S2-E18 Lady Marmalade

Patti Labelle

Pour ce 18e épisode, nous allons parler d’une chanson hyper connue, même si la plupart des gens ne connaissent ni son titre, ni l’artiste et encore moins la version originale! Quoique depuis la version de 2001, le nombre de personnes connaissant maintenant le titre doit être plus conséquent!

S2-E18 Lady Marmalade (Voulez-vous couchez avec moi ce soir ?)

You can find a summary in English below.

Pour la version du trio Labelle c’est par là
La version originale est ici
Le clip inspiré du film Moulin rouge est là

For my Friends who don’t speak French a summary in English. I hope it can help to follow what I say :

Lady Marmalade

For this 18th episode, we are going to talk about a very famous song, even if most people don’t know its title, nor the artist and even less the original version! Although since the 2001 version, the number of people now knowing the title must be more substantial:

Sample of  the Moulin Rouge cover

We just listened to a sample of « Lady Marmalade » from the soundtrack of the film Moulin Rouge. This R&B version is performed by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mýa and Pink. The 4 American singers obtained for this title a Grammy Award in the category « best pop collaboration » and the clip won the MTV Video Music Awards for « Best video of the year » and « Best video of a film ». The music video, inspired by the film, has 500 million views on Youtube!!! Apart from the music, I guess the fact that the singers are featured in lingerie is no stranger to such success. Anyway, the title reached 1st place in the Charts, as had been the case more than a quarter of a century before with the 1974 version.

Sample of  the original version ( LaBelle)

If everyone remembered the « Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir? », the real title of the song is « Lady Marmalade » performed by the female vocal trio LaBelle, composed of Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash.

The « Lady Marmalade » is a Creole prostitute from New Orleans hence the famous invitation in French in the text, which you will agree is still more glamorous than a « da ya wanna have sex with me tonight? « . That said, the text is rather sordid, the client drinking and taking drugs while bathing the Métis, before taking advantage of her charms. Of course, the Moulin Rouge film version transposes the song to early 20th century Montmartre. The track was written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan, originally for Nolan’s disco band « the Eleventh Hour »

Sample of the Eleventh hour’s version

Released a few months before LaBelle’s, the original version was unsuccessful. The website secondhandsongs[dot]com, which is fabulous for covers, calls it « first release, Obscure original ». 

Frankly, this first version is soporific, which is a shame for an invitation to sleep with Lady Marmalade!

After the separation of the LaBelle trio, Patti will begin a solo career which will not really take off until 1984 with the title « Stir it up » (nothing to do with the Bob Marley song) used again for a film:  Beverly Hills cop. Then, she won a Grammy Award in 1991 and sang in 1995 at halftime of the Superbowl final, which is really the consecration for a singer in the USA.

For the anecdote, note that the beautiful (funnier in French : La Belle means beautiful) Patti has always declared that she did not know what she was singing and did not understand French. In any case, thanks to her, the whole world knows 7 French words perfectly.

Before slipping LaBelle in your ears, see you soon for a new episode of Ils Ont Repris Ma Chanson.