Jessica Shaw
July 12, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

It’s a summer recipe even Martha Stewart couldn’t concoct: a chunk of cheesiness and a dash of foreign spice blended together with some not-so-fancy arm and foot work. The result is the Macarena, a peppy dance rap that’s spawned one of the most global line dances since the hustle.

Currently in the top five on Billboard‘s singles chart, ”Macarena” (pronounced ma-ca-RAY-na) is no electric slide. Originally released in Spain in 1993 by the Seville-based duo Los Del Rio, it didn’t click in the U.S. until a remix by Miami’s Bayside Boys (along with dance how-tos) landed on RCA’s dance compilation Macarena Club Cutz. But it isn’t just an urban dance craze: Macarena mania has hokey-pokeyed into middle America with a following among the day-care set (ask any 5-year-old about it) and cruise-goers alike. ”It’s one of those things that makes everyone have a good time,” says Brenda Richardson of Carnival Cruise Lines, on whose ships the ditty plays 8 to 10 times a night. ”We used to do ‘Hot, Hot, Hot,’ but this is more popular.” Even the Pope may have aided the Macarena’s mass appeal — he personally blessed Los Del Rio’s Antonio Romero Monge and Rafael Ruiz in 1994. ”It’s a miracle!” Monge says. ”Everyone around the world is coming together and dancing the Macarena.”

RCA execs think it’s not just a novelty song. ”It’ll come back next summer,” says RCA’s Butch Waugh. ”It’s rare that a song instantly gets your butt out of the chair.” After all, that’s what it’s all about.

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