboard history (after Lennon–McCartney and Holland-Dozier-Holland) to replace themselves at number-one. Also in 1975, Nanette Workman recorded a French version that became very popular in Canada (Quebec).
"Lady Marmalade" was covered by Italianpop 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.
In 1998, English girl group All Saints covered "Lady 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, only the "Lady Marmalade" 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 the chorus. A version remixed by Timbaland appeared on the Dr. Dolittle soundtrack.
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. 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 third song in Billboard chart history (after Aaliyah's 2000 single "Try Again" and Shaggy's 2001 single "Angel") to hit number one without being released in a major commercially available single format. "Lady Marmalade" was Aguilera's fourth US number-one single and first-time number-ones for Kim, Pink, and Mýa in the US. For Aguilera, the song would be her last number one until 2011's "Moves Like Jagger" collaboration with Maroon 5. It would be Pink's only number-one hit until 2008, when her single "So What" reached the top. It remained in the top forty for seventeen weeks in the US, and topped the charts in fifteen different countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia.The song also holds the record for the longest reigning no.1 on Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 chart for an all female collaboration, topping the chart for nine consecutive weeks."Lady Marmalade" is the best-selling single for Lil' Kim and Mýa. Lil' Kim also held the record for having the longest number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 for a female rapper, with "Lady Marmalade" being on the top of the charts for 5 consecutive weeks, until Australian female rapper Iggy Azalea's Fancy held on to the number one position for 7 weeks in 2014. The song was included on non-US versions of Aguilera's first greatest hits album, Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade of Hits. Lady Marmalade was the top selling song of 2001 and has sold 5.2 million copies worldwide as of December 2001.
Allmusic's Brand Kohlenstein praised the song by highlighting it, adding that the ladies "teamed up for a surefire hit with their naughtier version of Patti Labelle's "Lady Marmalade."" Slant Magazine editor praised the collaboration, too: "the track is simply an accolade to the performers' various distinctive styles, with Lil' Kim trashing it up and Aguilera caterwauling her way through the second half of the song."