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Mambo no 5 was originally written and performed by Perez Prado who is sometimes credited with creating the Mambo rhythm and called the King of Mambo (not to be confused with Tito Puente who is the Mambo King). It was released on the b-side of his first 78 rpm single Que Rico el Mambo.

Mambo no 5 was rearranged by Lou Bega and released as a dance single in 1999 and on the ironically named A Little Bit of Mambo album. (Ironic because there is not even a little bit of Mambo in the album.) Perez Prado's mambo was always on the swinging side with tight percussion and heavy brass section, but Lou Bega's Mambo no 5 has crossed the line completely and is more suited to swing dancing than to mambo.

The original Mambo no 5 and its companion Mambo no 8 (which can be heard during the opening credits of Office Space) had no lyrics. Lou Bega replaced the brass sections with synthesizers and added somewhat bawdy lyrics.