10 Best Songs From Hector Lavoe

Hector Lavoe performing on stage, black and white photograph.

El rey de tus sueños/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Hector Lavoe is widely considered one of the most influential singers in the history of ​salsa music. His unique voice, style, and interpretation of rhythm transformed Lavoe into an icon of Latin music. The following list offers a taste of Hector Lavoe's amazing repertoire. If you really want to get serious about salsa, you need to listen to these tracks.


Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe album art.

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Hector Lavoe crafted a big portion of his overall success during the years he worked alongside trombonist Willie Colon. Together, they recorded some of the most memorable songs ever produced in salsa music. From Willie Colon's 1971 album "La Gran Fuga," "Abuelita" is one of the first tracks that provided Hector Lavoe with international exposure. This single has a unique brand created by Lavoe's vocals and Colon's trombone playing.

Mi Gente

"Mi Gente" album cover.

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This track came to define the whole career of Hector Lavoe. By creating a unique connection with the people he sang to, "Mi Gente" allowed Hector Lavoe to bring his talent to his full potential as one of the best performers in salsa music. His interpretation of this song with the Fania All Stars in Africa back in 1974 is one of the best acts in the history of salsa.

Dejala Que Siga

"Revento"album cover from Hector Lavoe.

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"Dejala Que Siga" is the best song from "Revento," Hector Lavoe's 1985 solo album. This is one of the most harmonious and melodic tunes ever recorded by the legendary Puerto Rican singer. It is a fantastic track from beginning to end. Look out for the nice flute playing towards the end.


Hector Lavoe album art.

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Musically speaking, "Ausencia" sits in the middle of salsa and ​bolero. This track is, in fact, what many people would treat as a Bolero-son tune. Whether that is the right assertion or not, "Ausencia" is definitely one of the best tracks ever recorded by Hector Lavoe during the time he was a lead singer for Willie Colon's band.

El Cantante

Hector Lavoe wearing an "El Cantante" shirt, black and white photograph.

Wolly101/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

Although this song was originally written by the popular Panamanian salsa singer Ruben Blades, it became a hit for Hector Lavoe. Just like "Mi Gente," this track came to define the music career of the Puerto Rican singer. The lyrics of this song fit perfectly the somewhat lonely and tormented life of Hector Lavoe. The movie about the life of Hector Lavoe, featuring Marc Anthony, borrowed its name from this track.

La Fama

Album cover by Hector Lavoe.

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Another jewel from the album "Revento," "La Fama" is a classy song that brings the best out of Hector Lavoe's voice. Besides the nice musical background created by the trombones, this track features amazing percussion. "La Fama" is also an ideal song for hitting the dance floor.

Calle Luna Calle Sol

"Lo Mato" album cover.

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From the 1973 album "Lo Mato," "Calle Luna Calle Sol" is another timeless hit from the successful collaboration that Hector Lavoe forged with Willie Colon during the first half of the 1970s. The track offers solid percussion, outstanding brass sessions and Lavoe's unique singing style, which was defined by his nasal sound and perfect tempo. This is also one of the many tracks that portrayed the rough, underground culture that you can find in big cities like New York.

Juanito Alimaña

"Hard Salsa" album cover art.

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Just like the previous song, "Juanito Alimaña" is another track dealing with issues of criminality and the rough life in the streets of big cities. The song describes the life of a gangster and the environment he lives in. It is a wonderful track and one of the essential songs in Hector Lavoe's amazing repertoire.

Triste Y Vacia

Hector Lavoe album art.

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Being a salsa dura singer, Hector Lavoe was never involved with the romantic style that dominated salsa music during the second half of the 1980s. In spite of this, he was also good at singing tracks defined by a romantic theme. "Triste Y Vacia" is one of the most beautiful tunes he recorded during his career. Again, the trombone playing and Lavoe's vocals defined the whole melody of this song.

Periodico De Ayer

"De Ti Depende" by Hector Lavoe album art.

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"Periodico De Ayer" is one of the top tracks from the 1976 hit album "De Ti Depende," Hector Lavoe's second solo work. This track is one of the songs that better captures the sound that defined him as a salsa singer. This is a fantastic tune from beginning to end.