One Year: 1995

Season 2: Episode 6

Hey Macarena!

A musical phenomenon that wormed its way into our brains, and maybe never left.


Episode Notes

In the mid-1990s, a bilingual pop song brought a huge amount of joy to a huge number of people. And then, very quickly, the Macarena became a cultural pariah.

This episode of One Year was produced by Evan Chung, Madeline Ducharme, and Josh Levin. Mixing by Merritt Jacob.

Sources for This Episode


Cobo, Leila. Decoding “Despacito”: An Oral History of Latin Music. Penguin Random House, 2021.

Russell, Melinda. “ ‘Give Your Body Joy, Macarena’: Aspects of U.S. Participation in the ‘Latin’ Dance Craze of the 1990s.” In From Tejano to Tango, edited by Walter Aaron Clark, Routledge, 2002.


Alice, Matthew. “Macarena—Its Origin, Its Song, Its Saint,” San Diego Reader, Dec. 19, 1996.

Anderson, Trevor. “Chart Rewind: In 1996, the ‘Macarena’ Craze Captured the Hot 100,” Billboard, Aug. 3, 2021.

Cabrera, Cloe. “They’re Movin’, They’re Groovin’, They’re Dancin’ … ‘La Macarena’!” Tampa Tribune, April 20, 1996.

del Amo, Sergio. “The Making of ‘Macarena,’ the Spanish Smash Hit That Got the World Dancing,” El País, July 8, 2021.

DeVault, Russ. “ ‘Macarena’ in Step With Dance-Mad Fans,” Atlanta Constitution, Jan. 23, 1996.

Farber, Jim. “It’s Macarena Mania!” New York Daily News, June 10, 1996.

Garay, Adriana. “Dan ‘Macarenazo’ en Mexico,” Reforma, June 1, 1995.

“Infectious Dance Craze Triggers Latin Hip-Hop Fever,” Desert Sun, Jan. 1, 1996.

Lannert, John. “Tale of ‘Macarena’ and Her Sisters,” Billboard, July 29, 1995.

Llewellyn, Howell. “BMG’s ‘Macarena’ Fever Spreads Around the World,” Billboard, July 27, 1996.

Lopetegui, Enrique. “With ‘Macarena,’ Los del Rio Are Dancing on Air,” Los Angeles Times, Aug. 19, 1996.

Maldonado, Vilma. “Dancing the Night Away: Tejano Music Hit ‘La Macarena’ Explodes Into Valley Dance Craze,” McAllen Monitor, Sept. 17, 1995.

Martín, Laura. “La Verdadera Historia de la Canción Más Grande del Mundo,” Vanity Fair Spain, Sept. 9, 2015.

Martin, Lydia. “Has La Macarena Gone Too Far?” Miami Herald, Jan. 15, 1996.

Mena, Jennifer. “ ‘Macarena’ Fever,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Nov. 27, 1995.

Navarro, Mireya. “Macarena Madness Now Has the Floor,” New York Times, Dec. 27, 1995.

Navarro, Mireya. “The Song That Launched a Thousand Cruise Ships,” New York Times, Sept. 1, 1996.

Pareles, Jon. “The Dance Within the Hit Parade,” New York Times, Aug. 31, 1996.

Powell, Betsy. “Macarena Madness Swept Canada Before U.S.,” Canadian Press, Sept. 2, 1996.

Rowe, Jonathan. “Return of the Mac: A Quarter-Century of the Macarena,” Spin, Aug. 3, 2021.

San Martin, Nancy. “Macarena Has U.S. Swaying,” South Florida Sun Sentinel, Aug. 30, 1996.

Sherman, Maria. “ ‘The Macarena’ and the History of Viral Dance Music That Predicted TikTok,” Jezebel, March 5, 2021.

Stout, Gene. “KUBE Says Enough Already to the ‘Macarena,’ ” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sept. 13, 1996.


About the Show

The people and struggles that changed America—one year at a time. In each episode, host Josh Levin explores a story you may have forgotten, or one you’ve never heard of before. What were the moments that transformed politics, culture, science, religion, and more? And how does the nation’s past shape our present?

The new season of One Year covers 1995, a year when homegrown terrorists attacked Oklahoma City, America went online, and the Macarena took over nightclubs.

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