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The lyrics of Lou Bega’s “Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit of … )” mention a woman named Monica. This led to speculation the song was about Monica Lewinsky. During interviews, Bega discussed whether coverage of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal affected his music.

Monica Lewinsky and President Bill Clinton in front of a desk
Monica Lewinsky and President Bill Clinton | Getty Images / Handout

Lou Bega contradicted himself regarding Monica Lewinsky

The Clinton-Lewinsky scandal was all over the news in 1998. Billboard reports “Mambo No. 5” reached the peak of its popularity in 1999. Someone called “Monica” is mentioned in the chorus of the song. The Sun-Sentinel reports MadTV released a parody of “Mambo No. 5” about the scandal.

At one point, Bega downplayed any connection between the scandal and the song. Bega said he wrote “Mambo No. 5” before he heard of Lewinsky. Later, he said something different.

“Monica was a girl I knew and was friendly with,” Bega told the Las Vegas Sun. “But looking back, when I was writing it, of course I knew who Monica [Lewinsky] was. Maybe it was that the media pounded ‘Monica’ into my head so often that I was thinking it without realizing it. Maybe if the line was, ‘A little bit of Sandra,’ [the song] wouldn’t have caught on like it did.”

Lou Bega wondered how President Bill Clinton would react to ‘Mambo No. 5’

Bega considered the impact the song might have on President Bill Clinton. “I’ve seen one parody on Leno a week after I was on the show,” Bega told The Morning Call. “It made me think, ‘What is it like when Mr. Clinton is in his car and his wife is next to him and ‘Mambo No. 5′ comes on the radio?’ He’s a musical guy; he plays the saxophone, you know.

“So, would he sing along with it, or would he switch it off?” Bega wondered. “If I was him, I would switch it off.” Bega said he would like to perform at the White House, but he probably wouldn’t perform “Mambo No. 5” while he was there.

President Bill Clinton holding papers
President Bill Clinton | JOYCE NALTCHAYAN/AFP via Getty Images

How the lyrics of ‘Mambo No. 5’ created a problem for the Democratic National Convention

CNN reports the song’s reference to someone named Monica had ramifications at the 2000 Democratic National Convention. The producers of the 2000 DNC wanted to choose a song similar to the “Macarena” to be the theme of the event. Subsequently, the producers chose “Mambo No. 5” but disliked that the song mentioned someone named Monica. The DNC considered using a re-written version of the song, but ultimately did not use the song at all.


Monica Lewinsky Once Revealed She Had A Relationship With A Married Man Prior To Bill Clinton Affair

How Lou Bega’s most famous song performed on the charts

Regardless of who inspired “Mambo No. 5,” the song was a bona fide hit. The track reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 22 weeks. The song’s parent album, A Little Bit of Mambo, was a hit as well. It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for 47 weeks. “Mambo No. 5” became a hit even if Bega never performed it at the White House.