Macarena (song)

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"Macarena"

One of 1993 early releases
Single by Los del Río
from the album A mí me gusta and Fiesta Macarena
Released August 15, 1995 (U.S.)
Format CD, 7", 12", cassette[1]
Recorded 1992
Genre Dance-pop, flamenco
Length 3:51 (Bayside Boys Mix)
Label RCA
Writer(s) Rafael Ruiz Perdigones, Antonio Romero Monge
Producer(s) Los del Río
Certification 3× Platinum (RIAA)
4× Platinum (ARIA)
Los del Río singles chronology
"Macarena"
(1995)

"Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)"
(1995)
"Macarena Christmas"
(1996)

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"Macarena" (Spanish pronunciation: [makaˈɾena]) is a Spanish dance song by Los del Río about a woman of the same name. Appearing on the 1994 album A mí me gusta, it was an international hit in 1995, 1996, and 1997, and continues to have a cult following. One of the most iconic of 1990s dance music, it was ranked the "#1 Greatest One-Hit Wonder of all Time" by VH1 in 2002.

The song uses a type of clave rhythm. The song ranks at No. 7 on Billboard's All Time Top 100. It also ranks at No. 1 on Billboard's All Time Latin Songs.[2][3] It is also Billboard's No. 1 dance song and one of six foreign language songs to hit No. 1 since 1955's modern rock era began.

Origin and history[edit]

As a result of their lounge act, Los del Río were invited to tour South America in March 1992 and, while visiting Venezuela, they were invited to a private party held by the Venezuelan empresario Gustavo Cisneros. Many prominent Venezuelans were in attendance that night, including former president Carlos Andrés Pérez.

Cisneros had arranged for a local flamenco teacher, Diana Patricia Cubillán Herrera, to do a small performance for the guests, and Los Del Rio were pleasantly surprised by Cubillán's dance skills. Spontaneously, Antonio Romero Monge, one half of the Los del Río duo, recited the song's chorus-to-be on the spot, as an accolade to Cubillán, but naming her "Ma'dalena" (Magdalena): "Dale a tu cuerpo alegría, Ma'dalena, que tu cuerpo e' pa' darle alegría y cosa' buena'" ("Give your body some joy, Magdalene, 'cause your body is for giving joy and good things to"). In Andalusian culture labeling a woman "Magdalena" is to give her a faint association with Mary Magdalene's reportedly seedy past, and more accurately describes her as being sassy or sensuous.[4]

Record breaking and worldwide impact[edit]

The song was originally recorded in 1992, and released in 1993 as a rumba. This was the first of six versions of the song that can be associated with Los Del Rio. Another version, a new flamenco rumba pop fusion theme with fully Spanish lyrics, attained significant success in Spain, Colombia and Mexico. It also became popular in Puerto Rico because of its use as an unofficial campaign theme song for then-governor Pedro Rosselló, who was seeking reelection under the New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico's ticket. Being the base for many cruise ships, visitors to the island were constantly exposed to the song during their stay in Puerto Rico. This may explain how the song spread to—and became a hit in—cities with sizable Latino communities in the United States, particularly Miami and New York City.

English-language remix[edit]

In mid-1996, the song became a world wide hit when the Bayside Boys—a trio of producers composed of Mike Triay, Carlos de Yarza, and Jammin Johnny Caride—produced a remix of the song which added English lyrics.[5] Jammin Johnny Caride, a radio personality at Power 96 in Miami, first learned of the "Macarena" when clubgoers at a club where he worked as a deejay requested the song.[5] Caride brought the "Macarena" to his supervisors at Power 96 who asked him to create an English-language version of the song.[5]

Caride recruited his two partners at Bayside Records, Mike "In The Night" Triay and Carlos de Yarza, to remix the original song.[5] The new, English-language lyrics were written by Yarza and Triay. The trio, known as the Bayside Boys, added a new dance beat specifically targeted to American audiences with English-language lyrics sung by Carla Vanessa.[5] The finished version was called "Macarena (Bayside Boys Remix)."[5] The Bayside Boys remix hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1996 and remained at the top of the chart for fourteen weeks.[5]

Popularity[edit]

The reworked "Macarena (Bayside Boys Remix)" spent 14 weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart,[5] one of the longest runs atop the Hot 100 chart in history. The single spent its final week at No. 1 on its 46th week on the chart, recorded as the latest No. 1 single in Hot 100 history. During its heyday, the song was played frequently at professional athletic games, rallies, conventions, and other places. Many[who?] believe that a world record for group dancing was set in 1996, when a crowd of 50,000 people danced the Macarena in Yankee Stadium in New York City.

"Macarena" remained popular through 1996, but by the end of 1997, its popularity had diminished. The song stayed in the Hot 100 chart for 60 weeks, the longest reign among No. 1 songs, only surpassed fifteen years later by Adele's "Rolling in the Deep". The Bayside Boys remix includes a sample from Yazoo (also known in the United States as Yaz) track Situation—the laughter of Yazoo vocalist Alison Moyet. In Addition, the chorus utilized female vocal samples utilized by The Farm in their song "Higher and Higher (Remix)" from their album, Spartacus. The Bayside Boys toured the U.S. and the world, and featured singer Carla Vanessa.

By 1997, the song had sold 11 million copies. While having only a 25% take in royalties from the song, Romero and Ruiz became immensely wealthy. According to the BBC News Service, during the year 2003 alone—a full decade after the song's initial release—Romero and Ruiz made USD$250,000 in royalties.[6] Julio Iglesias is quoted as congratulating the duo personally: "My success singing in English from Miami is nothing compared to yours; coming out of Dos Hermanas with little international exposure elsewhere and selling these many records in Spanish takes two huge sets of cojones."[7]

In VH1's 2002 documentary 100 Greatest One-hit Wonders, "Macarena" was ranked as No. 1. "Macarena" was also ranked No. 1 on a different VH1 documentary, 40 Awesomely Bad No. 1 Songs. Most recently, in 2010, Matthew Wilkening of AOL Radio ranked the song at No. 10 on the list of the 100 Worst Songs Ever while giving out an order: "First: Place your arm straight out in front of you at shoulder height, palm facing down. Then: Punch the DJ."[8]

On America's Best Dance Crew, it was danced to on the Whack Track Challenge, given to the Ringmasters.

In the United Kingdom the song was released in June 1996 and peaked at No. 2 on August 17, 1996.[9] It was kept off the No. 1 spot by the Spice Girls song "Wannabe".[10]

1996 Democratic Convention[edit]

In the United States, the song, and its corresponding Macarena dance, became popular during the same week as the 1996 Democratic National Convention. The song was frequently played between activities, and large groups of delegates and other attendants would be seen doing the Macarena dance. The song and dance became such a part of the convention that Vice President Al Gore, having a reputation for stiffness, made a joke about doing the Macarena dance during his speech. He said, "I would like to demonstrate for you the Al Gore version of the Macarena", then remained motionless for a few seconds, and eventually asked, "Would you like to see it again?"

Music videos[edit]

There are two different music videos. The most common one, based on the Bayside Boys Mix and directed by French director Vincent Calvet, was created in 1996, featuring Los del Rio performing on a white backdrop. Ten women are also seen dancing with the band. Among them are Mia Frye, who choreographed the video, as well as a then unknown Tracee Ellis Ross. This version, where nine of the ten women lip sync the English lyrics, samples a line from The Graduate ("I am not trying to seduce you!") which was later removed due to possible copyright issues. The other, similar version of the music video was in black and white and was more instructional in that the women and men are clearly shown performing the specific dance moves.

"Macarena Christmas"
Single by Los del Río
Released 1996
Format CD, 12"[11]
Recorded 1996
Genre Dance-pop, Latin pop
Length 4:04
Label RCA
Writer(s) Romero Monge, Rafael Ruiz
Producer(s) Los del Río
Los del Río singles chronology
"Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)"
(1995)
"Macarena Christmas"
(1996)
"Baila Baila"
(1999)

Christmas version: "Macarena Christmas"[edit]

Due to the overwhelming success of the song, a Christmas version of the song was created for the 1996 Christmas Season. It involved the original song with short lines from classic Christmas carols (specifically incorporating: "Joy to the World," "Jingle Bells," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "White Christmas" and "Auld Lang Syne") in between the popular verses.

In the music video, the young female dancers wear Christmas colored attire but there are nine of them compared to the ten dancers in the original. For the sequence featuring a new routine (the one being commonly used today), eight of them are shown with one of them being switched with a ninth dancer at times throughout the chorus.[12]

Charts and certifications[edit]