Moulin Rouge's 'Lady Marmalade' Makes History

By | June 19, 2001 at 12:00 AM

A live action musical might have a hard road to travel at the mainstream movie box office but music from Baz Luhrmann’s film Moulin Rouge (Twentieth Century Fox/Interscope Records) is proving to have surprising “legs” thanks to its intriguing – and now history-making – hip-hop-pop teaming of platinum superstars Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink.

Topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the fourth consecutive week, their cover of the LaBelle ’70s smash “Lady Marmalade” (produced by Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott and Rockwilder) has become the first airplay-only track in history to stay at #1 for more than one week. Only two other tracks not available as singles have even reached #1 (“Try Again” from Aaliyah and “Angel” from Shaggy featuring Rayvon). In addition, its outrageously colorful video continues to rank near the top in spins at MTV and is being seen regularly on VH-1 and BET.

Meanwhile, the album is ranked #4, crossing the platinum plateau with well over a million records shipped. Released May 8, 2001, music from Baz Luhrmann’s film Moulin Rouge also features David Bowie, Fatboy Slim, Beck, Massive Attack, Rufus Wainwright, Valeria and others (including the film’s stars Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in their on-screen and soundtrack singing debuts).

Moulin Rouge is not the first hit album for Luhrmann, the film’s director, co-writer and co-producer. The contemporary music soundtrack album to 1996’s “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet” was certified triple platinum. Two years later, Luhrmann scored an unlikely pop hit of his own with the gold-certified album “Something For Everybody” and his top-charting spoken word single “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen).”

Moulin Rouge the film, released by Twentieth Century Fox, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and its mid-May exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles were sold-out. Opening nationwide on June 1, its box office take of $28,000,000 through June 10 has kept one of the most unusual films in recent history in the Top 10.

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