From the website The Brunching Shuttlecocks– June, 2000
Lou Bega: A Career Retrospective (3:39 of fame)
By David Neilsen
0:05 “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Mambo #5”
Lou Bega burst onto the music scene with little fanfare, announcing his intentions and kicking up an infectious beat that reminded many of the catchy ditties of yore such as Sugar Ray’s “Fly” and Los Del Rio’s “Macarena” But would Lou become a viable, bankable artist like the former, or was he destined to life as a one-hit wonder like the latter?
0:25 “The boys say they want some gin and juice but I really don’t wanna”
Already a rising star, Lou came out strong against alcohol abuse. Moms across the country looked up to him as a good role model for their kids, and thanked their lucky stars for the delivery of a genuine pop star with morals.
0:40 “So what can I do I really beg you my Lord”
Bolstered by his success, Lou was not afraid to let his religious beliefs mingle in his art. Ever the wholesome young lad, his message of faith and love had him on the brink of instant stardom.
0:50 “A little bit of Monica in my life a little bit of Erica by my side, etc.”
And a star was born. This refrain, more than anything else he would ever do, became his calling card. He was known as the guy who loved “a little bit” of every lady. Meanwhile, the grooves pumped at your brain, the words found themselves on the tips of your tongue and he was singing all the way to the bank.
1:34 “Jump up and down and move it all around”
When you’re at the top, there’s nowhere to go but down, and artists will do anything to keep from falling. Lou tried to turn his mega-pop hit into a mega-dance track. Unfortunately, the attempt to create his own dance failed as miserably as Hammer’s “Too Legit To Quit” hand gestures. While he remained high on the hog with success, cracks were beginning to appear. He needed something new, something hot, something now.
1:50 “A little bit of Monica in my life a little bit of Erica by my side, etc.”
What he churned out, instead, was a rehashing of his main hit. Like a sad attempt at a greatest hits record, it proved everyone’s worst fears, he was a one-hit wonder. Experts still had hope for his as an artist, but feared he simply peaked too soon, not given himself enough time to grow as an artist. The pressure to top himself had proven too much.
A launch into a free-form instrumental, heavily showcasing his love of the trumpet was possibly his most impressive artistic achievement, sadly, it was also one of his least successful, commercially.
2:43 “A little bit of Monica in my life a little bit of Erica by my side, etc.”
Left to a life of local fairs, mall openings and class reunions, Lou Bega was a sad man. Every time he hit the stage they cried for his one true hit, and once he played it, he’d spent his wad, and the public no longer cared. Like The Village People, Lou was known primarily as a novelty act. And while he kept his spirits up by performing at record stores across the world, the ghost of his former success haunted him.
3:05 “I do all to fall in love with a girl like you”
A minor comeback was attempted with an infectious, off-beat love song. But if anyone listened, it was only in hopes of hearing his familiar ditty from days gone by. Fame is a fleeting mistress, and she had left Lou Bega a sad pile of memories on the corner. If you see him today, at a café or driving down the street. Remember him for what the smash sensation he was. Remember him as the man behind Mambo #5.