Strictly million-sellers only! Lou Bega finally mamboes his way to a million sales in the UK!

We chat to chart sensation Lou Bega as his 1999 Number 1 hit and Strictly Come Dancing favourite Mambo No. 5 reaches its million-selling milestone.

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5! Everybody in the car so come on let’s ride!” Rewind just over 15 years to summer 1999 and you would find the UK gripped by Latin fever and a European phenomenon that got everybody on their feet and dancing the old-fashioned way.

And as we prepare for the final of TV’s glitziest talent show Strictly Come Dancing, the Official Charts Company can now confirm that Lou Bega’s monster hit Mambo No. 5 has shimmied its way past the million sales mark.

Lou Bega now takes a seat in one of the most exclusive clubs in British music, as Mambo No. 5 joins only 154 other songs to pass a million sales since the Official Singles Chart began in 1952.

On learning of the news, Lou Bega told OfficialCharts.com:

"It feels great, I’m amazed, I’m really, really amazed. It must be a new generation that discovered it. A British friend told me it is very popular at weddings so maybe that’s why."

But way back in 1999, Lou wasn't even sure it would be a hit. "I remember when I started to write the song, and I finished it, you have a gut feeling you know, and I told myself: either it’s going in the dustbin of history or it will open doors for me – I really remember thinking that very vividly."

Lou Bega’s Mambo No. 5 charted in the last week of August 1999, and heavily sampled the original version of the track, by legendary Perez ‘Prez’ Prado, the “King of Mambo”. Although Perez didn’t have a hit with Mambo No. 5, he’s had three Top 40s of his own, including a Number 1 in 1955 and a return to the Top 10 in the mid Nineties with Guaglione, following its appearance in a Guinness advert.

1999 was the year of the Latin explosion, with Ricky Martin’s Livin’ La Vida Loca and Enrique Iglesias’ Bailamos leading a melodic invasion of swivel-hipped superstars. Bringing up the rear and representing the ladies was Hollywood star-turned-pop princess Jennifer Lopez.

German Lou Bega’s first taste of stardom was a good old traditional holiday hit. Mambo No. 5, which added cheeky lyrics and a roll call through a host of girls’ names, was popular on mainland Europe and, as these catchy tunes always do, soon found popularity with Brits living it up on their hols.

"It speaks lyrically to the inner core which is deep down in our soul,especially in the man in the male psyche," explains Lou. "We live a monogamous life, but somewhere deep down we love to… how can I explain it? We love to see what’s on the market, even if you’re settled down with one person. When we go dancing on the dancefloor it’s like a market – and you can sing it out loudly. It’s a very positive song."

And we have to ask… just who were all those ladies you named in the song?

"Well, I'd say 80% of the girls are real people that I encountered in my life, especially Sandra, Rita and Jessica," says Lou. "I think I just mentioned two names that I never went on dates with… Angela, I guess was not real."

Demand for the track from returning revellers was so high in the UK that Mambo No. 5 initially charted in the Top 40 on sales of import copies alone – peaking at Number 31. Upon full release, the track zoomed straight in at the top of the Official Singles Chart, deposing another Latin-inspired tune by newly solo Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.

Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit of…) sold 400,000 copies in its first two weeks on sale, which it spent at Number 1, and went on to be the fourth bestselling single of 1999, shifting over 850,000 copies!

And while it may not be selling as speedily or as vastly as it did in its first year of release, the track still has popular appeal, finally reaching a million copies! But could it be thanks to a primetime TV show?

BBC 1’s dance contest Strictly Come Dancing has helped a new generation discover ballroom dancing and music they might not normally hear on TV on a Saturday night.

Mambo No. 5 has soundtracked backstage scenes and has also featured front-of-house twice – first in 2010 when footballer Peter Shilton danced with partner Erin Boag and most recently just last week when EastEnders star Jake Wood and partner Janette Manrara danced the salsa.

It may be 15 years since he mamboed his way through dates with Monica, Erica, Rita, Tina, Sandra, Mary and Jessica, but Lou Bega is still recording and releasing music.

And Mambo No. 5 is a favourite that Lou still loves to perform.

"I end shows with it, and sometimes it’s hard to make people wait until the end of the show! Even if I have loads of Top 10s, Mambo No 5 will always be the one that once you’ve heard it in your life, you don’t forget it."

And thanks to you, Lou's got a great early Christmas present! "Thank you very much for making it a million-seller in the UK. When I started in the business, I never ever dreamed about the day of million record sales in the UK. It’s just amazing to me! Merry Christmas to you all."

What a top gent!

And the UK wasn’t quite done with Mambo No. 5 yet, either. Animated children’s TV hero Bob the Builder followed up his own million-selling Can We Fix It? with a cover of Mambo No. 5, taking it to Number 1 and selling over 380,000 copies!

The UK's million-selling singles

YEAR OF RELEASE TITLE ARTIST
2014 RATHER BE CLEAN BANDIT
2013 COUNTING STARS ONEREPUBLIC
2013 LA LA LA NAUGHTY BOY FT SAM SMITH
2013 HAPPY PHARRELL WILLIAMS
2013 BLURRED LINES ROBIN THICKE FT TI & PHARRELL
2013 GET LUCKY DAFT PUNK FT PHARRELL WILLIAMS & NILE RODGERS
2013 WAKE ME UP AVICII
2012 DIAMONDS RIHANNA
2012 LET HER GO PASSENGER
2012 CALL ME MAYBE CARLY RAE JEPSEN
2012 GANGNAM STYLE PSY
2012 IMPOSSIBLE JAMES ARTHUR
2011 MOVES LIKE JAGGER MAROON 5 FT CHRISTINA AGUILERA
2011 PARTY ROCK ANTHEM LMFAO FT LAUREN BENNETT AND GOONROCK
2011 GIVE ME EVERYTHING PITBULL FT NE-YO, AFROJACK, NAYER
2011 PRICE TAG JESSIE J FT B.O.B
2011 SOMEBODY THAT I USED TO KNOW GOTYE FT KIMBRA
2011 SOMEONE LIKE YOU ADELE
2011 THE A TEAM ED SHEERAN
2011 TITANIUM DAVID GUETTA FT SIA
2011 WE ARE YOUNG FUN FT JANELLE MONAE
2011 WE FOUND LOVE RIHANNA FT CALVIN HARRIS
2010 JUST THE WAY YOU ARE (AMAZING) BRUNO MARS
2010 ROLLING IN THE DEEP ADELE
2010 LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE EMINEM FT RIHANNA
2010 FIREWORK KATY PERRY
2010 ONLY GIRL (IN THE WORLD) RIHANNA
2010 WHEN WE COLLIDE MATT CARDLE
2009 BAD ROMANCE LADY GAGA
2009 FIGHT FOR THIS LOVE CHERYL COLE
2009 I GOTTA FEELING BLACK EYED PEAS
2009 POKER FACE LADY GAGA
2008 HALLELUJAH ALEXANDRA BURKE
2008 SEX ON FIRE KINGS OF LEON
2008 USE SOMEBODY KINGS OF LEON
2007 BLEEDING LOVE LEONA LEWIS
2007 RULE THE WORLD TAKE THAT
2006 CHASING CARS SNOW PATROL
2006 CRAZY GNARLS BARKLEY
2005 (IS THIS THE WAY TO) AMARILLO TONY CHRISTIE FT PETER KAY
2005 THAT'S MY GOAL SHAYNE WARD
2004 DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS? BAND AID 20
2002 ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE/EVERGREEN WILL YOUNG
2002 UNCHAINED MELODY GARETH GATES
2001 CAN'T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD KYLIE MINOGUE
2001 IT WASN'T ME SHAGGY FT RIKROK
2001 PURE AND SIMPLE HEAR'SAY
2001 WHOLE AGAIN ATOMIC KITTEN
2000 CAN WE FIX IT? BOB THE BUILDER
1999 ...BABY ONE MORE TIME BRITNEY SPEARS
1999 MAMBO NO.5 (A LITTLE BIT OF…) LOU BEGA
1999 BLUE (DA BA DEE) EIFFEL 65
1998 HEARTBEAT/TRAGEDY STEPS
1998 BELIEVE CHER
1998 I DON'T WANT TO MISS A THING AEROSMITH
1998 MY HEART WILL GO ON CELINE DION
1998 NO MATTER WHAT BOYZONE
1997 ANGELS ROBBIE WILLIAMS
1997 BARBIE GIRL AQUA
1997 I'LL BE MISSING YOU PUFF DADDY & FAITH EVANS
1997 IT'S LIKE THAT RUN-DMC VS JASON NEVINS
1997 NEVER EVER ALL SAINTS
1997 PERFECT DAY VARIOUS ARTISTS
1997 SOMETHING ABOUT THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT / CANDLE IN THE WIND '97 ELTON JOHN
1997 TELETUBBIES SAY "EH-OH!" TELETUBBIES
1997 TORN NATALIE IMBRUGLIA
1996 2 BECOME 1 SPICE GIRLS
1996 KILLING ME SOFTLY FUGEES
1996 SPACEMAN BABYLON ZOO
1996 THREE LIONS BADDIEL & SKINNER & LIGHTNING SEEDS
1996 WANNABE SPICE GIRLS
1995 BACK FOR GOOD TAKE THAT
1995 EARTH SONG MICHAEL JACKSON
1995 GANGSTA'S PARADISE COOLIO FT LV
1995 I BELIEVE/UP ON THE ROOF ROBSON & JEROME
1995 MYSTERIOUS GIRL PETER ANDRE FT BUBBLER RANX
1995 UNCHAINED MELODY/(THERE'LL BE BLUEBIRDS OVER) THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER ROBSON GREEN & JEROME FLYNN
1995 WONDERWALL OASIS
1994 ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU MARIAH CAREY
1994 LOVE IS ALL AROUND WET WET WET
1994 SATURDAY NIGHT WHIGFIELD
1994 THINK TWICE CELINE DION
1992 I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU WHITNEY HOUSTON
1991 (EVERYTHING I DO) I DO IT FOR YOU BRYAN ADAMS
1989 RIDE ON TIME BLACK BOX
1988 ESPECIALLY FOR YOU KYLIE MINOGUE & JASON DONOVAN
1987 FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK POGUES FT KIRSTY MACCOLL
1985 THE POWER OF LOVE JENNIFER RUSH
1984 CARELESS WHISPER GEORGE MICHAEL
1984 DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS? BAND AID
1984 GHOSTBUSTERS RAY PARKER JR.
1984 I JUST CALLED TO SAY I LOVE YOU STEVIE WONDER
1984 LAST CHRISTMAS/EVERYTHING SHE WANTS WHAM!
1984 TWO TRIBES FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD
1983 BLUE MONDAY NEW ORDER
1983 KARMA CHAMELEON CULTURE CLUB
1983 RELAX FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD
1983 RED RED WINE UB40
1983 UPTOWN GIRL BILLY JOEL
1982 COME ON EILEEN DEXY'S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS
1982 EYE OF THE TIGER SURVIVOR
1982 FAME IRENE CARA
1982 THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT TIGHT FIT
1981 DON'T STOP BELIEVIN' JOURNEY
1981 DON'T YOU WANT ME? HUMAN LEAGUE
1981 STAND & DELIVER ADAM AND THE ANTS
1981 TAINTED LOVE SOFT CELL
1979 ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL (PART 2) PINK FLOYD
1979 BRIGHT EYES ART GARFUNKEL
1979 HEART OF GLASS BLONDIE
1979 I WILL SURVIVE GLORIA GAYNOR
1978 HIT ME WITH YOUR RHYTHM STICK IAN DURY AND THE BLOCKHEADS
1978 MARY'S BOY CHILD/OH MY LORD BONEY M
1978 RIVERS OF BABYLON/BROWN GIRL IN THE RING BONEY M
1978 SUMMER NIGHTS JOHN TRAVOLTA & OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN
1978 YMCA VILLAGE PEOPLE
1978 YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I WANT JOHN TRAVOLTA & OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN
1977 I FEEL LOVE DONNA SUMMER
1977 MULL OF KINTYRE/GIRLS' SCHOOL WINGS
1976 DANCING QUEEN ABBA
1976 DON'T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA JULIE COVINGTON
1976 DON'T GIVE UP ON US DAVID SOUL
1976 DON'T GO BREAKING MY HEART ELTON JOHN & KIKI DEE
1976 SAVE YOUR KISSES FOR ME BROTHERHOOD OF MAN
1976 UNDER THE MOON OF LOVE SHOWADDYWADDY
1975 BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY QUEEN
1975 IMAGINE JOHN LENNON
1975 SAILING ROD STEWART
1973 I LOVE YOU LOVE ME LOVE GARY GLITTER
1973 MERRY XMAS EVERYBODY SLADE
1973 TIE A YELLOW RIBBON ROUND THE OLE OAK TREE DAWN FT TONY ORLANDO
1972 EYE LEVEL THE SIMON PARK ORCHESTRA
1972 LONG HAIRED LOVER FROM LIVERPOOL LITTLE JIMMY OSMOND
1971 I'D LIKE TO TEACH THE WORLD TO SING THE NEW SEEKERS
1969 SUGAR SUGAR THE ARCHIES
1968 HEY JUDE THE BEATLES
1967 RELEASE ME ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK
1967 THE LAST WALTZ ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK
1966 GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME TOM JONES
1965 TEARS KEN DODD
1965 THE CARNIVAL IS OVER THE SEEKERS
1965 UNCHAINED MELODY THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS
1964 CAN'T BUY ME LOVE THE BEATLES
1964 I FEEL FINE THE BEATLES
1964 WE CAN WORK IT OUT/DAY TRIPPER THE BEATLES
1963 I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND THE BEATLES
1963 SHE LOVES YOU THE BEATLES
1962 I REMEMBER YOU FRANK IFIELD
1962 THE YOUNG ONES CLIFF RICHARD & THE SHADOWS
1961 STRANGER ON THE SHORE MR ACKER BILK AND HIS PARAMOUNT JAZZ BAND
1960 IT'S NOW OR NEVER ELVIS PRESLEY
1957 DIANA PAUL ANKA
1957 MARY'S BOY CHILD HARRY BELAFONTE
1955 (WE'RE GONNA) ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK BILL HALEY & HIS COMETS
1942 WHITE CHRISTMAS BING CROSBY WITH THE KEN DARBY SINGERS AND JOHN SCOTT TROTTER ORCHESTRA

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