414. ‘Yes Sir, I Can Boogie’, by Baccara

Our next #1 intros with some very heavy breathing. Things haven’t sounded this steamy since Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin supposedly did the actual dirty in the recording studio. Add in the chucka-chucka guitars and a thudding bass, and we’ve got a bit of a blue movie vibe…

Yes Sir, I Can Boogie, by Baccara (their 1st and only #1)

1 week, from 23rd – 30th October 1977

Mister, Your eyes are full of hesitation… You’re left in no doubt as to the nationality of this duo, the second the vocals start. Which makes me wonder, If you know what you’re looking for… You wonder if they were playing up their Spanish-ness, for the novelty value… Is it I can boogie-boogie? Or boogie-woogie? Or should we stick with what it sounds like: boogie-voogie?

The obvious comparison to make is with ABBA: two female singers, from Europe, with slightly idiosyncratic pronunciation. Except, Agnetha and Frida never came out with a line like: You try me once, You’ll beg for more…! Pure smut! Outrageous. I love it. They can boogie, but only with a certain song… All night long…

It’s already a great disco tune, but the second verse elevates it to genius level. Baccara break the fourth wall: Yes sir, Already told you in the first verse, And in the chorus, But I will give you one more chance… This is pure tongue-in-cheek, camp brilliance, and it goes on from here, all strings, scuzzy disco riff, and heavy breathing, to its conclusion. You do wonder if this marks a line in the sand for disco, though. It’ll be disco with a capital D.I.S.C.O for the rest of the seventies… Boney M, Bee Gees, Village People, ‘I Will Survive’… Did Baccara perhaps free the genre from any lingering attempts to be cool?

Then again, ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ was three years ago, right at the dawn of disco. Whatever. I am here for disco’s descent. I’m no snob! And what better way to begin the descent than with this tune, that may or may not be sung from the point of view of a prostitute. (Not to suggest that María Mendiola and Mayte Mateos – the two members of Baccara – were anything of the sort!) ‘Yes Sir…’ was their debut hit, a smash across Europe and, apparently, the best-selling single ever by a female group, with worldwide sales of over 18 million! When I discovered that their #8 follow up was called ‘Sorry, I’m a Lady’ I rushed to check it out. (If you thought ‘Yes Sir…’ was camp froth then brace yourself! Sample lyric: Sorry I’m a lady, I would rather be, Just a little shady…)

And then that was it as far as the UK charts were concerned. They went their separate ways in the ‘80s, but both ladies continue to perform under the ‘Baccara’ name. Although it is appropriate that I’m posting this on Eurovision weekend, as the duo represented Luxembourg in 1978 with ‘Parlez-vous Francais?’, finishing 7th.

As a postscript, ‘Yes Sir, I Can Boogie’ returned to the charts at the end of last year following the Scotland national team’s qualification for a first major tournament in twenty-three years!! (Sorry, excited Scot here) The team danced to it in their dressing room in celebration, and Mendiola offered to re-record it in their honour ahead of the tournament. We’re just waiting to see if they take her up on it…

9 thoughts on “414. ‘Yes Sir, I Can Boogie’, by Baccara

  1. Eurodisco starts here, the sound of summer holiday hits. We’d already had Y Viva Espana in 1974 as euro-holiday-makers returned with Continental smashes singalong memories converting to hits, then El Bimbo summer of 75. As camp as a row of tents (the song, not me), I loved it at the time. These days less so! Talking of remixes and covers, GBX is selling well on itunes, out on Friday with actual Baccara sounding like they’ve re-recorded the House-Cheese version of the song. Y’see Boney M’s Rasputin is also hot in the charts with a pumped-up remix, so no matter what anyone might feel about Eurocheese it appeals to fresh generations over and over. Attitude-free, feel-good romps for having some booze & a stomp in a club. Oh how I miss going to clubs and going on sun-drenched holidays in this bizarre grey alternate universe we live in!

    Yes Sir We Can Still Boogie! 🙂

    1. Oh my God… I had heard the Rasputin remix, but had no idea that the Scotland/Baccara remix had actually happened. Just listened, and I am 16 again, having sneaked into my extremely provincial local nightclub… Amazing!

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