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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Yes Sir, I Can Boogie singer dies aged 69


María Mendiola, who sang the disco anthem Yes Sir, I Can Boogie, has died at the age of 69.

On Saturday morning, the singer, who was half of the Spanish duo Baccara, died in Madrid surrounded by her family.

“My dear Maria, a wonderful artist but above all a friend left us today,” her bandmate Cristina Sevilla announced on Instagram.

“I can only thank you for how much love I have received from you.”

Mendiola founded Baccara in 1977 with another singer, Mayte Mateos, while both were flamenco dancers entertaining tourists on the island of Fuerteventura.

A record label executive recognised the duo’s talent and signed them to RCA Records in the United Kingdom, where they released their first single, Yes Sir, I Can Boogie.

It was a breathy disco classic that topped the charts in 10 European countries, including the UK, and bore a striking resemblance to Thelma Houston’s Don’t Leave Me This Way.

It went on to sell over 16 million copies, which was more than any girl group had ever done at the time.

The song was later covered by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Fratellis, and Goldfrapp, and it was given new life earlier this summer when it was chosen as Scotland’s unofficial anthem for the Euro 2020 football tournament.

Mendiola expressed her gratitude for the song’s continued presence in people’s lives “after so many years.”

“I never imagined I’d be back in the charts. I’m not as young as I once was, but I guess it shows that I can still boogie “She stated.

“The Scotland team has reminded people of our existence, which is great.”

Following the success of Yes Sir, I Can Boogie in 1977, Baccara’s self-titled debut album was an instant success, and the follow-up single, Sorry I’m a Lady, gave the duo another top 10 hit in early 1978.

The following year, they competed in the Eurovision Song Contest with the novelty song Parlez-Vous Français?, which emphasised the importance of having a working knowledge of French for anyone hoping to score a holiday romance.

Luxembourg’s duo finished seventh, losing to Israel’s Izar Cohen and his song A-Ba-Ni-Bi.

The band released two more albums, but by the mid-1980s, Mendiola and Mateos had split up, launching two competing versions of Baccara (dubbed Baccara and New Baccara) that recorded and toured separately.

Mendiola’s version of the band, which included co-vocalist Marisa Pérez, was the most successful, scoring a trio of Hi-NRG club hits in the 1980s with the songs Touch Me, Fantasy Boy, and Call Me Up.

They also appeared on the 2004 ITV reality show Hit Me Baby One More Time, in which former pop stars performed their biggest hit as well as a cover version of their biggest hit.

Pérez left the band in 2008 after being diagnosed with arthritis, and was replaced by Cristina Sevilla, who announced Mendiola’s death on Saturday.

“My dear Maria, I am at a loss for words,” she wrote on Baccara’s Instagram page. “I can only tell you what I’ve had so many chances to say in my life… I love you.”

Mendiola’s family issued a statement as well, which read: “She will be remembered for her passion, dedication, and admiration for the world of music and interpretation. Her smile will live on in our memories.”

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