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The song was written and composed by Dan Bălan, and the original version was sung by Bălan, Arsenie Todiraș, and Radu Sârbu. The single was first released in 2003 in Romania, where the group lived and produced at that time, and in the spring of 2004 in most other European countries, where it became a summer hit. In as late as 2006, the song was still in the lower reaches of some Eastern European singles charts.
O-Zone’s version was the most popular across Europe, with the exception of Italy, where it was only known by discogoers. A cover version of the song performed by the Romanian singer Haiducii, who released the song in Europe around the same time, was more popular in Italy and Sweden (it reached number 1 in the singles charts).
“Dragostea Din Tei” has also inspired a number of parody videos distributed over the Internet, most notably Gary Brolsma’s popular “Numa Numa Dance” video in 2004, so named because of the line “nu mă nu mă iei”. The “Numa Numa Dance”, which first appeared on the flash site Newgrounds.com, has become so notable that it has sparked numerous parodies of the video itself in the United States over the years since 2004.
Overall, the single reached number one in over 27 countries and went on to sell upwards of 8 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.