On this day in music history: August 3, 1996 – “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” by Los del Río hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks. Written by Rafael Ruiz Perdigones, Antonio Romero Monge and SWK, it is the biggest hit for the Latin Pop vocal duo from Dos Hermanas, Seville, Spain. Best friends since the age of 14, Rafael Ruiz and Antonio Romero begin performing together in the early 60’s. While touring South America in 1992, the duo attend a party in Caracas, Venezuela. During the evening, Ruiz and Romero notice a beautiful flamenco dancer. Speaking to her afterward, Ruiz tells the young woman, “give joy to your body, Macarena, for your body is there to give joy and good things”. The name refers to a neighborhood in Seville, named after a revered woman in Spain’s history. As a result, Macarena is also a popular girls name among Spaniards. The original version appears on their album “A Mi Me Gusta” in 1993, becoming hit in several Latin countries, and in Miami in the US. DJ Jammin Johnny Caride of radio station Power 96, begins to get requests during his gigs at the Baja Beach Club in Coconut Grove. Caride wants to spin the record on the air, but initially cannot, due to the stations policy only playing English language songs. Caride is able to persuade assistant program director Kid Curry to allow him to play it on the air once, at 1:30 am. Curry tells program director Frank Walsh about the song, who then requests a remix in English. Caride calls on his friends Carlos De Yarza and Mike Triay to quickly remix it. They write a new melody and English lyrics, recruiting jingle singer Patricia Alfaro to sing on the track. Once on the air at Power 96, public reaction is immediate. Dubbed the Bayside Boys after their Miami recording studio, they are deluged with offers from labels wanting to release the remix. Since Los del Rio are signed to BMG International, it is released by RCA Records on August 15, 1995. Once released, the song does not become a hit overnight. Entering the Hot 100 at #70 on September 2, 1995, it climbs as high as #45 holding in the lower half of the chart, before falling off at #71 eighteen weeks later. Off the Hot 100 for sixteen weeks, like Lazarus it suddenly rises from its dormant state when WKTU in New York adds the record. Re-entering the chart at #47 on July 6, 1996, it climbs to the top of the chart twelve weeks later, finally topping the chart in its 33rd week. “Macarena” makes Los del Rio unlikely international pop stars, with the music video featuring several beautiful young ladies performing the simple dance made up to go along with the song becoming a sensation. The song and dance are a worldwide phenomenon, becoming one of the biggest pop cultural phenomenons since “The Twist” in the 1960’s. In all, “Macarena” spends a record breaking 60 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, selling more than eleven million copies worldwide. “Macarena” is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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