Song of the Day #4,653: ‘Lady Marmalade’ – Labelle

Theme weeks like this one on the Library of Congress’ latest additions to the National Recording Registry always reveal holes in my musical education.

For example, I never knew the 2001 Moulin Rouge song ‘Lady Marmalade’ was a cover of a 1974 single by Labelle. And I didn’t know Patti LaBelle fronted a girl group called Labelle, a trio that started as Patte LaBelle and the Bluebelles before changing their name in the early 70s.

Patti, along with bandmates Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash, reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 with this disco soul track about a New Orleans prostitute.

LaBelle says she had no idea what the song was about, or that its French refrain (“Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?”) meant “Do you want to sleep with me tonight?”

[Intro]
Hey sister, go sister
Soul sister, go sister
Hey sister, go sister
Soul sister, go sister

[Verse 1]
He met Marmalade down in Old New Orleans
Strutting her stuff on the street
She said, “Hello, hey Joe
You wanna give it a go?” hmm hmm

[Chorus]
Gitchi gitchi ya ya da da
Gitchi gitchi ya ya here
Mocha chocolata, ya ya
Creole Lady Marmalade

[Post-Chorus]
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?

[Verse 2]
He stayed in her boudoir
While she freshened up
That boy drank all that Magnolia wine
On her black satin sheets
Where he started to freak

[Chorus]
Gitchi gitchi ya ya da da
Gitchi gitchi ya ya here
Mocha chocolata, ya ya
Creole Lady Marmalade

[Post-Chorus]
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?

[Verse 3]
Hey, hey, hey
Seeing her skin
Feeling silky smooth
Color of cafe au lait
Made the savage beast inside
Roaring until it cried
“More, more, more!”
Now he’s at home doing 9 to 5
Living his brave life of lies
But when he turns off to sleep
All memories keep more, more, more

[Chorus]
Gitchi gitchi ya ya da da da
Gitchi gitchi ya ya here
Mocha chocolata, ya ya
Creole Lady Marmalade

[Post-Chorus – Variation]
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?
Voulez-vous couchez avec moi ce soir?
Creole Lady Marmalade
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?
Voulez-vous couchez avec moi ce soir?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?

[Outro]
Gitchi gitchi ya ya da da
Gitchi gitchi ya ya here
Mocha chocolata, ya ya
Gitchi gitchi ya ya here

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,653: ‘Lady Marmalade’ – Labelle

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    This is where a five year age difference between us shows. I actually remember this song on the radio and my mother enjoying it during her Disco Queen phase (1975 to 1978).

  2. Amy says:

    What on earth did she think it was about?! 😜 certainly was a perfect choice for Moulin Rouge, though. As for Dana’s comment, I think his familiarity with it has less to do with the 5 year age difference and much more to do with his Disco Queen mom. 💗 While I knew most of the songs in the films were covers, I certainly wasn’t familiar with this original either.

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