María Mendiola, best known for singing the 1977 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 and friends on Saturday morning. “She will always be remembered for her love, dedication and respect for the world of music and interpretation,” Mendiola’s family wrote in a statement. “We will always remember her smile.”
Mendiola formed Baccara alongside Mayte Mateos in 1977, and the duo signed to RCA Records in the UK after being spotted by record label executive Leon Deane. Their first single, ‘Yes Sir, I Can Boogie’, reached the top of the charts in 10 European countries in 1977, including the UK, where they became the first female duo to score a No. 1 hit. The single has sold over 16 million copies to date – the most ever sold by an all-female group – and has been covered by the likes of Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Fratellis, and Goldfrapp. Later that year, the duo released their self-titled debut album, and follow-up single ‘Sorry I’m a Lady’ gave them another top 10 hit in early 1978.
That same year, Baccara represented Luxembourg at the Eurovision Song Contest with the novelty song ‘Parlez-Vous Français?’, taking seventh place. They released three more albums before parting ways in the early 1980s, launching two different versions of Baccara who recorded and toured separately. Mendiola’s incarnation of the band, initially called New Baccara and featuring co-vocalist Marisa Pérez, scored a trio of hits in the 1980s with the tracks ‘Touch Me’, ‘Fantasy Boy’, and ‘Call Me Up’. Pérez left the band after being diagnosed with arthritis in 2008 and was replaced by Cristina Sevilla, who announced the news of Mendiola’s death this morning.
“How difficult it is for me to publish this,” Sevilla wrote on Baccara’s official Instagram page. “My dear Maria, wonderful artist, but for me above all … My friend, has left us today. Words cannot come out … I can only thank so much love how I have received from her part and tell her what so many times I had the opportunity to say to her in life … I love you.”
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