La-La Means I Love You

Album: La La Means I Love You (1968)
Charted: 19 4
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Songfacts®:

  • In this song, The Delfonics are after a special girl who has heard it all. Every guy in town makes his play, trying to win her over with their words. The Delfonics take a different approach, letting their song do the talking. It requires some explanation, so they deliver the message clearly: "La La" means "I love you."
  • "La-La Means I Love You" was the first hit for The Delfonics, and also the first hit written and produced by Thom Bell, who helped craft the Philadelphia Soul sound. Bell, and The Delfonics, worked for Cameo-Parkway Records in Philadelphia, which was looking for black musicians to help compete with Motown. Bell was inexperienced, but the studio gave him carte blanche to see what he could with the group. At the time, The Delfonics were known as "The Five Guys" and played their own instruments. Bell cut them down to a trio (one couldn't sing, the other joined the Army, he said) and made them a vocal group, with Bell playing most of the instruments himself. They recorded two singles - "He Don't Really Love You" and "You've Been Untrue" - that didn't trouble the charts but showed the potential of this partnership. Stan Watson at Cameo started a new label called Philly Groove and brought The Delfonics - with Bell - along. Their first song for the label was "La-La Means I Love You," which went to #4 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart.

    Bell recorded three albums with the group and had one more big hit with them: "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" in 1970. Bell then joined Philadelphia International Records, run by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, where he worked with The Stylistics. Bell later contracted with Atlantic Records, where he revived The Spinners, helping them become a top act of the '70s after an unsuccessful decade at Motown.
  • The group's lead singer, William Hart, wrote the lyric, which came from something he would say to his young son. Thom Bell wrote the music.
  • The line, "Let me hold me in my arms and thrill you with my charms" was appropriated by Melle Mel when he rapped on the 1984 Chaka Khan hit "I Feel For You":

    Let me take you in my arms
    Let me fill you with my charms, Chaka
    'Cause you know that I'm the one that you keep you warm
  • The song features in the 2000 movie The Family Man in a scene where Nicolas Cage signs it to his wife (Téa Leoni) on her birthday. It also appears in the movies Jackie Brown (1997) and Crooklyn (1994), and in the 2006 episode of The Sopranos, "Luxury Lounge."

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