|Single by Labelle|
|from the album Nightbirds|
|B-side||"Space Children" (U.S.)
"It Took a Long Time" (Europe)
|Released||August 3, 1974|
|Recorded||1974 - Sea Saint Studios, New Orleans|
|Labelle singles chronology|
"Lady Marmalade" is a song written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan. It became a popular hit in 1975, recorded by the American girl group Labelle. 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)?" Labelle held the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week, and 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, Lil' Kim, Mýa, and Pink, recorded for the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. for 5 weeks.
- 1 Labelle version
- 2 Sabrina version
- 3 All Saints version
- 4 Moulin Rouge! version
- 5 Other versions
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Background and release
Labelle's version of "Lady Marmalade" was 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 Bob Crewe's first-hand observations of New Orleans. After it was first recorded by Kenny 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. Patti LaBelle sang lead vocals on "Lady Marmalade" with backing vocals being contributed by band mates Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash. The song's chorus, "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?", appeared previously in the play A Streetcar Named Desire, uttered by the promiscuous Blanche DuBois. Lyrically, "Lady Marmalade" is about a prostitute. Patti LaBelle, the lead female vocal of the band, expressed that, "I didn't know what it was about. Nobody, I swear this is God's truth, nobody told me what I'd just sung a song about."
Labelle performed "Lady Marmalade" on Soul Train on December 7, 1974. "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. 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. Billboard ranked it as the No. 22 song for 1975.
Labelle's version of "Lady Marmalade" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003. and was ranked number 479 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The Labelle version also appears in several films, including The Long Kiss Goodnight, Dick, and Jacob's Ladder. It was featured on the video game Karaoke Revolution Volume 2 as a version performed with Patti LaBelle.
Track listings and formats
- US 7" single
- "Lady Marmalade" – 3:14
- "Space Children" – 3:04
- Europe 7" single
- "Lady Marmalade" – 3:14
- "It Took a Long Time" – 4:04
|Austrian Singles Chart||17|
|Canadian RPM Singles Chart||1|
|Dutch Singles Chart||2|
|Italian Single Chart||5|
|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||7|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||1,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|"Voulez-Vous Coucher avec Moi? (Lady Marmalade)"|
|Single by Sabrina|
|from the album Sabrina|
|Format||CD maxi, 7" single, 12" single|
|Genre||Soul, Italo disco, funk|
|Writer(s)||Bob Crewe, Kenny Nolan|
|Sabrina singles chronology|
Background and release
"Lady Marmalade" was 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.
- 7" maxi
- "Lady Marmalade" – 3:55
- "Boys, Hot Girl, Sexy Girl" (7" megamix) – 4:10
- 12" maxi
- "Lady Marmalade" (12" remix) – 5:57
- "Boys, Hot Girl, Sexy Girl" (12" megamix) – 6:04
- CD maxi
- "Lady Marmalade" (12" remix) – 6:08
- "Boys, Hot Girl, Sexy Girl" (megamix) – 6:04
- "Lady Marmalade" – 3:55
- Remixed by Peter Vriends, produced by Claudio Cecchetto
|Belgian Flanders (Ultratop)||36|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||40|
All Saints version
|Single by All Saints|
|from the album All Saints|
|B-side||"No More Lies", "Get Bizzy"|
|Released||January 27, 1998|
|Genre||Dance-pop, disco, R&B|
|Producer(s)||Johnny Douglas, Timbaland|
|All Saints singles chronology|
Background and release
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.
British actress Kathryn Allerston appears in the music video.
- All Saints CD maxi single
- "Lady Marmalade" ('98 mix) – 4:02
- "Lady Marmalade" (Mark's Miami Madness mix) – 7:55
- "Lady Marmalade" (Sharp South Park vocal remix) – 8:09
- "Lady Marmalade" (Henry & Hayne's La Jam mix) – 6:47
- All Saints CD 1
- "Under the Bridge" – 5:03
- "Lady Marmalade" – 4:04
- "No More Lies" – 4:08
- "Lady Marmalade" (Henry & Haynes La Jam mix) – 9:23
- "Under the Bridge" (promo video) – 5:00
- All Saints CD 2
- "Lady Marmalade" (Mark!'s Miami Madness mix) – 7:56
- "Lady Marmalade" (Sharp South Park vocal remix) – 8:10
- "Under the Bridge" (Ignorance remix featuring Jean Paul e.s.q) – 4:55
- "Get Bizzy" – 3:45
Moulin Rouge! version
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", a 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 number one 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 seven 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." However, Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone called the cover "god-awful".
The music video, directed by Paul Hunter, features all four performers in lingerie (rapper Missy Elliott makes a couple of small appearances.) 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".