LaBelle – Lady Marmalade

First Hit #1: March 29, 1975

Here’s an interesting fact, the same songwriters behind Lady Marmalade did yesterday’s hit, My Eyes Adored You. Except while My Eyes Adored You is completely forgettable, Lady Marmalade is definitely not. This isn’t some milquetoast soft rock, it’s an energetic and vibrant song that powers through even when the lyrics are gibberish, or French.

Part of the credit goes to LaBelle, who put in a signature performance that pretty much defines the song – so much so that the cover on the Moulin Rouge soundtrack was basically just some famous women doing impressions of the earlier artists rather than putting their own take on it. LaBelle pushes through the clutter, and puts a bit of force behind lyrics that are just a bunch of noises. The old saw about singing the phone book is true in this case, because if you can sing Lady Marmalade you probably could, just because it frequently discards words completely. When it does actually bring out the words, the singers sell the crap out of it, but of course they do, it’s much easier to sell words than it is to sell things that aren’t words, and they’re stuck with not words most of the time. It’s a fun and aggressive funk song, something that has stood the test of time. So at least we know these songwriters have got range.

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