Mah Na Mah Na is a well-known song, written in 1968 by Piero Umiliani as a soundtrack for the softcore documentary Svezia, Inferno e Paradiso ("Sweden, Hell or Heaven") about sexual activity in Sweden. The song was a hit in many countries including the USA in 1968-9. The song's "lyric" has no actual words, just a series of vocal sounds imitative of scat singing.
In 1969 it was recorded by Henri Salvador under the title "Mais Non, Mais Non", with lyrics he had written in French to Umiliani's tune.
The song subsequently became familiar to many from its rendition on the Muppet Show and Sesame Street. It was performed in 1976 by the Muppets as "Mahna Mahna", and credited to "Manah Manah and the Snowths". As a result, the original Piero Umiliani recording finally became a hit in the UK, where the Muppet Show soundtrack album featuring the Muppets' version went to number one. The alt.tv.muppets FAQ considers "Mahna Mahna" to be the best Muppet sketch ever. The Muppet version of the song is available on various Muppet collections and recordings.
The song has resurfaced in many guises. The Muppets' comeback series Muppets Tonight revisited it as a parody using the word "phenomena" in place of the title; it also featured in an episode of the sitcomThe Office and formed the basis for a 1997 UK hit single, "No Way No Way" by Vanilla.
This song -- available for purchase on the Muppets 25th Anniversary CD -- is another good example of the Hipsters vs Squares dynamic, with the passionate MahnaMahna annoying the square girl singers by busting out with unrehearsed freeform jazz riffs.
MahnaMahna's got a noisy drum set, and the snobby musicians try to silence him so they can play their Beethoven suite.
MahnaMahna's last public appearance was at the Muppet Show Live show in 2001, still performing his classic hit.
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