Lou Bega’s “Mambo No. 5,” a 1999 smash that topped the pop charts in most global territories, is one of the most love-it-or-hate-it songs of all time — Stephen King’s wife definitely falls in the latter camp. The author recently spoke to Rolling Stone to promote his latest novel, “Holly,” and revealed his wife once threatened to divorce him due to his love of the infamous track.
“Oh, yeah. Big time,” King said when asked if the rumors about his love for “Mambo No. 5” are true. “My wife threatened to divorce me. I played that a lot.”
More from Variety
“I had the dance mix,” the author continued. “I loved those extended play things and I played both sides of it. And one of them was just total instrumental. And I played that thing until my wife just said, ‘One more time, and I’m going to fucking leave you.’”
King must’ve stopped, as he’s been happily married to Tabitha King since 1971. The couple has three children together, including the writers Joe Hill and Owen King. The author said his wife’s ultimatum arrived while he was writing “11/22/63,” his 2011 novel about a time traveller who tries to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
“Mambo No. 5,” recorded by Bega, a German singer, was rooted in a 1949 instrumental single by Dámaso Pérez Prado that Bega sampled for his rewritten vocal rendition, which called out women’s names (“A little bit of Monica…”). It was the performer’s only significant hit, peaking at No. 3 in the U.S. while going all the way to No. 1 in the U.K., Canada, Italy, France and more than 20 other countries.
King detailed more of his daily listening in the interview. “When I write, there are things that I can listen to a lot,” he said. “And a lot of it is techno stuff or disco stuff, but techno in particular. There’s this group called LCD Soundsystem, and I love that. Fatboy Slim is somebody else. I can just listen to that stuff. If you tried to write and listen to Leonard Cohen, how the fuck would you do that? Because you’d have to listen to the words and you’d have to listen to what he’s saying. But with some of the techno stuff, or KC and the Sunshine Band, Gloria Gaynor, it’s all good.”
What is King currently listening to? “Lately, I think that I’ve been sort of stuck on Foghat and Bob Seger, people like that,” he said. “But I’ve also been listening to a fair amount of country music. So a lot of Travis Tritt and Alan Jackson, people like that.”
King’s new book, “Holly,” is now available for purchase.
Best of Variety