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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.

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

“My dear Maria, a wonderful artist but above all my friend left us today,” her bandmate Cristina Sevilla wrote on Instagram, announcing the news.

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

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

The duo were talent-spotted by a record label executive, who signed them to RCA Records in the UK, and gave them Yes Sir, I Can Boogie as their first single.

A breathy disco classic (which bore a noticeable similarity to Thelma Houston’s Don’t Leave Me This Way) it topped the charts in 10 European countries, including the UK.

It went on to sell more than 16 million copies – more than any girl group had ever achieved at the time.

Subsequently covered by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Fratellis and Goldfrapp, the song gained a new lease of life earlier this summer, after being adopted as Scotland’s unofficial anthem at the Euro 2020 football tournament.

Mendiola said she was touched that the song was still a part of people’s lives “after so many years”.

“I never thou­ght I’d be in the charts again. I am not young any more but I guess it shows I can still boogie,” she said.

“The Scotland team has reminded people we exist, which is very nice.

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

That same year they entered the Eurovision Song Contest with the novelty song Parlez-Vous Français? – which stressed the importance of a working knowledge of French for anyone hoping to score a holiday romance.

Representing Luxembourg, the duo took seventh place, losing to Israel’s Izar Cohen and the song A-Ba-Ni-Bi.

The band released two more albums, but by the mid-80s Mendiola and Mateos had parted ways, launching two competing versions of Baccara (called Baccara and New Baccara) who each recorded and toured separately.

Mendiola’s incarnation of the band – featuring co-vocalist Marisa Pérez – achieved the most success, 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 along with a cover version.

Pérez stepped away from the band after being diagnosed with arthritis in 2008, and was replaced by Cristina Sevilla, who broke the news of Mendiola’s death on Saturday.

“My dear Maria, I do not have the words,” she wrote on Baccara’s Instagram page. “I can only tell you what I had the opportunity to say so many times in life… I love you.”

Mendiola’s family also released a statement which read: “She will always be remembered for her love, dedication and respect for the  world of music and interpretation. We will always remember her smile.”

bbc

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