We all know the iconic “Lady Marmalade” lyrics, and Patti LaBelle just revealed she didn’t know what they meant!
LaBelle, one of the most influential voices in the music business, captured the hearts of many during her career of 50-plus years, and she has no signs of slowing down.
On Monday, the Philadelphia native appeared on the Sherri show to celebrate Sherri Shephard’s birthday and chatted with the talk show host about her iconic career, new music and the 1974 hit “Lady Marmalade,” Atlanta Black Star reported.
LaBelle was part of a singing group alongside Nona Hendryx and the late Sarah Dash. The group had several names before they settled on “Labelle” and released their debut album in 1971. Three years later, they released the sultry French-inspired single “Lady Marmalade.” The song later peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
Since then, several artists have covered the song, including the 2001 remix with singers Christina Aguilera, Maya and Pink and rapper Lil’ Kim.
christina aguilera, mya, patti labelle, pink and lil' kim performing their winner song "lady marmalade" at the grammy awards, 2002 pic.twitter.com/NWscuVeWaR
— best of lil’ kim (@lilkimfiles) September 13, 2022
During the interview, Shephard announced it was the 50th anniversary of the song and asked the singer if she expected the single to be successful.
“For once, I can say yes, and really mean yes,” LaBelle said. “We were on our way to New Orleans with Allen Toussaint back in the day, before he passed. The first song that I said, once we got this Lady M song, I said, ‘We have to record this first because it’s a hit.'”
While the 78-year-old knew the song was destined for success, she was unaware of the meaning behind the racy lyrics.
“Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?” translates to “Do you want to sleep with me tonight?”
The musician also admitted she didn’t know French when she recorded the song.
“I had no clue it meant ‘Will you sleep with me tonight?” LaBelle said. “I didn’t know no French. I knew it was a hit!”
As the two laughed about the song’s lyrics, Shephard agreed the single is “still a hit” in musical history.
LaBelle also confirmed her upcoming tour in May and the release of her new R&B album for the first time in 15 years.