Voulez vous coucher avec moi, ce soir??!!
Ya’ll know the sound of that right? And in all probability you’ve had an insane number of personal karaoke sessions to this song, possibly in front of your bathroom mirror!
2001 has GOT to be my favorite year in music. Do y’all remember the kinda quality artists/vocalists topping the charts globally with real, REAL music? If not, firstly die. And after you die, DIE AGAIN. And then bow the fack down. Missy Elliott, Alicia Keys, Dido, Eve, Nelly Furtado, Mary J Blige, Usher, Enya, Destiny’s Child, Lifehouse, Jennifer Lopez, Matchbox Twenty, Kylie Minogue, Geri Halliwel, Train – the list of artists representing every possible genre dominating the Billboard Charts, the UK Top 40, the Eurochart Hot 100, the ARIA Charts was exhaustive. And while basic lessers were enjoying their share of the spotlight at # 1 with their new releases, one supreme diva upped the game and established herself as a bona-fide Icon. After a 20 year domination since her arrival in 1982, living legend Janet Jackson unleashed upon the world her 10th Billboard Hot 100 Chart topper and the longest running # 1 on 2001, the phenomenal ‘All For You‘ – a song which created history back then and refused to budge from the # 1 spot for 7 consecutive weeks after earning the honor of being the song with the most first week plays on radio – a record broken after a decade by Lady Gargoyle’s ‘Born This Way‘. Not even super-group Destiny’s Child’s new single ‘Survivor‘ could remove Janet from the penthouse. It took the combined effort of 4 flawless divas of Pop, R’n’B, Rap and Hip-Hop – along with a super-producer (all inspired by Mizz Jackson herself) to finally dethrone the Queen from # 1 after her relentless reign.
With Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott at the helm, Pop royalties Christina Aguilera and Pink, along with R’n’B songstress Mya and Hip-Hop/Rap’s Queen Bee Lil’ Kim recreated Labelle’s 1975 classic # 1 single ‘Lady Marmalade‘ for the OST of the Baz Luhrmann film ‘Moulin Rouge‘. The result? Global mass hysteria! Nobody could have predicted the magnanimity of the final product, and the diverse talents of each individual superstar blended in effortlessly to create one of the most provocative and extravagant hits of the decade!
Each individual vocalist, being relatively new, was a well established mega-star. Christina Aguilera already had 3 # 1 singles, a Grammy award and an 18 million-plus selling # 1 album to her credit. Mya had just achieved worldwide success with her Platinum-certified sophomore album ‘Fear Of Flying‘. Pink – fresh from the multi-Platinum success of her début ‘Can’t Take Me Home‘, was on the verge of releasing ‘Missundaztood‘ – her sophomore album that would eventually go on to sell 14 million units worldwide, her best selling album ever. Lil’ Kim was the game-changing undisputed Queen Bee of Rap with two multi-million selling albums under her Gucci belt. And Missy Elliott was, well – EVERYTHING.
What I loved about the song, apart from everything, was that each vocalist got ample screen and mic space to display their individual chutzpah – and they blended amazingly well in the flamboyant chorus of ‘Guichie Guichie Ya Ya Dada‘. Lil’ Kim’s Rap verses were nothing short of stupendous. A touch of playful trash – yet classier than any Rapper in the game. Christina and Pink’s pipes easily established them as two of the biggest names in the bizness, while Mya’s subtle R’n’B vocals gave the song a touch of Soul. Missy’s intro and outro – introducing each diva followed by them strutting their stuff and displaying some major swag – was THE ISH! The Paul Hunter-directed video left very little to the imagination, and the ladies vamped it up with some scanty clothes and super-human make up (Christina’s hair y’all – HER HAIR), shaking things up with some kick-arse choreography by the flawless Tina Landon. And OMG Lil’ Kim’s assets literally required a separate video for themselves y’all! They could have very well won a Grammy each for basically being the 5th and 6th un-credited members of the team.
Of course ‘Lady Marmalade‘ roared its way up every credible chart in the world, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks (without a physical single release and on the basis of airplay alone), the UK Top 40, the ARIA Charts among a gazillion others – eventually selling over an incredible 5.2 million singles in 2001 itself (without any single sales in the US). It was the first # 1 single for Mya, Pink and Lil’ Kim, and the 4th # 1 single for Aguilera. The song also notched up some major honors at every award show possible, including the prestigious 2002 Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals – the first Grammy for Mya, Pink and Lil’ Kim – and the second for Aguilera.
Truly a masterpiece! Check out the incredibly lustrous ‘Lady Marmalade‘ by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink right here :