On This Day in Pink History… 27th March 2001, Lady Marmalade was released
In 2001, Lady Marmalade was featured as part of a medley in the film Moulin Rouge!. For the film’s soundtrack album, Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mýa, and Pink recorded a cover version; it was released as the soundtrack’s first single in spring 2001. Produced by Missy Elliott and writing partner Rockwilder, it features an intro and outro from Elliott. A lyric was changed from the original version, with the song’s setting being transferred from New Orleans to the Paris nightclub Moulin Rouge. The song became a number-one hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for the second time, reaching number one in its eighth week and spending five weeks at the top of the chart. It was the third song in Billboard chart history (after Aaliyah’s 2000 single Try Again and Shaggy’s 2001 single Angel) to hit number one without being released in a major commercially available single format. Lady Marmalade was Aguilera’s fourth US number-one single and first-time number-ones for Kim, Pink, and Mýa in the US. For Aguilera, the song would be her last number one until 2011’s Moves Like Jagger collaboration with Maroon 5. It would be Pink’s only number-one hit until 2008, when her single So What reached the top. It remained in the top forty for seventeen weeks in the US, and topped the charts in fifteen different countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia. The song also holds the record for the longest reigning no.1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 chart for an all female collaboration, topping the chart for nine consecutive weeks. Lady Marmalade is the best-selling single for Lil’ Kim and Mýa. Lil’ Kim also held the record for having the longest number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 for a female rapper, with Lady Marmalade being on the top of the charts for 5 consecutive weeks, until Australian female rapper Iggy Azalea’s Fancy held on to the number one position for 7 weeks in 2014. Lady Marmalade was the top selling song of 2001 and has sold 5.2 million copies worldwide as of December 2001.
Allmusic’s Brand Kohlenstein praised the song by highlighting it, adding that the ladies “teamed up for a surefire hit with their naughtier version of Patti Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade.”” Slant Magazine editor praised the collaboration, too: “the track is simply an accolade to the performers’ various distinctive styles, with Lil’ Kim trashing it up and Aguilera caterwauling her way through the second half of the song.”
The music video, directed by Paul Hunter, features all four performers in lingerie (rapper Missy Elliott makes a couple of small appearances.) and was filmed at the end of March 2001 on sets (Los Angeles) built to resemble the actual Moulin Rouge night club around the turn of the century (1890–1910). The video won the MTV Video Music Award for “Best Video of the Year” and “Best Video from a Film”; it was also nominated for “Best Dance Video”, “Best Pop Video”, “Best Choreography” (Tina Landon), and “Best Art Direction”. The song won a 2002 Grammy Award in the category of “Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals”.