Top 10 Latin Pop Songs

Latin sounds have always been part of mainstream pop music. However, in recent decades, as cultures blend, Latin pop stars have become some of the most popular worldwide artists.  In celebration of Latin music, enjoy these 10 outstanding Latin pop hits.

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Ritchie Valens - "La Bamba" (1958)

Ritchie Valens - La Bamba
Ritchie Valens - "La Bamba". Courtesy Del-Fi

"La Bamba" is a traditional Mexican folk song.  However, it was Ritchie Valens' 1958 Latin rock and roll recording that made "La Bamba" a mainstream classic. Although his recording career only lasted eight months until he was killed in the plane crash that also took the life of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens is considered one of the pioneers of Chicano Rock. "La Bamba" reached #22 on the US pop chart when first released. In 1987 the rock band Los Lobos took their version of the song from the film La Bamba all the way to #1.

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Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto and Astrud Gilberto - "The Girl From Ipanema" (1964)

Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto, and Astrud Gilberto - The Girl From Ipanema
Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto, and Astrud Gilberto - "The Girl From Ipanema". Courtesy Verve

"The Girl From Ipanema" helped cement its status as an all-time classic when this version of the song received the 1965 Grammy Award for Record Of the Year. The song was written in 1962 by the Brazilian composers Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. American saxophonist Stan Getz and Brazilian guitarist Joao Gilberto decided to include the song on their 1964 collaborative album Getz / Gilberto. "The Girl From Ipanema" became a smash hit peaking at #5 on the US pop chart. The success set off a craze for Brazilian bossa nova music.

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Santana - "Oye Como Va" (1970)

Santana - Oye Como Va
Santana - "Oye Como Va". Courtesy CBS

"Oye Como Va" was written in 1963 by Latin bandleader Tito Puente. However, it reached popular success with the 1970 recording by Latin rock band Santana on their album Abraxas. "Oye Como Va" is built on Latin cha-cha-cha rhythms. The song helped Abraxas go to #1 on the album chart on the way to five platinum certifications for sales. "Oye Como Va" became Santana's third single, and the first Spanish language one, to reach the top 15 on the US pop chart.

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Ricky Martin - "Livin' La Vida Loca" (1999)

Ricky Martin - Livin' La Vida Loca
Ricky Martin - "Livin' La Vida Loca". Courtesy Columbia

Ricky Martin captured the attention of mainstream pop audiences with his performance of "La Copa de la Vida" at the 1999 Grammy Awards ceremony.  "Livin' La Vida Loca" capitalized on that success and made Ricky Martin a mainstream superstar. It was produced and co-written by pop-rock musician Desmond Child and Puerto Rican songwriter Draco Rosa. "Livin' La Vida Loca" hit #1 in both the US and the UK and earned Grammy Award nominations for Record Of the Year and Song Of the Year.  It is considered to be the record which kicked off a wave of major Latin performers hitting the pop mainstream.

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Marc Anthony - "I Need To Know" (1999)

Marc Anthony - I Need To Know
Marc Anthony - "I Need To Know". Courtesy Columbia

Salsa star Marc Anthony recorded his first English language album in 1999 both to steer around a legal problem that prevented him from recoridng in Spanish at the time and to capitalize on the wave of Latin artists welcomed into the pop charts. "I Need To Know" blends R&B and Latin music using such Latin percussion instruments as congas and timbales. The song became a pop smash in the US climbing to #3, and it received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Male Vocal Performance.

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Santana - "Maria Maria" featuring The Product G&B (1999)

Santana - Maria Maria featuring The Product G&B
Santana - "Maria Maria" featuring The Product G&B. Courtesy Arista

Santana's "Maria Maria" from their landmark 1999 album Supernatural is one of the most successful Latin songs ever on the US pop singles chart. It spent ten weeks at #1. "Maria Maria" won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance By a Duo Or Group With Vocal.

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Enrique Iglesias - "Hero" (2001)

Enrique Iglesias - Hero
Enrique Iglesias - "Hero". Courtesy Interscope

Although its #3 peak did not initially match the chart success of "Bailamos" and "Be With You" which went all the way to #1, "Hero" has arguably become Enrique Iglesias' most enduringly successful pop song. It was his first song to go all the way to #1 in the UK. The Spanish language version of "Hero" became Enrique Iglesias' thirteenth #1 hit single on the US Latin songs chart.

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Shakira - "Whenever Wherever" (2001)

Shakira - Whenever Wherever
Shakira - "Whenever Wherever". Courtesy Epic

Shakira's "Whenever Wherever" was released when she was riding a crest of popularity with Latin audiences but had not yet crossed over into the English speaking pop mainstream. The song was co-written by Shakira, Tim Mitchell, who had produced her successful MTV Unplugged album, and Cuban-American star Gloria Estefan. The recording deftly blends rock with influences from traditional Andean music with instruments like panpipes and the charango. The result was a major mainstream breakthrough for Shakira peaking at #6 in the US and #2 in the UK as well as going to #1 on pop charts in many other countries around the world.

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Daddy Yankee - "Gasolina" (2004)

Daddy Yankee - Gasolina
Daddy Yankee - "Gasolina". Courtesy El Cartel

"Gasolina" was a breakthrough hit for the reggaeton genre in Latin music. Reggaeton emerged out of Puerto Rico with a combination of elements of reggae, Latin sounds like salsa, and hip hop. "Gasolina" was the first reggaeton song to receive a Latin Grammy nomination for Record Of the Year. Daddy Yankee took the song into the top 40 in the US, the top 10 on the rap songs chart, and #5 on the UK pop singles chart.

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Jennifer Lopez - "On the Floor" featuring Pitbull (2011)

Jennifer Lopez - On the Floor featuring Pitbull
Jennifer Lopez - "On the Floor" featuring Pitbull. Courtesy Island

A New York City native of Puerto Rican descent, Jennifer Lopez is one of the most successful mainstream artists of Latin heritage of all time. Her 2011 hit "On the Floor" was a comeback recording of sorts.  it became her first top 10 pop hit in the US in eight years. "On the Floor" incorporates distinctly Latin elements including interpoplations of the Bolivian song "Llorando se fue." "On the Floor" went all the way to #3 on the US pop chart while selling nearly four million copies. It went all the way to #1 on pop charts in many other countries around the world including the UK.

Top 10 Jennifer Lopez Songs

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