Labelle

Lady Marmalade

Song Review by

"Lady Marmalade" boasts one of the great soul-funk grooves of all time, but it's more than just a groove, no matter how irresistible it may be. No, "Lady Marmalade," as written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan, is a full-fledged song, one that tells a story with great hooks, an indelible melody, and a rhythm so funky and elemental it seems like it's always been there. The quality of the song is proven by its resilience -- it's been covered many times, by man different kinds of artists, and it always sounds good. That's true of the O'Jays' faithful soul version or Herbie Mann's fusion reading; that's true of the gritty soul-blues covers of Willis "Gator" Jackson and Irma Thomas, or the sleek dance-pop of Brit-pop divas All Saints. In any incarnation, "Lady Marmalade" sounds good, but in the hands of Labelle, it was indisputably great. The vocal trio, led by Patti Labelle and featuring Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash, certainly have a lot to do with the record's success, since their unbridled soul has never sounded better than it does here. But the real reason that the record is so incendiary is producer Allen Toussaint, who made sure that the song had the loose, dirty, organic funk groove of New Orleans soul -- and probably had New Orleans superstars the Meters play it in the studio, as well. Even if it wasn't the Meters on the recording, the groove is every bit as good as anything they played, and it was the true signature of "Lady Marmalade," even more so than Labelle's vocals. After all, once the record begins with the deep, soulful bass and syncopated drums, you're completely pulled into the record and can't stop listening until it's finished. Of course, that's the reason why some may think that its success is based solely on performance, not writing, but the overall strength of the covers certainly suggests otherwise.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Nightbirds 1974 Epic 3:56
No Image 1976
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution
Rockin' Down the Block, Vol. 2 1987
Various Artists
Silver Eagle Records 3:59
No Image 1990
Various Artists
Razor & Tie
Soul Like Sister & Brother 1992
Various Artists
3:58
No Image 1992
Various Artists
Sandstone
Carlito's Way [Music from the Motion Picture] 1993
Original Soundtrack
Epic 3:55
Blame It on the Boogie 1994
Various Artists
3:55
Sex in the Seventies 1995
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:56
Lady Marmalade: The Best of Patti and Labelle 1995 Legacy / Epic 3:56
Night Moves, Vol. 3 1995
Various Artists
DCC Compact Classics 3:56
Class Reunion 1975: Greatest Hits of 1975 1995
Various Artists
Rebound Records 3:55
Funky Sounds of the Soul 70's 1995
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:55
Only Dance: 1975-1979 1995
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 3:20
Nightfever 1995
Various Artists
Global TV
Soul Train 25th Anniversary Hall of Fame Box Set 1995
Various Artists
MCA 3:19
No Image 1995
Various Artists
3:57
Everybody Dance Now 1996
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 3:55
Crescent City Soul: The Sound of New Orleans 1996
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution / Capitol 3:18
Dance Floor Divas: The 70s 1996
Various Artists
Rhino
Long Kiss Goodnight 1996
Original Soundtrack
MCA 3:56
Disco Mix 96 1996
Various Artists
WEA International
Strip Jointz: Hot Songs for Sexy Dancers 1996
Various Artists
Robbins Entertainment 3:56
Music Express 1996
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:59
Something Silver 1997 Warner Bros. 3:55
Club Verboten 1997
Various Artists
DCC Compact Classics 3:58
Best Girl Power Album Ever [2 Disc] 1997
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Great R&B Female Groups: The Hits of the 60's 1997
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:25
And They Danced the Night Away, Vol. 2 1997
Various Artists
Debutante 3:55
The Women of Soul  [1997] 1997
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 0:00
Rock 'N Roll Relix: 1974-1975 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 3:19
Rock 'N Roll Relix: 1970-1978 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 3:19
Disco: The Best Album in the World...Ever! 1997
Various Artists
Virgin
Greetings from New Orleans 1998
Various Artists
Beacon Records 0:00
The Great R&B Female Groups: The 70's 1998
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:55
Pure Funk 1998
Various Artists
Polygram 3:18
Number Ones: The Super 70's 1998
Various Artists
Simitar Distribution 3:59
Disco Fever: 20 Smash Hit Dancefloor Classics 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Tales of the City 1998
Original Soundtrack
Polygram 3:56
Rolling Stone Women in Rock 1998
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 3:18
Solid Gold Soul: Rhythm & Grooves 1998
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Time / Life Music 3:21
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Razor & Tie
Girls Night Out [Telstar TV] 1999
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records 3:53
Disco Mania, Vol. 3 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 3:55
Dick [Virgin] 1999
Original Soundtrack
Virgin 3:19
Intimate Portrait: Women with Soul 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 3:21
Pop Music: The Golden Era 1951-1975 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:19
Rock On, 1975: Midnight Blue 1999
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:58
Platinum R&B Party 2000
Various Artists
Legacy Rock Artifacts Series / Sony Music Distribution 3:54
Disco Freakout 2001
Various Artists
WEA International 3:33
Back to Black: 1900-1999 2001
Various Artists
Universal International 3:58
Blues & Soul, Vol. 4: 1974-1975 2001
Various Artists
Connoisseur 3:55
New Millennium Funk Party 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 3:19
70's Pop Hits 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:58
Can You Dig It? The '70s Soul Experience 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 3:23
All Music Guide: Super Soul Singles 2001
Various Artists
All Music Guide / Medalist Entertainment 3:57
The Ultimate Hits of the 70's 2001
Various Artists
Collectables 3:56
A Year in Your Life: 1975, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Definitive 3:57
I Love Disco [EMI] 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:53
Solid Gold Funk 2002
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:21
Jukebox Hits of the '70s [Collectables] 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 3:56
Great Ladies of Rock & Roll: The '70s 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 3:20
Friends Reunited: 42 Classroom Classics from the 80's 2003
Various Artists
Universal International 3:57
I Love 2 Party 2004 2004
Various Artists
Virgin 3:55
Disco Love Collection 2004
Various Artists
Koch 3:56
The Anthology 2004 Philadelphia International / EMI / The Right Stuff 0:00
New Orleans Party Classics [Time Life] 2005
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:22
And They Danced the Night Away: 72 Pure Disco Classics from the 70s & 80s 2006
Various Artists
Polygram 3:55
All #1 Hits '70s 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 3:18
#1 Super 70's Hits 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 3:21
Greatest Ever! Party: The Definitive Collection 2006
Various Artists
Union Square Music 3:57
Mastercuts Blaxploitation 2007
Various Artists
Mastercuts 0:00
Get Ready, Here Come the '70s 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 3:20
No. 1 Disco Album 2007
Various Artists
Music Club Deluxe 3:57
Semi-Pro 2008
Original Soundtrack
New Line Records 3:57
Daddy Cool [Sony/BMG] 2008
Various Artists
Sony BMG 3:56
Rock & Roll '70s 2009
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:21
Jackie: The Party Album 2010
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution 3:55
Ministry of Sound Anthems: Disco 2010
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 3:14
S.O.U.L. 2011 Sony Music 3:58
101 Soul Anthems 2011
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution / Source Interlink / Virgin 3:55
Pure... 70s Dance Party 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:56
Now! That's What I Call Disco 2013
Various Artists
Now! 3:18
Sweet Soul Music: 1975 2014
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 3:20
100 Hits: The Best Disco Album 2018
Various Artists
100 Hits 3:55
100 Hits: The Best Seventies Album
Various Artists
100 Hits / DMG 3:15
70's Songs
Various Artists
Crimson / Sony Music 3:14
Absolute Disco Classics
Various Artists
Eva
No Image
Various Artists
Razor & Tie
Mum Songs
Various Artists
Crimson 3:15
Semi-Pro: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Original Soundtrack
Watertower Music 3:58
Soul Hits of the 70s: Didn't It Blow Your Mind!, Vol. 14
Various Artists
Rhino 3:19
No Image
Various Artists
Allegro
The Best of School Disco.com: 10th Anniversary
Various Artists
EMI 3:55