Ed Sheeran recently revealed the inspiration for his new collaborations album, and he’s facing some major backlash for it. The singer explained in an interview with Charlamagne Tha God that his project with fellow artists began when he got the idea to record an all-male version of the empowering women’s tune “Lady Marmalade.”Although it is unclear if Sheeran actually did include a recording of the song on his upcoming album, titled N0. 6 Collaborations Project, fans aren’t thrilled about the thought of recreating a “masterpiece.”
“This is such a silly idea. I had an idea of doing [‘Lady Marmalade’]. Like you could get Bruno [Mars], [Justin] Bieber and me on a record. How fun would that be?” he said to the radio personality, according to NME.
“Lady Marmalade” was originally recorded by pop group Labelle in 1974 on their album Nightbirds. At the time, it reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100 chart. The track has been covered several times over the years, but one of the more notable versions was recorded by Pink, Christina Aguilera, Maya, and Lil Kim in 2001 for the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack.
The 2001 recording reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 album as well and remained there for five weeks. It quickly became one of the most beloved musical collaborations of its time.
Fans took to Twitter after hearing the news to express disappointment in Sheeran’s idea.
“I literally cannot think of anything worse than a male version of ‘lady marmalade,'” one person said, according to Entertainment Tonight.
— W magazine (@wmag) May 29, 2019
Another fan threatened to “break the fourth wall and screech into the camera that’s recording this sick joke of a comedy sketch” if the cover is released.
Some pointed out that the singers “can’t mess with perfection,” while others saw the cover as a means to take away something that empowers women.
“Can’t we let women have one thing? One, phenomenal, power anthem? Why do men always have to ruin everything?” one person asked via Twitter.
Sheeran later explained to Charlamagne that he called Mars and Bieber to record individual singles with each of them. The singer recently released his first collaboration from the record, “I Don’t Care” with Bieber, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
He did not say if a new recording of “Lady Marmalade” will appear on the album — perhaps he only meant that the collaborations album as a whole is similar to the “Lady Marmalade” project. Given the negative reaction from fans, he may be better off without the cover.