Baccara is a female vocal duo formed in 1977 by Spanish artists Mayte Mateos and María Mendiola.and rapidly achieved international success with their debut single “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie“, which reached number one across Europe and became the best-selling single of all-time by a female group, eventually selling more than 18 million copies worldwide. A successful follow-up single “Sorry, I’m a Lady” and a European tour led to a number of album releases, numerous television appearances and the duo’s selection to represent Luxembourg in the Eurovision Song Contest 1978.
Together with writer Frank Dostal, Soja penned their début single “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” and most of their other
1970s hits. Recorded in the Netherlands and released in 1977, “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” was an enormous pan-
European hit and was a prime example of the phenomenon that is known as the “summer hit”. It is also an example
of the Euro disco genre, described in The Independent newspaper in 1999 as follows: This mind-bending Common
Market melding of foreign accents, bad diction, bizarre arrangements and lightweight production, usually top-
heavy with strings “Yes Sir, …” reached the top of the charts in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Sweden,
Belgium, and Switzerland, and number three in France. Baccara sold more than 16 million copies of “Yes Sir, I Can
Boogie” and featured in the 1977 edition of the Guinness Book of Records as the highest-selling female musical
duo to date. They were the first female duo to reach number one in the UK, and had the only number one by a
Spanish artist in the UK until Julio Iglesias, four years later.
Later that year, a self-titled album, written and produced by Soja and Dostal, was released. The album Baccara was
the first platinum selling album—actually double platinum in 1978—by a foreign group in Finland. In 2013, the
album still remains the sixth biggest selling album of all time in Finland.
A follow-up single, “Sorry, I’m a Lady”, was also an international hit, peaking at the top of the charts in Germany, the
Netherlands and Belgium and reaching the top ten in the UK, Sweden and Switzerland. Most of Baccara’s
recordings were sung in English although they also recorded in Spanish, German and French. They recorded
different language versions of some songs.
Touring in Europe during the late 1970s helped the duo establish a firm fan base in Germany (where their records
continued to be produced) and the Scandinavian countries, and their Spanish-flavoured interpretation of the disco
sound also brought them recognition in Japan and Russia. Baccara represented West Germany at the eighth World
Popular Song Festival held in November 1977 – until it ended in 1989 the largest such contest in the world. Their
song, “Mad in Madrid”, came 14th out of 37 participating countries.
In 1978 the second Baccara album, Light My Fire, was released across Europe, and whilst not matching the
international success of the first, it spawned the single “Parlez-vous français?” which was selected as Luxembourg’s
entry in that year’s Eurovision Song Contest Despite full marks from Italy, Portugal and Spain the duo finished in
seventh place. However high sales, particularly in Denmark, Sweden and Belgium, meant that the single was a
Further recognition came in 1978 when Baccara was granted Germany’s most prestigious media award, Burda
Publishing Group’s Bambi prize. This is offered annually to “celebrities whose abilities have impressed, moved and
enthused the people in Germany The duo made regular television appearances, becoming weekly guests on Sacha
Distel’s show in the UK, and on Musikladen in Germany. 1978 was the high point of Baccara’s artistic and
commercial success. Late that year the duo released the single “The Devil Sent You to Laredo” with “Somewhere in
Paradise” as its B side. Both of these Baccara recordings have become iconic. “Somewhere in Paradise” (with its
allusions to life after death) is regularly played by Christian radio stations while “The Devil…” (with its background
pistol shots) is sometimes identified with the gay community. A Spanish-language version of “The Devil…” (“El
diablo te mandó a Laredo”) was released at the same time as the English one, and both the original English version
and “Somewhere in Paradise” subsequently featured on the duo’s first greatest hits compilation, The Hits of
Baccara, released under the name Los Éxitos de Baccara in Spain and South America.
In 1979, the album Colours and the separately-recorded single “Eins plus eins ist eins”, released to mark the United
Nations’ International Year of the Child and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the UN adoption of the Declaration
of the Rights of the Child. Although still successful, sales of these and other releases in 1979 were disappointing.
Baccara’s fourth album in the band’s original incarnation was Bad Boys, released in 1981. By this time, the disco
sound had been overshadowed by newer music movements such as punk, new wave and synthpop in much of
Europe and interest was largely confined to those countries where the duo had an established fan base, notably
Germany. The album was not released in the UK or US; they never achieved any recognition in the US despite some
of their songs being given significant airplay. One music critic suggested that the Baccara formula lacked artistic
depth but had been “mined for all it was worth” over two years until public interest moved on to other things. The
same critic also drew attention to an element of “anti-feminist subservience” in the lyrics of some Baccara songs.
Following the original Baccara’s dissolution in 1981 Mayte Mateos released three solo singles through the RCA-
Victor label, “Souvenirs from Paradise”, “Recuerdos del ayer” and “Malaguena”, the first two produced by Rolf Soja.
Re-forming as Baccara in 1983 with Marisa Pérez, a contemporary of Mateos and Mendiola at the Spanish TV
ballet company, Mateos re-established the band on the European entertainment circuit. Pérez was followed by a
succession of partners including Ángela Muro, Sole García, Jane Comerford, Carmen, Cristina Sevilla, Paloma
Blanco, Isabel Patton, Romy Abradelo, Rose, Francesca Rodrigues and María Marín. Mateos’ current singing
partner is once again fellow Spaniard Paloma Blanco. Although having no new hits to their name, Mateos’ Baccara
have remained in demand for television and live performances, performing the band’s extensive back catalogue —
versions of which have been released as compilations — as well as up-tempo interpretations of traditional Spanish
In 1999, Mateos released a new studio album through RCA-Victor/Sony-BMG, Baccara 2000, as well as an updated
dance version of breakthrough hit “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” as a single.
In 2004, Mayte Mateos was once again involved with Eurovision, when she took part in the Swedish
Melodifestivalen preselection contest to represent Sweden with the song “Soy tu Venus”.
However, Baccara lost out to local star Lena Philipsson, who eventually placed fifth in the competition. A full-length
studio album recorded in Sweden, Soy tu Venus, followed.
A new Baccara album with Mayte Mateos and Paloma Blanco, entitled Satin …In Black & White and produced by
the original Baccara team Rolf Soja and Frank Dostal, was released on 30 May 2008.
This album contained remakes of original Baccara recordings from the late 1970s and some new songs. Although
appreciated by Baccara fans, sales of the album were disappointing.
In 2013 Mayte sang on a cover version of “Yes Sir I Can Boogie” by the London indie rock band Sala & The Strange
In november 2020, after 43 years, “Yes Sir I can Boogie” is back in the UK Top 40. Mayte Mateos & Paloma Blanco
can’t wait to tour the U.K. again.