La Cucaracha

La Cucaracha is a traditional folk song from Spain with unclear origins. Some sources suggest that it dates back to the Middle Ages, but the song is a “corrido” which means that the lyrics were regularly changed to reflect the politics, culture, or cause of the day. Because of these many different versions, it’s impossible to trace the song’s full history with any accuracy.

It was during the Mexican Revolution in 1910 that La Cucaracha became extremely popular. The lyrics about a cockroach missing a leg are said to represent President Victoriano Huerta, but to children, it’s just a nonsensical song about a bug! 

The tune is very catchy, and the song has been given different English lyrics many times. It has a few verses in the original Spanish version, and each one is just as silly as the last, telling the tale of a cockroach in a kitchen who loses a leg in each verse. 

La Cucaracha Lyrics

La cucaracha, la cucaracha,
ya no puede caminar
porque no tiene,
porque le falta
las dos patitas de atrás.

Dicen que la cucaracha
Es un animal pequeño
Y cuando entra en una casa
Se tiene que quedar dueño.


Cuando uno quiere a una
Y esta una no lo quiere,
Es lo mismo que si un calvo
En la calle encuentra un peine


Mi vecina de ahí enfrente
Se llamaba Doña Clara,
Y si no se hubiera muerto
Aún así se llamara.


Cuando Rita se bañaba
En el río San Fernando
Le picó la cucaracha
Pero ella siguió nadando.

La Cucaracha English Lyrics

The cockroach, the cockroach,
Can’t walk anymore
Because it doesn’t have,
Because it’s missing
Two little back legs.

People they say the cockroach
Is a very small animal
And when it gets into a house,
It’ll soon be the master of it all.


When a boy loves a girl
And she doesn’t love him back
It’s the same as if a bald man
Finds a comb on the railroad track*.


My neighbor across the street
Had Lady Claire as her name
And if she hadn’t died
She still would be called the same.


When Rita was bathing
In the San Fernando River
The cockroach stung her
But she kept on swimming.


La Cucaracha Music Sheet