Frank Farian's assistant Hans-Jörg Mayer (aka Reyam) had discovered a popular Tunisian folkloric song, Sidi Mansur while on holiday and rewrote the song into a disco track. The lyrics by Fred Jay were inspired by the story of legendary 1930s outlaw Ma Baker although the name was changed into "Ma Baker" because "it sounded better". With a structure similar to Boney M.'s breakthrough single "Daddy Cooll" with the same gimmick percussion, alternating answer-back vocals, a spoken mid-part, the song also opened with a snarling "Freeze, I'm Ma Baker, put your hands in the air! Gimme all your money". Although it has never been officially credited, the voice was done by Linda Blake, the wife of Frank Farian's American friend Bill Swisher who was a soldier in Germany at the time. Bill Swisher also performed the spoken mid-part, announcing a bulletin from the FBI. He was also used on several later Boney M. recordings, including "Rasputin" and "El Lute". Frank Farian re-recorded the song with Milli Vanilli in 1988. Boney M.'s version was remixed the same year, 1993 and again in 1998. The song has been covered a number of times by Banda R-15, Knorkator and others. A sample of "Ma Baker", particularly the chorus, is prominent in the recent Red One -produced electropop international chart-topper "Poker Face", by the American pop singer Lady Gaga.
Friday, 3 June 2011
Ma' Baker (1976)
"Ma Baker" was a 1976 disco hit single by German disco band Boney M. It was the first single of their second album Love for Sale and their third consecutive chart-topper in Germany and their best yet placing in the UK, peaking at No2 (only surpassed by Donna Summer's "I Feel Love") although only a minor single in the US (No96).