Sad news from Spain. The family of María Mendiola, founding member of the mythical duo Baccara, has announced the death of the singer today, 11th September 2021. The Spanish artist was 69 years old and was battling a serious illness.
Baccara became one of the most international Spanish groups, to the point of participating in Eurovision in 1978, but not representing Spain, they represented Luxembourg. They reached the 7th position with their song “Parlez-vous Français?”, which became a worldwide hit.
Baccara, from international success to their confrontation in court
The origin of Baccara dates back to 1974, when María and Mayte were dancers in the Spanish Television ballet and became best friends. In 1976, they decided to create a group called “Venus” that performed in nightclubs in Spain. They were fired for being “too elegant for that kind of clubs”. It’s then that they got the opportunity to work in a hotel in the Canary Islands, where Leon Deane, director of the German subsidiary of RCA, which offers them a record contract in Hamburg. The duo changed their name to Baccara and released their first single, “Yes sir, I can boogie”. The song became a worldwide hit and the album to which it belonged sold more than 15 million copies worldwide and got the record for being the best-selling girl group album in history, reaching number 1 in Germany, Belgium, Israel, The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and even Japan. After this success, others arrived like “Sorry, I’m a lady”.
In 1977, they represented Germany at the Yamaha festival in Tokyo and, a year later, they were chosen to represent Luxembourg at Eurovision 1978 with the song “Parlez-vous Français?”. The success of the song makes it included in their second album “Light My Fire”, another best-seller that caused numerous appearances for the group around the world. The group also received the BAMBI Award that year, one of the most prestigious in Germany.
The third album of the group arrives in 1979 and, from this moment, the tensions between the two components of the group began. Controversy that reached its climax during the recording of the song “Sleepy-Time Toy”, which caused a discussion among the singers for the Mayte’s prominence in the vocal part of the song. Maria’s voice had been relegated to the choirs and to some sigh, which Maria decided to sue the record company, winning the trial. However, and although the singers no longer spoke to each other, they recorded their fourth album in 1981, “Bad Boys”, in compliance with the contract with RCA.
After the publication of this album, Baccara disbanded. Mayte and María looked for new partners and remade the duets separately, which continued to confront them over who had the right to continue using the name of Baccara. Finally, a judge determined that both can use the name of the group and, since 1983, there are two duos called Baccara that follow different paths. For example, Mayte’s group even participated in the Swedish Melodifestivalen in 2004.
The singers have not spoken to each other since then, despite the fact that they met in Moscow. By chance they were both hired to sing in the city like Baccara, each one in different places and with different couples. María told a Spanish newspaper in 2017 that they met at the reception of the hotel, they were a couple of meters apart but their pride prevented them from talking to each other. Mayte confirmed this story in another interview, although she said that she remembers that it wasn’t at the reception, but outside, on the street. Be that as it may, it was clear that they stopped being a duo and stopped being friends.
From the Eurovoxx team, we want to convey our condolences to the family and friends of Maria Mendiola.
(Photo: © Gtres)