The following tracks have left a permanent imprint in the history of Latin music. Their celebrated notes and lyrics have inspired several generations across the Latin world and beyond. In one way or the other, each one of these songs has been embraced by different artists, cultures and music fans across the globe.
Besides this global appeal, the following compilation provides a good sample of the richness and diversity that surrounds Latin music. In fact, these songs belong to different genres ranging from Bolero and Bossa Nova to Tango and traditional musical expressions from the Americas.
Younger generations may be unfamiliar with some of these songs. However, not a single contemporary hit could even match the impact and influence of any of the following tracks. From "La Bamba" to "Oye Como Va," the following are the top 10 Latin songs of all time.
10. "La Bamba"
This is one of the most famous Mexican folk songs in history. Its title is related to a traditional dance from Veracruz, Mexico. In spite of this origin, "La Bamba" became a worldwide sensation with the Rock and Roll version recorded in 1958 by the legendary Mexican-American singer Ritchie Valens. In 1987, the popular band Los Lobos recorded the most memorable version of this song for the movie La Bamba.Listen / Download / Purchase
One of the most popular styles of traditional Latin music is the South American genre known as Andean music. Out of all the songs in this field, the Peruvian track "El Condor Pasa" is by far the most famous one. This beautiful song gained lots of exposure around the world with the famous English version recorded by Simon and Garfunkel.Listen / Download / Purchase
This is probably the most famous Cuban song ever written in history. Although the controversy surrounding its authorship has never been resolved, it is widely believed the lyrics of this song were inspired by the writings of the Cuban poet and hero Jose Marti. The song's most famous version belongs to the legendary Queen of Salsa Celia Cruz.Listen / Download / Purchase
Back in 1955, a talented bandoneon player named Astor Piazzolla introduced the so-called Nuevo Tango, a music style influenced by Jazz that changed forever the sounds of traditional Tango. Astor Piazzolla and his invention took the world by storm, and his single "Libertango" came to define the sounds of contemporary Tango. This instrumental track offers some of the most suggestive notes ever written in Latin music.Listen / Download / Purchase
Although this Bolero track is often regarded as one of the most romantic songs ever recorded in Latin music, the story behind this timeless hit is quite sad. The Panamanian songwriter Carlos Eleta Almaran wrote this song to cheer up his brother after the death of his wife. "Historia De Un Amor" is one of those songs that probably every single Latin artist has sung at some point. Definitely, an all-time hit.Listen / Download / Purchase
Known in English as "The Peanut Vendor," this song is another jewel from Cuba. The legendary Cuban singer Rita Montaner recorded it for the first time back in 1927. Thanks to this track, Afro-Cuban Rumba was exposed to audiences all over the world. Apart from the famous recordings of the 1930s, "El Manisero" was also played by famous Jazz musicians including Stan Kenton and Louis Armstrong.Listen / Download / Purchase
This song is the most famous Bossa Nova piece from the fruitful collaboration between Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, two of the most influential Brazilian artists in history. Known in Portuguese as "Garota De Ipanema," this song became a worldwide sensation with the 1963 version produced by Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto and Astrud Gilberto. "The Girl From Ipanema" has been recorded by some of the most famous stars in the world including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Madonna.
Who has not heard this one? "La Cucaracha" is one of the most iconic melodies ever produced in Latin music. A traditional folk corrido, the true origins of this song are unknown. However, we do know "La Cucaracha" played an important role during the Mexican Revolution as a song with hidden political messages. Famous artists like Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, The Gipsy Kings and Los Lobos recorded this song.Listen / Download / Purchase
The Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velazquez wrote this romantic bolero back in 1940. It is widely considered one of the most romantic songs ever produced in Latin music. This single has been recorded by artists from every corner of the planet including legendary stars like The Beatles, Dave Brubeck, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jr., among many more. Some of the Latin music artists who have interpreted this memorable track include megastars like Julio Iglesias, Luis Miguel, Placido Domingo, Caetano Veloso and Damaso Perez Prado.Listen / Download / Purchase
This is another iconic song in Latin music. Even though this track was originally recorded in 1963 by the legendary Mambo and Latin Jazz musician Tito Puente, "Oye Como Va" gained most of its worldwide appeal with the 1970 version recorded by the famous guitarist Carlos Santana. This song was inspired by "Chanchullo," a track produced by Cuban musician Israel 'Cachao' Lopez.Listen / Download / Purchase Listen / Download / Purchase