Fandango craze: WWE's musical mastermind discusses origins of 'Fandangoing'
You’ve heard it in arenas, you’ve hummed it at work and you might even be singing it in the shower. “ChaChaLaLa” is upon us, and regardless of how you feel about ballroom dancer-turned-Superstar Fandango, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that his infectious entrance theme has sparked an aural pandemic amid the WWE Universe … and there’s no vaccine in sight.
Longtime WWE composer Jim Johnston hardly thought he had a hit on his hands late last year, when he was asked to write a tune for a forthcoming Superstar who was attuned to the art of salsa dancing as well as suplexes.
In less than an hour, WWE’s resident maestro laid the foundation for the theme that would ultimately herald the WWE arrival of the sequined Superstar, who delayed his official in-ring debut until his WrestleMania clash with Chris Jericho. The Show of Shows–worthy song pulls from what Johnston calls a “percussive kitchen sink,” including congas, timbales, tambourines and shakers, but it’s the stabby brass line that brings the entire piece together.
“The brass part — which brings out the melody that people have been singing along with — is a real hallmark of this type of music,” Johnston explained.
It was that melody that reverberated throughout the IZOD Center on Raw the Monday after WrestleMania, when hordes of rowdy WWE Universe members from around the world hummed “ChaChaLaLa” all night and continued the musical revelry in the parking lot after the show.
“[My assistant] Meghan said on Tuesday morning, ‘You’ve got to see this thing on YouTube,’ and thought she was going to show me someone’s pet doing backflips or something.” Johnston said, describing his initial exposure to the “Fandangoing” phenomenon that has spread everywhere from subway trains to Major League Baseball games to NFL cheerleading camps. “The whole crowd at Raw was out of their minds singing this thing. These people are nuts. I mean, good nuts.”
“It’s high time someone gave her a run for her money,” Johnston said in jest of Fandango’s burgeoning iTunes rivalry with the 23-year-old Grammy Award–winning pop idol. “That’s actually why I wrote this song.”
All kidding aside, Johnston — who has composed themes for such iconic Superstars as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock and The Undertaker — is simultaneously flattered and baffled by “ChaChaLaLa’s” bizarre surge in popularity, and looks forward to hearing where the WWE Universe takes it next.
“When we can show people a good time, that’s the ultimate home run,” Johnston affirmed. “I think that kind of crowd participation thing where everyone is comfortable enough to sing, whether you can sing or not, or dance whether you can dance or not, that’s as good as it gets.”