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Macarena is a Spanish song by Los del Río and Fangoria about a woman of the same name, or any woman from the La Macarena neighborhood of Sevillemarker, Spain. It was popular between 1995 and 1996, although it continues to have a cult following to this day.

The song became the second longest running #1 and best selling debut single of all time in the U.S. It was ranked the "#1 Greatest One-Hit Wonder of all Time" by VH1 in 2002.

The song uses a type of clave. The song ranks at #5 on Billboard's All Time Top 100. It also ranks at #1 on Billboard's All Time Latin Songs.

Origin and history

As a result of their lounge act, Los del Río were invited to tour South America in March 1992 and, while visiting Venezuelamarker, they were invited to a private party held by the Venezuelan empresario (of Cuban descent) 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 Cubill√°n Herrera, to do a small performance for the guests, and Los Del Rio were pleasantly surprised by Cubill√°n's dance skills. Spontaneously, Romero recited the song's chorus-to-be on the spot, as an accolade to Cubill√°n, but naming her "Ma'dalena" (Magdalena): "Dale a tu cuerpo alegr√≠a, Ma'dalena, que tu cuerpo e' pa' darle alegr√≠a y cosa' g√ľena'" ("Give your body some joy, Magdalene, 'cause your body is for giving joy and good things too"). 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.

Romero saw potential in the improvised rhyme and, back at their hotel, the duo came up with the basic structure of the song. Since "Magdalena" was also the title of another song by Spanish singer Emmanuel quite popular at the time, Romero suggested that they use "Macarena" instead which, besides being part of the name of one of his daughters, is a popular name in Andalusia, given its association with the Virgin of the Macarena, the incarnation of the Virgin Mary that is a patroness of Seville's barrio La Macarena. The Virgin-Magdalene dichotomy probably explains the rest of the lyrics: a song about a young woman, the girlfriend of a recent recruit to the Spanish Army named Victorino (whose name may be inspired from a kind of bull with long horns, evoking the cornudo, or male victim of his partner's infidelit, a mental image common in Spanish and Latin American culture), who celebrates his being drafted by hooking up with two of his male friends. Macarena has a weakness for males in uniform, spending summers at Marbellamarker, and dreams of shopping at El Corte Inglés (the major Spanish department store chain), moving to New York Citymarker and getting a new boyfriend.

Record breaking and worldwide impact

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 to Los Del Rio. Another version, a new flamenco rumba pop fusion theme with fully Spanish lyrics, attained significant success in Spainmarker and Mexicomarker. It also became popular in Puerto Rico because of its use as an unofficial campaign theme song for then-governor Pedro Rossell√≥, who was seeking reelection under the New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico's ticket. Being the base for many cruise ships, many visitors to the island were constantly exposed to the song during their stay in Puerto Rico. This may explain how the song spread to ‚ÄĒ and became a smash hit in ‚ÄĒ cities with sizeable Latino communities in the United States, particularly Miamimarker and New York Citymarker.

After being remixed by the Bayside Boys and having English lyrics added, it became a worldwide hit in mid-1996. The single spent 14 weeks at number one on the U.S.marker Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, one of the longest runs atop the Hot 100 chart in history. During its heyday, the song was played frequently at professional athletic games, rallies, conventions, and other places. In 1996, many believe a world record for group dancing was set, when a crowd of 50,000 people danced the Macarena in Yankee Stadiummarker in New York Citymarker. The song made such an impact that during the Democratic National Convention in 1996, Al Gore humorously performed his version of the Macarena by standing completely still while the song played.

"Macarena" remained popular through 1996, but by the end of 1997, its popularity had diminished greatly. The song also broke records at the time by remaining in the Hot 100 chart for 60 weeks. 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 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 ‚ÄĒ a full decade after the song's initial release ‚ÄĒ Romero and Ruiz made USD $250,000 in royalties. 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. "

In VH1's 2002 documentary 100 Greatest One-hit Wonders, Macarena was ranked as #1. Macarena was also ranked #1 on a different VH1 documentary, 40 Awesomely Bad No. 1 Songs

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 number two on August 17, 1996. It was kept off the number one spot by the Spice Girls song Wannabe.

Music video

There are two different music videos. The most common music video, directed by Vincent Calvet, was created in 1996, featuring Los del Rio performing on a white backdrop. Ten women are also seen dancing with the band. This version 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.

Notably, there is a diversity of female dancers from all around the world to specifically appeal to the many ethnicities of the world; each of the dancers lip-synch to the female vocals which are done by Carla Vanessa.

Track listings

Australian CD single

  1. "Macarena" (Bayside Boys Remix) - 3:50
  2. "Macarena" (Bass Bumpers Remix - Club Mix) - 5:40
  3. "Macarena" (Pulsar House Mix) - 5:40
  4. "Macarena" (La Mezcla Guerrillera 130 BPM) - 5:35
  5. "Macarena" (River Re-Mix 103 BPM) - 5:02

Christmas version: "Macarena Christmas"

Due to the overwhelming and unimaginable 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.

Official versions

  • "Macarena" (Original) - 4:09
  • "Macarena" (Bayside Boys Remix) - 3:50
  • "Macarena" (Bayside Boys Remix - Original Promo Video Version) - 4:12
  • "Macarena" (Bayside Boys Remix - Video Version) 3:45
  • "Macarena" (Bass Bumpers Remix - Club Mix) - 5:40
  • "Macarena" (Bass Bumpers Radio Remix) - 3:27
  • "Macarena" (DJ Pero Latin Piano Mix) - 5:36
  • "Macarena" (La Mezcla Guerrillera 130 BPM) - 5:35
  • "Macarena" (Pulsar House Mix) - 5:40
  • "Macarena" (River Re-Mix 103 BPM) - 5:02
  • "Macarena Christmas" (Joy Mix) - 4:12
  • "Macarena Christmas" (Joy Mix - Club Version) - 5:44


"Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)"

Chart (1995/6) Peak

Australian ARIA Singles Chart 1
Austrian Top 75 Singles Chart 1
Belgian (Flanders) Ultratop 50 Singles Chart 1
Belgian (Wallonia) Ultratop 40 Singles Chart 1
Dutch Top 40 1
Eurochart Hot 100 1
Finnish Singles Chart 1
French SNEP Singles Chart 1
German Top 100 Singles Chart 1
Irish IRMA Singles Chart 3
Italian FIMI Singles Chart 1
Norwegian VG-Lista Singles Chart 2
Chart (1995/6) Peak

New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 2
Spanish Singles Chart 1
Swedish Singles Chart 2
Swiss Top 100 Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart 2
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream 5
U.S. Billboard Rhythmic Top 40 7
U.S. Billboard Hot Latin Tracks 12
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary 28
U.S. Billboard Adult Top 40 19

"Macarena Christmas"

Chart (1996) Peak

Australian ARIA Singles Chart 5
Finnish Singles Chart 12
French SNEP Singles Chart 34
Norwegian Singles Chart 16
Swedish Singles Chart 40
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 57


A Venezuelan flamenco dance teacher was credited for creating the dance to give her class something to do. The song was associated with a distinctive fast dance. The song originally had no dance, and it eventually caught on with the rest of the world. The Macarena dance is performed in time with the refrain of the song. To perform the dance,
  • One places his/her arms forward, palm down, right arm, then left arm.
  • Then the dancer turns his arms over so that his palms are up, right, then left.
  • The dancer puts his hands on his shoulders, first right hand on left shoulder, then left on right.
  • Then the dancer puts his hands on the back of his head, again right, then left.
  • The dancer then places his arms on his hips, right hand on left hip, then left on right.
  • Then the dancer's hands go on their respective hips or rear end, right then left
  • The routine finishes with a pelvic rotation in time with the line "Ehhhh Macarena!"
  • Then the dancer simultaneously jumps and turns 90 degrees counter clockwise and repeats the same motions throughout the whole song.**

(**The music video of Macarena, however, shows the dancers turning clockwise).

In the most common mix of the song, the dancer should go back to the beginning of the dance at the end of the first verse, in order for the rest of the routine to be in sync with the song.

An alternative version of the dance replaces the pelvic rotation with a series of pelvic thrusts, as shown in the video for Los del Rio's recording of the song. It should also be noted that the dance itself may have been lifted off a performance from the Mindbenders in 1965 in a song called Shotgun, with a very young Jimi Hendrix on guitar. But the moves in the videos for Los Del Rio's versions of the song were different before the Christmas version.

The dancer first put his arm palm down on 1 right then left on 3
  • Then he puts his hands on the back of the head right on 5 then left on 7
  • Then he places his hands on his hips right on 1 and left on 3
  • Then the dancer finishes the routine swaying or rotating his pelvis when it goes, "Ehhiii Macarena!" and this sequence is also repeated throughout the whole song.

Los Del Mar version

The song was also covered by Los del Mar (feat. Pedro Casta√Īo), which was first released in 1995 and then again at the same time as the original in the United Kingdommarker and Australia in the hope of fooling people into buying their version by mistake, which could easily happen because the versions were very similar, thus difficult to distinguish. In the UK it only reached #43 in the charts (but remained charted for almost two months); however, the Los del Rio version peaked at number two. In Australia, the Los del Mar version was more successful and peaked at number two whilst the Los del Rio version was still at number one. In Canada, the Los del Mar version was quite popular on MuchMusicmarker and top 40 radio in the spring of 1995, eclipsing the later popularity of the original.

Track listings

Australian CD Single
  1. "Macarena" (Radio Mix) - 3:49
  2. "Macarena" (Bola Mix) - 6:08

Official versions

  • "Macarena" (Radio Mix) - 3:49
  • "Macarena" (Bola Mix) - 6:08
  • "Macarena Mix '96"

Remixes and parodies

  • Also in 1997, on Animaniacs, Dot The Macadamia Nut was the song for an episode, it was a parody of Macarena.


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