The 1950s and pre-Beatles 1960s were the golden years for Latin musicians. The 'Mambo Kings' had the country dancing to the music of Tito Puente
, Perez Prado and Xavier Cougat. Desi Arnez was singing "Babalu" on TV and tourists swarmed Havana to enjoy the warm Caribbean breezes and hotter nightclubs.
Ballads were also in style, whether they came in the form of Cuban son or Mexico's great boleros. Here's a playlist that will take you back to the day or - if you weren't born yet - maybe its time to discover these wonderful tunes now, for the first time.
A huge hit in the 1950s, the instrumental version of the song that was called "Cherry Pink and Apple Blosson White" in English.
You can listen to it on Prado's Cuban Originals album Compare Prices
Lots of vocalists sang this song, but on a worldwide basis the most popular version was by Trini Lopez.
From The Latin Album Compare Prices
This song is probably more familiar as the Doris Day version in English called "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps". I like this Spanish language version by Marisela; although recorded in 1999, it still has that 1950s feel.
From Historia de un Amor Compare Prices
A song that is still loved the world over, this version is from Trio Los Ponchos. Trio Los Panchos made a lot of albums, but some of them are difficult to find. Here's a good one that's currently available.
Nuestras Mejores 30 Canciones Compare Prices
After decades of singing rock, Linda Ronstadt went back to sing the songs her father taught her and she does a sterling version of "Perfidia".
From Mi Jardin Azul Compare Prices
Dean Martin made this song a hit and his version is still my favorite. It has been making a comeback lately as the background music for a number of movies; check out the Pussycat Dolls singing "Sway" on the Shall we Dance DVD. You can find the song on many of the Dean Martin compilation CDs
From Dean Martin: Capitol Collectors Series Compare Prices
Another winner from Trio Los Panchos who sang so many of these boleros in the 1950s, this classic appears on another of their compilation albums.
Recordando Trio Los Panchos Listen /Download /Purchase
There are many versions available of the popular "You Belong to my Heart". Try the one by Sonora Santanera.
From Solamente Una Vez Compare Prices
DG Deutsche Grammophon
One of the most important figures in Cuban popular music was Ernesto Lecuona, the composer of the classic 'Siboney'. Although lots of artists have recorded this tune, it really needs a big voice for full effect, so I picked a version by tenor Placido Domingo for a change of pace.
From Granada: The Greatest Hits of Placido Domingo Compare Prices
Here's another popular bolero from the 1950s that's bound to bring back memories (to those who were around), this time sung by Mexico's Los Copacabana.
From Mexico's Greatest Hits Listen /Download /Purchase