Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Mambo No. 5

First recorded by Pérez Prado y su Orquesta (1949).
Also recorded by Radio Disney (1999).
Hit versions by Lou Bega (US #3/UK #1/CAN #1/AUS #1/GER #1/IRE #1 1999), Bob the Builder (UK #1/AUS #2/IRE #4 2001).

From the wiki: “‘Mambo No. 5’ is a mambo and jive dance song originally recorded and composed by Cuban Dámaso Pérez Prado – the ‘King of Mambo’ – in 1949. The song’s popularity was renewed in 199 by German artist Lou Bega’s sampling and vocal version of the original, released on Bega’s debut album A Little Bit of Mambo.

“Born in Cuba, Perez moved to Mexico in 1948 to form his own band and record for RCA Victor. He quickly specialized in mambos, an upbeat adaptation of the Cuban danzón. Perez’s mambos stood out among the competition, with their fiery brass riffs and strong saxophone counterpoints, and most of all, Perez’s trademark grunts. ‘Mambo Jambo’ was his first US hit single, in 1950, and Perez followed it with a sell-out US tour. In 1955, Perez released his only US #1 with a cha-cha cover arrangement of ‘Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White‘.

“Lou Bega’s cover was big hit in Australia, where it reached #1 in 1999 and stayed there for eight weeks, ultimately becoming the best-selling single of the year. ‘Mambo No. 5’ also topped almost every chart in continental Europe, including Bega’s home country, Germany, and set a record in France by staying at #1 for 20 weeks – longer than any stay at the top spot ever.

“A version of ‘Mambo No. 5’ was aired on Radio Disney (a radio network aimed at children), in which the women’s names were replaced with the names of legendary Disney characters, in order: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Pluto, Huey, Dewey, and Louie and Goofy. Additionally, references to a ‘liquor store’ were instead replaced with a ‘candy store’, and ‘ice cream” was used rather than ‘gin and juice’.

“Another ‘kids’ version of the song, by Bob the Builder, reached #1 in the UK, #2 in Australia and #4 in Ireland in 2001.

“‘Mambo No. 5’ was ranked 6th in a 2007 poll conducted by Rolling Stone to identify The 20 Most Annoying Songs. The 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 it with the Monica Lewinsky scandal.”

Lou Bega, “Mambo No. 5” (1999):

Radio Disney, “Mambo No. 5” (1999):

Bob the Builder, “Mambo No. 5” (2001):

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