Gypsy Woman (Crystal Waters song)

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"Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)"
Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless) (Crystal Waters single - cover art).jpg
Single by Crystal Waters
from the album Surprise
A-side"Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless) Radio Mix" (US)
  • "Tell Me" (US)
  • "Good Lovin'" (UK)
ReleasedApril 3, 1991
GenreDeep house
  • 3:48 (Radio Mix)
  • 7:31 (Basement Boy(s) "Strip To The Bone" Mix)
Producer(s)The Basement Boys
Crystal Waters singles chronology
"Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)"
"Makin' Happy"
Music video
"Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" on YouTube

"Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" (also released as "Gypsy Woman (La da dee la da da)") is a song by American singer Crystal Waters from her debut album Surprise (1991). Written by Neal Conway, Waters and Nathaniel S. Hardy Jr., the song was released on April 3, 1991 as the lead single from Surprise. The song is famous for its "la da dee, la dee da" refrain and its often-sampled keyboard riff. The song is also widely regarded as one of the biggest classics of house music and has been remixed several times.

"Gypsy Woman" was a commercial success upon release, topping the charts in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland, and it also reached number one on the Eurochart Hot 100 as well as on the US and Canadian dance charts. It reached the top 10 in at least eight countries, including Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States, and it peaked at number 11 in Australia and France.

Background and release[edit]

Crystal Waters grew up in a very musical family. Her great aunt, Ethel Waters was a famous singer and actor in the 1940s. Waters' father was a jazz musician and her uncle was the lead saxophonist with MFSB. At age eleven she began writing poetry and took her writing seriously enough to be inducted into the American Poetry Society when she was 14, the youngest person ever to receive that honor.

After studying business and computer science at the university, she worked for the DC government, in the computer division, issuing arrest warrants. A workmate's cousin owned a recording studio and Waters found out that they needed backing singers. She went down, got the job and became a writer and backup singer. At a conference in Washington DC she met the house-music production team Basement Boys. They wanted her to write some house songs for them while keeping her jazz influences intact.[1] The first two songs she wrote were "Makin' Happy" and "Gypsy Woman".[2]

"Gypsy Woman" was written by Waters with Neal Conway and Nathaniel S. Hardy, Jr. and was originally written for the American singer Ultra Naté, but when Waters recorded a demo herself, the production company drew up a recording contract for her on the spot and never passed the song to its intended vocalist. The song is about a homeless woman who still wears make-up and thinks of herself as beautiful despite busking on a street corner. The song includes the chorus of "La da dee, la da da" and a much-sampled organ refrain. It was released as the first single from her 1991 debut album, Surprise.

Waters began working on the song after receiving beats from her producers she was supposed to write lyrics over. It was the song's heavy bass line that inspired her to riff "la da dee la da da" overtop of the rhythm, but she had trouble coming up with lyrics to match those short syllables. "I said to myself there must be someone singing it, and I thought of this woman ... she used to stand downtown on the corners, and she was dressed in all black," she told the Glitterbox Radio Show in 2017.[1]

In a 2016 interview Waters expanded on the story behind how she came up with the lyrics for the song:

Even though the sound was a huge dance hit, Crystal Waters wanted people to listen to the lyrics about homelessness. She actually was upset that they weren't listening to the lyrics. At her prompting, the record company put a label with the addition of "She's Homeless" on the cover.[3]

A year after its release, a new version turned up on the Red Hot Organization's Red Hot + Dance AIDS fundraiser disc (1992, distributed by Sony Music), gaining its remixer, Joey Negro his first real American exposure.

Critical reception[edit]

Billboard wrote about the song: "Inspired deep house dish has already begun to explode at club level, thanks to Waters' unique vocal and a hypnotic hook and groove crafted by hot production team the Basement Boys. Expect extensive radio action at several formats momentarily."[4]

Dave Sholin from the Gavin Report commented: "Exciting and totally fresh, this track broke out of the New York club scene and found its way onto HOT 97. APD/MD Kevin McCabe reports out of the fifty 12-inches he researches each week, it debuted at #3! Kevin says response is across-the-board with teens requesting it, as well as women 30+ who call in Middays, asking for the song that goes, "Dah dah dee dah dah dah." It charts at #16, getting eight plays a day. Also debuted at #29 on KMEL and POWER 106 with adds at WTIC/FM, WIOQ/FM, and Z100 New York. Do I love it? YEAH!"[5]

Music & Media wrote: "This single took exactly three weeks to hit no. 1 in the UK-a hit out of the blue. The "La Da Dee La Da Da" bit of this dance track is especially and undeniably catchy. Mainland Europe is next."[6]

Chart performance[edit]

It peaked at number eight on the US Billboard Hot 100 and at number two on the UK Singles Chart, and it went to number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. "Gypsy Woman" also earned Waters three American Music Award nominations.

When the song was descending the charts, it appeared on the benefit album Red Hot + Dance in a new incarnation mixed by Joey Negro, who took the song into a new musical direction.

Retitled "Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee)", the song was the highest-debuting single for a new act in the UK Singles Chart at that time – its debut at three was later eclipsed by Gabrielle's "Dreams" entering at two, then by Whigfield's "Saturday Night" debuting at number one.

A screenshot from the "Gypsy Woman" music video. It shows the "la da dee, la dee da" refrain written on an umbrella that is turning around, making the words spin with it.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Gypsy Woman" was directed by Mark Pellington.[7] It features Waters dressed in a black suit, singing against a white background.

Impact and legacy[edit]

Slant Magazine ranked the song 48th in its 100 Greatest Dance Songs list in 2006, adding:

And in 2011, The Guardian mentioned the song on their 'A history of modern music: Dance'.[9]


Year Publisher Country Accolade Rank
1999 The Village Voice United States "Top Singles Of The 90's"[2] 43
2006 Slant Magazine United States "100 Greatest Dance Songs" 48
2011 MTV Dance United Kingdom "The 100 Biggest 90's Dance Anthems of All Time"[10] 27
2011 The Guardian United Kingdom "A history of modern music: Dance" *
2013 Vibe United States "Before EDM: 30 Dance Tracks From The '90s That Changed The Game"[11] 14
2017 BuzzFeed United States "The 101 Greatest Dance Songs of the '90s"[12] 13
2018 Mixmag United Kingdom "The 30 best vocal house anthems ever"[13] *

(*) indicates the list is unordered.

Track listings[edit]

CD single

  1. "Gypsy Woman" (strip to the bone edit) — 3:42
  2. "Gypsy Woman" (hump instrumental mix) — 4:53

Slimcase international CD maxi

  1. "Gypsy Woman" (strip to the bone edit) — 3:53
  2. "Gypsy Woman" (basement boy strip to the bone mix) — 7:31
  3. "Gypsy Woman" (hump instrumental mix) — 4:50

CD maxi single

  1. "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" (Strip To The Bone Radio Edit) – 3:42
  2. "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" (Basement Boy "Strip To The Bone" Mix) – 7:26
  3. "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" (Red Bone Club Mix) – 7:08
  4. "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" (Hump Instrumental Mix) – 4:53
  5. "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" ("Give It Up" Vocal Mix) – 8:07
  6. "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" (Give It Up Bonus Beats) – 2:43
  7. "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" (Original Demo Mix) – 7:00
  8. "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" (Acapella) – 2:37

Charts and certifications[edit]

Cover versions, samples and remixes[edit]

The song's elements were used as the basis for 2 Eivissa's 1997 single "Oh La La La", which itself became an international hit.[45]

In 1998, producers Joey Malzone and Greg Padula issued a white label remix of the track. It was so well received, Mercury added it to the Best of Crystal Waters compilation CD.

Drum & bass producer DJ Ron sampled and remixed in the track called "La Da Dee" on the La Da Dee single in 2003.[46]

The song was sampled by Styles P in 2004 on the song "Favorite Drug" from his album Time is Money, and later by T.I. on his 2006 single "Why You Wanna". At the end of the song "Bums" by Mr. Hyde and Necro, there is a quick sample of Waters saying, "homeless... She's homeless."

In 2006, it was remixed by Sami Dee and Freddy Jones and re-released as "Gypsy Woman 2006 (La-Da-Dee)" on the record label Absolute Sound France. The 12-inch (30 cm) vinyl included two remixes, as well as the a cappella vocal. The Big Room Anthem remix was featured on the 2007 Ministry of Sound annual.

In 2007, Montefiori Cocktail released an instrumental version of "Gypsy Woman".

In summer 2008, Sam Sparro recorded a cover of the song in London with his touring band. He had been performing the song in his live show during his UK/European tour since the spring. He released the song as a B-side to his single "Pocket".

In January 2009, UK DJ Timmy Vegas released the song "Another Dimension" with Bad Lay-Dee which contains the organ sample of "Gypsy Woman", as well as a sample from Beastie Boys' "Intergalactic". The latter sample is routed through a vocoder-like instrument, which is also driven by chords of the "Gypsy Woman" organ sample.

In February 2011, Japanese singer YU-A released a cover of "Gypsy Woman" on her album 2 Girls.

"Walking" by Mary Mary on their album Something Big contains a sample of "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" by Crystal Waters.

"Crystal Caverns 1991", the first single from the album Galaxy Garden by British electronic musician Lone, samples the song.

Alexandra Burke sampled the song in her album track "Oh La La" taken from her second album Heartbreak On Hold.

MK1, a hip-hop duo, performed this song, along with "Pass Out" by Tinie Tempah, on week three of the ninth series of The X Factor.

Alicia Keys used big portions of "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" and renamed the track "Brand New Me (Part 2)" and released the track in January 2013.[47]

Swedish DJ Ted Nilsson's latest single "Homeless" feature the vocals of "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)". The song also features British DJs Cjay Swayne and Errol Reid. The song was released on the Spinnin' Deep imprint of Spinnin' Records. Two versions of the song were recorded: the "Day" mix and the "Nite" mix, both released on July 22, 2013.

In 2014, Vassy, Crazibiza, and Dave Aude teamed up to release a single called "Hustlin' ", which samples the song and chorus. Its accompanying music video features Vassy and Waters (who received co-writing credits), which pays homage to the "Gypsy Woman" music video. The single reached number one on Billboard's Dance Club Songs Chart in December 2014.[48]

In 2015, Dutch DJ/Producer duo Bougenvilla collaborated with Dutch singer/songwriter Jared Hiwat to create the single "Homeless", which uses the song's lyrics and samples its melody.

In 2015, Nick Brewer collaborated with Bibi Bourelly to create the song 'Talk To Me', which uses the song's melody after the chorus and samples part of the song.

In 2019, Teamzino & Dynamars made a new version of this song with the title 'Ladadi' record label Triangle Music had permission from Universal Music Publishing to release this track on June 28, 2019.

In 2018, English record producer Hubbard released a deep house remake featuring a new vocal from English singer/songwriter Siana Schofield.

In the media[edit]

In 1991, the song was spoofed in the sketch "My Songs Are Mindless" performed by Kim Wayans on In Living Color, where series regular Wayans portrayed Waters referencing TV shows. Wayans skewered the song's simple rhythm and melody by singing "Hey look, there's Fred and the Flintstones/I got a song now, that's a song now/Yabba dabba doo, yabba dabba doo/Yabba dabba doo, yabba dabba doo..."[citation needed]

The song is played in a fashion show at the end of the King of the Hill episode "Husky Bobby".[citation needed]

A cover version of "Gypsy Woman" appears in the video game Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party on the Wii.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Glitterbox Ibiza (2017-06-14), Glitterbox Radio Show 011: w/ Crystal Waters, retrieved 2017-08-29
  2. ^ a b "The Story of Crystal Waters' "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)"".
  3. ^ "Crystal Waters - Stockton welcomes a true music legend and "International Dance Diva"!".
  4. ^ "Billboard: NEW & NOTEWORTHY" (PDF). Billboard magazine (April 20, 1991, page 72). Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  5. ^ Sholin, Dave (April 19, 1991). "Gavin Picks > Singles" (PDF). Gavin Report. No. 1852. p. 56. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  6. ^ "Music & Media: New Releases" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  7. ^ "Mark Pellington director videography". Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  8. ^ "100 Greatest Dance Songs". Slant Magazine. January 30, 2006. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
  9. ^ "A history of modern music: Dance". The Guardian. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  10. ^ MTV Dance Tuesday 27.12.2011
  11. ^ "Before EDM: 30 Dance Tracks From The '90s That Changed The Game". Vibe. 8 October 2018.
  12. ^ Stopera, Matt; Galindo, Brian (11 March 2017). "The 101 Greatest Dance Songs of the '90s". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  13. ^ "The 30 best vocal house anthems ever". Mixmag. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  14. ^ " – Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee La Da Da)". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  15. ^ " – Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee La Da Da)" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  16. ^ " – Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee La Da Da)" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  17. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 1582." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  18. ^ "Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 1566." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  19. ^ "Top 10 Denmark" (PDF). Music & Media. August 17, 1991. p. 18. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  20. ^ "Eurochat Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. July 13, 1991. p. 29. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  21. ^ "Top 10 Finland" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  22. ^ " – Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee La Da Da)" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  23. ^ " – Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee La Da Da)". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  24. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Gypsy Woman". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  25. ^ Italian Singles Chart Hit parade Italia (Retrieved May 30, 2008)
  26. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 25, 1991" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  27. ^ " – Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee La Da Da)" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  28. ^ " – Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee La Da Da)". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  29. ^ "Top 10 Portugal" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  30. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  31. ^ " – Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee La Da Da)". Singles Top 100. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  32. ^ " – Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee La Da Da)". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  33. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  34. ^ a b c Billboard (Retrieved August 6, 2008)
  35. ^ "Jahreshitparade Singles 1991" (in German). Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  36. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1991" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  37. ^ "RPM Dance Tracks of 1991". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  38. ^ "Top 100 Singles – Jahrescharts 1991" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  39. ^ "Single top 100 over 1991" (pdf) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
  40. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1991" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  41. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1991" (in German). Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  42. ^ "1991 Top 100 Singles". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications. 11 January 1992. p. 20.
  43. ^ "British single certifications – Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee)". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved July 22, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee) in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  44. ^ "American single certifications – Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved July 22, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  45. ^ 2 Eivissa, "Oh La La La" from WhoSampled
  46. ^ DJ Ron – "La Da Dee / Flowetical", Vinyl, UK, discogs (Retrieved August 12, 2011)
  47. ^ [1] We Are Pop Slags (Retrieved 26 January 2013)
  48. ^ "Mr. Probz Rides 'Waves' to No. 1 on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs Chart" from Billboard (November 21, 2014)

External links[edit]