The Secret Porn History of Mahna Mahna

Mahna Manah muppetsAlmost everyone is familiar with the Mahna Mahna song (sometimes written as Ma Na Ma Na).

You know, the nonsense one that goes “Manah manah – do do do do do…” Most of us know it via the crazy-haired hip Muppet who is accompanied by two pink cow-things.

Thanks to this Wikipedia entry, I now know the song’s origin, and I have to say, it’s a bit of a shock.

The song was written in 1968 by Swedish composer Piero Umiliani for an X-rated “shockumentary” film called Svezia, Inferno e Paradiso (Sweden, Hell and Heaven). The film looked at the sex lives of the Swedish and was banned in that country for being too explicit. It featured scenes shot at wife-swapping parties and lesbian nightclubs. The original version of Mahna Mahna was played over a scene featuring lesbian BDSM.

The song has been covered numerous times but was only a hit in 1977 after it appeared on The Muppet Show soundtrack.

A more comprehensive history of the song can be found at this page, run by Peter McLennan.

Seems that Jim Henson may well have known the origins of the song but chose to use it anyway, mainly because he liked it.

Piero Umiliani passed away in 2001, but the original soundtrack has been re-released and is available via Amazon.

Watch the original Muppet Show version at YouTube. And try not to think of lesbian BDSM.