The most 1996 song ever
Everybody was doing the Macarena. But in San Diego, people were dancing to a different song.
In 1996, everybody was doing the Macarena.
The Spanish dance song by Los Del Rio, which told a story about a woman named Macarena, was all over the radio and also came with an obnoxious, silly, stupid dance that saw you sticking out your hands, flipping over your palms, placing your hands on your shoulders and head and hips, shaking back and forth, then jumping and rotating to your left and starting all over again ...
While America had Macarena fever, Ken Caminiti was having the best season of his career. And there happened to be a SoCal radio personality named Glenn Erath who was known for coming up with San Diego-inspired lyrics to popular songs. And wouldn't you know it, Macarena and Caminiti have the same number of syllables.
So Erath started writing some lyrics -- the song "Hey Caminiti" pretty much wrote itself.
Hey, there's a man that we know him Caminiti
He can dive, he can slide, and he's piling up the ribbies
The MVP playing here in our city
"That thing probably took me all of, maybe half an hour to write," Erath told me. "A lot of times, I would create the music track. In that particular case, I just used the karaoke version of the Macarena and put (Hey Caminiti) on top of that. In fact, if you listen closely on that song, I think in the background you might hear them saying 'Hey, Macarena.' We overcame that with the volume."
Even with the quick turnaround time and rudimentary production process, the song resonated with fans. Pretty soon, "Hey Caminiti" was a regional hit.
There were even special dance moves unique to the Caminiti-themed song.
While Padres fans enjoyed "Hey Caminiti," the song made Ken uncomfortable. He wasn’t used to being singled out like this. He was part of a team.
But 1996 was a year for the Macarena, and for Caminiti. They got people dancing and shaking and wishing the music would never end.