Gypsy Woman (8:40)

Cover of Grandmix: The Millennium Edition (Mixed by Ben Liebrand) (disc 2)

From Grandmix: The Millennium Edition (Mixed by Ben Liebrand) (disc 2) and 78 other releases

“Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)” (also released as “Gypsy Woman (La da dee la da da)”) is a house music song by American singer Crystal Waters. It was written by Neal Conway, Nathaniel S. Hardy, Jr. and Waters and is the first single from her 1991 debut album, Surprise. The song includes the chorus of “La da dee, la da da” and a much-sampled organ refrain that is similar to gospel music.

Slant Magazine ranked the song 48th in its 100 Greatest Dance Songs list, adding: “”Gypsy Woman” sets its portrait of a crusty, haphazardly made-up bag lady begging dementedly on street corners to the Basement Boys’s unforgivingly brutish, mongoloid thump”.

It peaked at number eight on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and at number two in the UK Singles Chart, and it went to number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs. When the song was descending the charts, it appeared on the benefit album Red Hot + Dance in a new incarnation mixed by Joey Negro, who took the song into a new musical direction.

Retitled “Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee)”, the song was the highest-debuting single for a new act in the UK Singles Chart at that time - its debut at 3 was later eclipsed by Gabrielle’s “Dreams” entering at two, and then by Whigfield’s “Saturday Night” entering at 1.

In 1991, the song was spoofed in the memorable sketch “My Songs Are Mindless” performed by Kim Wayans on In Living Color, where series regular Wayans portrayed Waters referencing TV shows. Wayans skewered the song’s simple rhythm and melody by singing “Hey look, there’s Fred and the Flintstones/I got a song now, that’s a song now/Yabba dabba doo, yabba dabba doo/Yabba dabba doo, yabba dabba doo…” The clip from the comedy show would sometimes show up mixed into Waters’ own version at gay clubs with video screens.

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