The Top 10 Best Latin Hits From the 1950s

Mexican Mariachi group doing a siesta, Mexico
Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

The 1950s and pre-Beatles 1960s were the golden years for Latin musicians with acts like the 'Mambo Kings' having the country dancing to the music of Tito Puente, Perez Prado and Xavier Cougat while 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 it's time to discover these wonderful tunes now, for the first time.

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"Cerezo Rosa" by Perez Prado

Sony BMG

A huge hit in the 1950s, the instrumental version of this song was called "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" in English, but the song itself features the smooth rhythms of Mambo that was popular during the era.

Perhaps one of Perez Prado's most recognizable tracks, this little number is sure to delight and bring back the nostalgia of a time long bygone but still influential in modern Latin music.

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"Cuando Caliente El Sol" by Trini Lopez

Collectables Records

Lots of vocalists sang this song, but on a worldwide basis, the most popular version was by Trini Lopez. The translated version of the song's lyrics start with "Honey, I'm alone here on the beach," inviting listeners to join Lopez in basking in the early afternoon sun.

This smooth number is perfect for lazy spring days or romantic, warm summer nights.

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"Quizas, Quizas, Quizas" by Marisela

Sony /BMG

This song is probably more familiar to audiences as the Doris Day version in English called "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps," but this Spanish language version by Marisela recorded in 1999 still has that 1950s feel.​

The song's lyrics beg the question "what if" and will delight audiences with its nostalgic sound and sweet vocals.

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"Besame Mucho" by Trio Los Panchos

Sony /BMG

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.

However, 'Nuestras Mejores 30 Canciones," a Latin compilation album by the group, features not only "Besame Mucho" but many great other tracks indicative of a bygone era of Latin music.

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"Perfidia" by Linda Ronstadt

Rhino Records

After decades of singing rock, Linda Ronstadt went back to sing the songs her father taught her in her native tongue. Thus, this sterling version of "Perfidia" was born and featured on the album "Mi Jardin Azul" — or "My Blue Garden."

Over the years, many artists have covered this track, most notably Glenn Miller and Andrea Bocelli in 2013.

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"Sway" (Quien Sera) — Dean Martin

Capitol /EMI

Dean Martin made this song a hit and his version is still a fan favorite around the world, making a comeback lately as the background music for a number of movies.

Over the years, many artists have covered this track's smooth 1950s vocals and rhythm. Among them, the Pussycat Dolls sang "Sway" for the motion picture soundtrack for "Shall We Dance." You can also find the song on many of the Dean Martin compilation CDs.

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"Aquellos Ojos Verde" by Trio Los Panchos


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.

"Aquellos Ojos Verde" — or "Those Green Eyes" in English — express love and longing in a way so indicative of the 1950s, you might just forget about cell phones and Facebook if you let the music take you.

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"Solamente Una Vez" by La Internacional Sonora Santanera


There are many versions available of the popular "You Belong to my Heart," but this version by La Internacional Sonora Santanera is truly one of the best and most true-to-form for Latin music coming out of the era.

Contrary to what the title might suggest — "Only One Time" in English — you won't just want to hear this song once.

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"Siboney" by Placido Domingo

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 check out this version by tenor Placido Domingo to change up the pace while cruising through these excellent 1950s tracks.

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"Quiereme Mucho" by Los Copacabana


Here's another popular bolero from the 1950s that's bound to bring back memories (to those who were around), this time sang by Mexico's Los Copacabana.

Featured on an album called "Mexico's Greatest Hits," this track is truly indicative of the early emergence of Mexican artists into the international spotlight.