María Mendiola — one half of the legendary Spanish duo Baccara — has died at the age of 69. The singer passed away in Madrid surrounded by her family on Saturday morning. Her bandmate Cristina Sevilla announced the news in a touching tribute on Instagram.
“How difficult it is for me to publish this …. My dear Maria, wonderful artist, but for me above all … my friend, she left us today.”
“Words cannot come out … I can only thank you so much for all the love I’ve received from you and tell you what I had the opportunity to say to you in life …. I love you.”
View this post on Instagram
Not many acts can claim to have 16 million record sales to their name. Fewer still can do so while competing at Eurovision.
But Baccara did exactly that in 1978 when they represented Luxembourg with the tongue-in-cheek number “Parlez-vous Francais?”, which stressed the importance of having a working knowledge of French in order to land a holiday romance.
The Spanish duo, which originally consisted of Mendiola and Mayte Mateos, earned a top ten spot for the Grand Duchy.
That was respectable yet, in the wake of their recent success, somewhat disappointing. Just months previously they had released the all conquering global smash, “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie”.
An infectious disco classic, the track reached number one in virtually all the major music markets during the autumn of 1977. The former flamenco dancers were transformed into household names, and by the time Eurovision rolled around, their victory must have seemed a foregone conclusion. Alas, that didn’t happen. And despite a handful of minor hits, the pair’s fortunes went into decline after the contest. By 1981 they had disbanded.
But Bacarra continued – albeit two different versions, each containing one of the original members.
“Yes Sir, I Can Boogie”, proved to be more resilient than the group which spawned it. A perennial favourite on compilation albums, and tv specials, the song has consistently managed to find and engage new fans. It’s lived on, becoming Scotland’s unofficial anthem at the Euro 2020 football tournament and finding new audiences through covers from Goldfrapp, The Fratellis and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
Our thoughts are with María’s family, friends and fans during this difficult time.