This was originally released on a local label in Spain in 1993, where it did fairly well. The next year, the American label BMG bought the Spanish label and set out to make "Macarena" a hit in America. They marketed an English language version to dance clubs and cruise ships, then released it as a single in 1995. It was a minor hit until the summer of 1996, when the Macarena dance craze hit America. The song went to #1 in July and stayed there for 14 weeks.
Los Del Rio (Antonio Romeo Monge and Rafael Ruiz) are a Spanish flamenco-pop duo. They were inspired to record this on a trip to Venezuela when they spotted a beautiful flamenco dancer named Diana Patricia. When the song became a hit, she became known in Venezuela as "Macarena."
This was the first hit for Los Del Rio since 1962 and their only hit in the US.
"La Macarena" is one of eight sections (known as "quarters") of Seville, Spain. That's where they got the name.
Macarena is a female name which means "Mother of God."
The song has been remixed many times. The US single was a remix by a Miami-based production team called The Bayside Boys. As with any good dance song sensation (like "The Twist
"), it also spawned spin-offs. Here's a breakdown of the "Macarena"s that charted in America:
Bayside Boys mix (#45 in 1995)
Los Del Rio (the re-release, which went to #1 in 1996)
Los Del Rio [non stop] (#23 in 1996)
Los Del Mar (#71 in 1996 - "Mar" means "sea" in Spanish, while "Rio" is "river")
GrooveGrass Boyz (#107 in 1997 )
"Macarena Christmas" by Los Del Rio (#57 in 1996)
This became a hit in Europe and Latin America in 1995 when it was released on a compilation CD called Macarena Club Cutz.
The meaning of the song changes depending on what mix you are listening to. In the original version, Macarena is upset because her boyfriend, Vitorino, has joined the army. She retaliates by going out on the town and carousing with other men. In the Bayside Boys mix, Macarena gets mad at her boyfriend and goes out to shake it while he's out of town. In this version, she seems to be more promiscuous. The Bayside Boys also made it a first-person account, with the lyrics being the voice of Macarena.
This song stayed in the US Top 100 for 60 weeks, the one-time record for the longest run on the singles chart. In 1998 it was overtaken by LeAnn Rimes' How Do I Live
, which spent 69 weeks in total in the Hot 100. The song's 33-week climb (over two separate chart runs) to the #1 position established the record for the longest journey to the Hot 100's summit.
Los Del Rio is named after the Virgin of Seville, the "Virgin Del Rocio" (Virgin of the Dew), which is equivalent to the Virgin Mary. The members of the group, who don't speak English, were convinced it was a gift of the "Virgin Del Rocio" when this became an international hit.
The chorus translates to English as: "Give your body joy, Macarena, that your body is to give joy and good things."
In the US, this was the biggest dance craze of the 1990s. It was played at weddings, office parties, cruise ships, and just about anywhere there was dancing. Like the earlier dance craze, the "Electric Slide," it was easy to learn and was done in a group, making it perfect for Americans who lacked rhythm.
The world record for the most people performing one dance at the same time was set by 50,000 people in Yankee stadium while dancing the "Macarena."
The Bayside Boys Mix version samples seven seconds in the laughter of Yazoo vocalist Alison Moyet. It was taken from Yazoo's 1982 single "Situation
When the original version hit Miami Beach, local radio station Power 96 was inundated with requests for the Spanish-language tune, but the station excluded songs that weren't recorded in English. DJ Jammin' John Caride managed to sneak an airing at 1:30 am, and the station's program director was hooked. He gave Caride just two days to come up with an English remix, so the DJ brought the track to his friends Carlos De Yarza and Mike Triay (aka The Bayside Boys). The lyrics and melodies were structured in one day. "It's not the same melody," says De Yarza. "A lot of people think the words are a translation, but it's a different song using the Los del Rio chorus."
Even though the Bayside Boys created a polished mix for BMG, the label went with the quickly mixed Power 96 demo version for the single release.
The English lyrics were sung by Carla Vanessa, who went on to join the Miami Sound Machine.
Despite becoming an international phenomenon, the song couldn't bring Los del Rio and the Bayside Boys together. "They seemed to have no interest," De Yarza told Billboard of the song's creators. "We wanted to get together with them."
In Muppets Most Wanted (2014) Miss Piggy, along with two flamingos, sings this to her "Kermitino."