Patti LaBelle Didn’t Know What Sexy ‘Lady Marmalade’ Lyrics Meant When Recording 1974 Hit
Patti LaBelle's song "Lady Marmalade," recorded with Nona Hendryx and the late Sarah Dash, became a global smash hit following its release in 1974, even topping the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975.
However, LaBelle, 78, admits she had no idea what the song's sexually charged French lyrics meant when she first recorded it.
"I had no clue. I didn’t know no French. I knew it was a hit ... Yeah, that’s what that song was all about. It was a hit," LaBelle told host Sherri Shepherd during an appearance on the latter's talk show Sherri April 24.
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The racy French lyrics — "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir? / Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?" — translate to "Do you want to sleep with me tonight?"
Though she didn't know what the lyrics meant at the time of recording, LaBelle was certain the song would be a smash hit.
"For once, I can say yes, and really mean yes. I said, 'We have to record this because it's a hit,' and it was," the Godmother of Soul explained.
The re-imagined single sat atop the Billboard Hot 100 for five consecutive weeks following its release.
Watch Xtina, Lil' Kim, Mya & Pink's "Lady Marmalade" Music Video:
LaBelle will embark on a tour in the U.S. beginning in May.
The music legend's forthcoming album features collaborations with Mariah Carey, Jazmine Sullivan and more. The record will mark LaBelle's first new album in 15 years.