On August 3rd in 1996 a song made it to the top of the “Billboard” pop chart and stayed there for 33 weeks! Not in the top 10, but in the number one spot. The song was on the “Billboard Hot 100” for a record 60 weeks. Longer than any other song in the chart’s history. y la canción que fue número uno durante 33 semanas? (And which song was number one for 33 weeks?) It was a song written and performed by a group from South America, “Los del Rio.”
Never heard of them? They were two middle-aged Spaniards that had been playing music together since 1962, Antonio Ramirez and Rafael Ruiz. Wait, a Spanish group was on the pop charts for a record-breaking 60 weeks? Not the Beatles, not U2, not Nirvana, not Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson, Madonna or Mariah Carey, but Los del Rio?
It was also unprecedented because the song was entirely in Spanish when DJ “Jammin’ John” Caride of Miami’s “Power 96 FM” wanted to add the song to his rotation. The station managers balked. It was against station policy to play songs only in Spanish. In Miami? What? So Carlos Alberto De Yarza and Mike Triay, a couple of producers, wrote and added some English language verses and a female voice for Macarena. They remixed the tune, got it in the clubs, and within days it was a smash in and around Miami.
Add a little dance routine to the mix, with accompanying video and voila’, instant Macarena madness. Yes, “Macarena (Bayside Boy Mix)” debuted at number one on August 3, 1996. I personally own a music CD with 13 versions of that very song. Yep, I’m admitting it, but I’m going to tell you why I have it.
As most all of you probably know, you can’t go to a Christmas party, or a wedding reception, or a bar mitzvah for that matter, where the DJ doesn’t “spin” the “Macarena” along with the “Chicken Dance.” That one where you put your right foot in, and, yeah… Well, my wife L-O-V-E-S to dance the Macarena. If we’re leaving a reception or a party and it comes on, off she runs. She does it perfectly and others try to follow her. Its’ fun to watch, so I thought, one day, that I would buy the party mix CD in case we had a party, and I wanted to play DJ, and put the song on for a patio macarena.
One Saturday afternoon, my daughter, my wife and I decided to spice up life in the trailer park. We were on a corner street in the park, so we had living room windows facing two directions. We started picking out songs from my vast collection of CDs and playing them overly loud so they could be heard for a ways. I would put one on, and say, “Remember when this song was number one?!” mimicking the best impression I had of Wolfman Jack. We were dancing around and….of course….I was having a few drinks. We were getting louder and louder.
After a while I noticed a crowd was gathering outside the window in the street. Mostly kids my daughter’s age, friends of hers, but there were some older people too, kind of milling around the corner, listening to the music. So I thought, perfect time to break out the Macarena. So that’s what I did.
The entire street burst into dance. Like one of those flash dances. It was fantastic. My wife and daughter ran out in the street to join them. I played four of five different versions of the song on the CD and they never stopped. I finally got tired of it.
So maybe you can turn up the stereo one Saturday, open the window and put the Macarena on. See if anybody in the neighborhood stops to dance.
Now I can’t get that damn song out of my head. WTF Here’s the original version.