‘I Didn’t Know No French…I Knew It Was a Hit’: Patti LaBelle Hilariously Admits She Had ‘No Clue’ When She Recorded ‘Lady Marmalade’ That the Song’s Lyrics Were So Suggestive  

Throughout her time in the music industry, singer Patti LaBelle has shared her voice with the world through various musical projects.

However, in a recent interview, the legendary Godmother of Soul revealed that she was not privy to the meaning of the lyrics in one of her most notable hits.

The Labelle singer recently appeared on Sherri Shepherd’s daytime talk show “Sherri” as a birthday gift to the host on Monday, April 24. While there, she discussed the upcoming anniversary of her and her group’s successful song “Lady Marmalade.” 

Patti LaBelle says she had ‘no clue’ what “Lady Marmalade” meant. (Pictured: ‘Sherri’/YouTube Screenshot)

LaBelle consists of Labelle, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash. Their sultry tune, which was a mix of English and French lyrics, was released in 1974. The following year, the song slowly climbed up to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and reigned supreme for one week. 

Related: Patti LaBelle Shuts Down ‘OG Diva’ Title, See Why

Since the song’s release, “Lady Marmalade” has been covered by several artists, including, collectively, in 2001 by artists Pink, Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, and Mýa. 

During the conversation, Shepherd asked LaBelle if she expected the song to sustain its impact and longevity within the industry. To no surprise, LaBelle said her keen eye for music helped her believe in the song’s success.

“For once I can say yes, and really mean yes,” she shared. “We were on our way to New Orleans with Allen Toussaint, back in the day, uhh 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 always knew about the song’s ability to reach heights, she didn’t know the real meaning behind the French lyrics, “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?” which, according to frenchlearner.com translates to, “Do you want to sleep with me tonight?”

“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!”

Shepherd seconded LaBelle’s statement, adding that the timeless classic is “still a hit.”

The Grammy Award-winning songstress is also currently preparing for her upcoming tour, which kicks off in May, five months after she was escorted off stage due to a bomb threat at her Christmas concert in Milwaukee.

Though Labelle has been in the industry for over six decades, it doesn’t look like this icon is slowing down anytime soon.

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