Mambo No. 5

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"Mambo No. 5"
Song by Pérez Prado
Released1950
Recorded1949
GenreMambo, jive dance
Length3:42[citation needed]
Songwriter(s)Dámaso Pérez Prado

"Mambo No. 5" is an instrumental mambo and jazz dance song originally composed and recorded by Cuban musician Dámaso Pérez Prado in 1949 and released the next year.[1]

The song was used in German musician Lou Bega's sampling of the last 30 seconds of the original, released under the same name on Bega's 1999 debut album A Little Bit of Mambo.[2]

Lou Bega version[edit]

"Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit of...)"
Mambo No. 5.jpg
Single by Lou Bega
from the album A Little Bit of Mambo
Released19 April 1999 (1999-04-19)
GenreLatin pop[3]
Length
  • 5:14 (extended version)
  • 3:39 (radio edit)
Label
Songwriter(s)
  • Lou Bega
  • Dámaso Pérez Prado
  • Zippy Davids
Producer(s)
Lou Bega singles chronology
"Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit of...)"
(1999)
"I Got a Girl"
(1999)

Lou Bega recorded a cover of the song and released it in April 1999 as the first single from his debut album, A Little Bit of Mambo (1999). His version became a summer hit during 1999 in most of Europe.[4] Later that year, it experienced success in the United Kingdom, North America, and Oceania. In France, it set a record by staying at number one for 20 weeks.[5] The song reached number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 on 2 November 1999, giving Bega his only top-40 hit in the United States.[6]

Legal controversy[edit]

The song became the subject of a seven-year copyright trial between Prado's estate, Peermusic, and Bega's producers. Bega had only used riffs (which by German law cannot be registered for copyright) from Prado's original and written the entire lyrics, so Bega's producers went to court in order to gain access to all the song's proceedings from Peermusic representing Prado's estate. However, after seven years the Federal Court of Justice of Germany ruled in favor of Peermusic and Prado's estate in 2008, based upon the fact that Bega's producers had sought a royalty agreement with Peermusic prior to releasing the song. Because of Bega's significant contributions to his version, the court's final ruling declared it a new song co-written by Prado and Bega.[7]

Music video[edit]

The music video, directed by Jorn Heitmann, features Lou Bega singing and dancing with flappers. An alternate music video aired on Disney Channel, featuring clips from various Disney films and television series, with newly recorded lyrics by Bega dealing with the featured characters.

Track listings[edit]

CD single

  1. "Mambo No. 5" (Radio Edit) – 3:39
  2. "Mambo No. 5" (Extended Mix) – 5:14
  3. "Mambo No. 5" (Enhanced CD-ROM Video) – 3:42

Maxi single

  1. "Mambo No. 5" (Radio Edit) – 3:39
  2. "Mambo No. 5" (Extended Mix) – 5:14
  3. "Mambo" (Havanna Club Mix) – 5:48
  4. "Mambo" (The Trumpet) – 6:01

7-inch 45 rpm single

  1. "Mambo No. 5" (Radio Edit) – 3:39
  2. "Beauty on the TV Screen" – 4:03[8]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[64] 4× Platinum 280,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[65] 2× Platinum 100,000*
Belgium (BEA)[66] 3× Platinum 150,000*
France (SNEP)[68] Diamond 1,532,000[67]
Germany (BVMI)[69] 3× Platinum 1,500,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[71] Gold 75,000[70]
Netherlands (NVPI)[72] Platinum 75,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[73] 3× Platinum 30,000*
Sweden (GLF)[74] 3× Platinum 90,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[75] 2× Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[77] 2× Platinum 1,029,722[76]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
Germany 19 April 1999 (1999-04-19) CD Ariola [21]
United Kingdom 23 August 1999 (1999-08-23)
  • CD
  • cassette
RCA [78]

Bob the Builder version[edit]

"Mambo No. 5"
BobtheBuilderMamboNo5.jpg
Single by Bob the Builder
from the album Bob the Builder: The Album
Released3 September 2001
Length3:14
Label
Songwriter(s)Paul K. Joyce
Producer(s)Grant Mitchell
Bob the Builder singles chronology
"Can We Fix It?"
(2000)
"Mambo No. 5"
(2001)
"Big Fish Little Fish"
(2008)

In 2001, BBC Records released a novelty version of the song sung by British actor Neil Morrissey, who provided the voice of Bob for children's television show Bob the Builder. It also features background vocals from Rob Rackstraw and Kate Harbour, who voiced several other characters on the show.[79] This cover made radical changes to the lyrics to fit the theme of the show, making numerous references to construction, repairs and roadway maintenance, as well as the show's characters. The female names from Bega's version are also replaced with types of construction supplies and building tasks (e.g. timber, saw, waterproofing, tiling).

Chart performance[edit]

On 9 September 2001, the song debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart,[80] becoming Bob the Builder's second number-one single on the listing after "Can We Fix It?".[80] In doing so, Bob became the first novelty act to top the UK chart with more than one single.[81] Following the 11 September attacks, the song was banned from UK radio[vague] due to its lyrics about building renovation.[82] It earned a Gold certification from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 12 October 2001 for shipping over 400,000 units.[83] At the end of 2001, it was ranked as the UK's 17th-best-selling single.[84]

In Ireland, the song first appeared on the Irish Singles Chart at number 13 on 13 September and peaked at number four the following week,[85] staying there for three weeks in total. It remained in the top 50 for the next 10 weeks. At the end of the year, the song came in at number 42 on Ireland's year-end chart.[86]

"Mambo No. 5" debuted at number three on the Australian Singles Chart on 4 November 2001 and reached number two on 18 November,[87] held off the top spot by Alien Ant Farm's cover of "Smooth Criminal".[88] After staying at number two for another week, the song began to descend the chart, spending nine more weeks in the top 50.[87] It was Australia's 26th-most-successful hit of the year[89] and shipped over 70,000 copies, allowing it to receive a Platinum certification from ARIA.[90]

Track listing[edit]

Enhanced CD single and maxi-single[79][91]

  1. "Mambo No. 5"
  2. "Super Spud" (Spud's Dub)
  3. "Mambo No. 5" (karaoke music)
  4. "Mambo No. 5" (video CD ROM)

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[90] Platinum 70,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[83] Gold 400,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Ome Henk parody[edit]

In 1999, Dutch TV character Ome Henk took a parody of the song called "Mambo Nr 6" to number 17 on the Dutch Top 40.[94] The lyrics referred to the medicine prescribed to him, which causes hallucinations of the girls he mentions in the song. A parody of commercials for the fictional product is also heard.

Legacy[edit]

  • The original recording by Pérez Prado was inducted into the Latin Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001.[95]
  • This song was initially selected as the theme song of the 2000 Democratic National Convention, but this plan was scrapped due to the possibility of people associating the song with Monica Lewinsky, who had a central role in the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal, with the chorus, "A little bit of Monica in my life".[96][97]
  • The Lou Bega version has become an unofficial anthem for the England cricket team after it was used by UK broadcaster Channel 4 as the theme for their live coverage of England Test matches between 1999 and 2005, becoming particularly famous during the 2005 Ashes series (when England won the trophy for the first time in 18 years), and is still played today by the England cricket fans' 'Barmy Army'. In February 2021, Channel 4 won the UK TV broadcast rights to England's tour of India,[98] and after 16 years Mambo No. 5 returned to the airwaves as the theme music for Channel 4's live Test coverage and highlights.

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External links[edit]