Merengue is a musical form with a complex origin and, therefore, a rich sound. It’s been around for a while too. Since being birthed in the Dominican Republic in the 1800s, it has seen and endured much.
Merengue may have a somewhat troubled past due to being promoted by a dictator for three decades. But the genre has come a long way since then.
The melding of distinct cultures into one genre of music is the kind of thing that can only happen by accident. But aren’t we glad it did?
Like all kinds of music…
…Merengue can achieve many things. But, if it can’t make you dance, then you’re either very depressed or what you’re listening to is not a genuine Merengue song.
So, let’s have a look at some of the best Merengue songs ever. And be sure to keep these in a folder for your next fiesta where there will be dancing. These tracks are in no particular order or ranking.
Top 111 Best Merengue Songs of All Time
El Jardinero by Wilfrido Vargas
Album: El Jardinero
Let’s start with a classic Merengue song. “El Jardinero” has been around for 30 years, and it still makes Merengue fans co-crazy when it gets played. It’s simply that powerful, end of the story.
The track has been covered by more artists than I could possibly mention in this article. And it will continue to inspire musicians and listeners alike to dance and play for many years to come. If you want to take Merengue seriously, this one is a must.
Suavemente by Elvis Crespo
If you have recently fallen in love with Merengue but are unsure as to how you need to dance to it, Elvis has the answer right here. “Suavemente” roughly translates to “smoothly,” just so you know.
The title track on one of Elvis’ biggest albums grabs you from the very first moment. Elvis’ plaintive voice comes in like a train through a wall and doesn’t let go until the last notes fade out.
This smash hit contains all the ingredients of a great Merengue song, making it a potent track. Use this one wisely because it does things to people.
Colegiala by Alex Bueno
Album: Los Grandes de Alex Bueno
“Colegiala” is a relentless and potent mix of intoxicating rhythm guitars and percussion. The track has a restless spirit, which is what makes it, so fun to dance to. As the song progresses, there are small stabs of brass that add to the sense of “speeding up.”
Love, passion, drama, and dancing, are the ingredients of many great Latin tunes. And, with “Colegiala,” they are all there in abundance. A great selection for any Merengue playlist for sure.
Oye Abre Tus Ojos by July Mateo Rasputin
Album: Grandes Éxitos de Oro
One of the best things about this song is that even if you don’t know Spanish, you’ll be able to sing along to the best part of the song flawlessly. By the time you reach the very first “La La Las,” you’ll have forgotten whatever was troubling you and just keep dancing.
“Oye Abre Tus Ojos” contains true Latin energy from the instrumentation right through the lyrics. Enjoying life must be equally as important as the constant grind. And this track reminds us to keep our eyes open to the simple things in life.
Vale La Pena by Kinito Mendez
Album: A Palo Limpio
Mendez’s fame in his native Dominican Republic was solidified by his international success. “Vale La Pena” is arguably his biggest hit. When you listen to this MTV Award-winning track, you’ll soon be swept up by the sound.
“Vale La Pena” is fast and energetic. So, take care where you place it in your playlist to avoid wearing yourself out. Mendez later added to his fame when he became a spokesperson for Barack Obama’s campaign.
La Quiero A Morir by Sergio Vargas
Album: Los Hijos Del Rey
Sergio’s career is peppered with incredible Merengue hit songs. Any one of which would have been of sufficient caliber to earn its place on this list of the best Merengue songs. This one represents a break-out tune for him. And, for its historical importance, it has been placed here.
This track came out at a time when Merengue was enjoying a surge in popularity. As a result, Sergio managed to capture the hearts of thousands with this performance despite being a fledgling artist. Now, he’s heralded as one of his country’s greatest singers.
Ta Encendio by Oro Solido
Album: Best of The Best
A slower track with a more laid-back feel, Oro’s mixture of tradition and new aesthetics are exemplified in this track. The sadness of unrequited love and the pain of not being able to let go of one’s passion for another is expressed by more than just the words but by the “feel” of this track.
Of course, you can only experience what I’m talking about if you dance to it, which is what it was made for. As mentioned, it’s not a fast track, so just take it easy and go with the flow.
La Duena Del Swing by Los Hermanos Rosario
Album: Los Duenos Del Swing
1995 saw the release of Los Hermanos Rosario’s most successful album to date. The album’s lead single would become the group’s biggest track. But it is also one of the best-known Merengue songs ever. It’s safe to say there’s not a Merengue club or party where this record isn’t played.
Merengue is about dancing, and Latin music is often about beautiful women. So, a Merengue track about the swaying hips of a beautiful woman is a combination that just works.
Whether it’s the harmony vocals, the naughty trumpet, or the constant rumble of the rhythm section, “La Duena Del Swing” will grab you and not let go.
Las Mujeres Lo Bailan Bien by Los Toros Band
Album: Mi Historia
Sticking to groups who are not only loved but historically important, we have the Los Toros Band. Talented performers who have proven themselves to be masters of the Merengue form, the group was discovered at a party by composer Julio Tores.
“Las Mujeres Lo Bailan Bien,” or “Women Dance Well,” is one of the group’s biggest hits and one of the most loved Merengue songs out there. This one isn’t lightning fast, but it’s not slow like a ballad, either. So, stay on your feet.
Dominicano Soy by Fernando Villalona
Album: La Cartita
Fernando Villalona is a national treasure to the people of the Dominican Republic, and he is a great patriot. For years, he has used his voice to bring praise and pay homage to his beloved country. For his efforts, the Dominican people treat him like a king.
Merengue music has its roots in the Dominican Republic. And there are a few people who are known for it as well as Fernando, who has even been called “El Mayimbe.” There cannot be a Merengue collection without at least one of his many great tracks in it.
Linda Eh by Groupo Mania
Album: 10 De Colleccion
“Linda Eh” is an especially potent mix of musical ingredients that are guaranteed to get hips and feet moving. The hand drums, the over-extended brass section, and, of course, not just one but four incredible voices that entice you into a dancing craze.
The group has had tremendous success with “Linda Eh.” And, if you want some variation, go and check out the live renditions with Elvis Crespo. Believe it or not, those are even more powerful.
Tu Fotographia by Zafra Negra
Album: Por El Mismo Camino
Getting back to tracks that have historical importance, here is one of the oldest and best-known Merengue tracks ever.
It’s even got some history to go with it…
Lots of folks have lived under the common misconception that Merengue originated in Panama. Others even believe in Cuba.
The truth is that Merengue is the product of European (particularly Spanish) and West African immigrants showing off their instruments and playing styles to one another back in the 1800s. This resulted in the melding together of different cultures, and thus, Merengue came to be.
This track is a perfect illustration of the roots of the genre. Of course, it’s also a great Merengue track which means it’s fun to dance to.
Volvio Juanita by Milly Quezada
Album: Lo Mejor de Milly y los Vecinos
There was a time when bringing up female singers in the context of Merengue wasn’t possible. Sure, some female singers backed up male stars, but that was mostly it. When Milly Quezada came along, however, things changed forever. And for that reason, she deserves a place on this list.
Initially, she was part of a group and later went solo. She has enjoyed incredible success and opened the door for females in the genre.
There are plenty of other tracks that could have been placed on this list. But “Volvio Juanita” is the obvious choice since it helped jumpstart her career and remains a beloved favorite of fans to this day.
Como Bailan by Grupo Mania
Album: Le Esencial
The point of any awesome Merengue playlist is to get people moving and enjoying themselves. This track was so popular that it became #1 on the Billboard Latin charts once in 2005 and then once more in 2007.
If a track that became a hit twice can’t get you moving, there probably isn’t anything that will.
So, if you’re about finished curating your playlist, and you’re wondering which one is “the big one,” look no further than “Como Bailan.”
Mueve La Cadera by Oro Solido
El Africano by Wilfrido Vargas
Yo No Bailo Con Juana by Johnny Ventura
Ojala Que Llueva Cafe by Juan Luis Guerra
La Vida Es Un Carnaval by Celia Cruz
Juliana by Grupo Bonye
La Suegra by El Cata
La Gallinita by Fernando Villalona
El Baile Del Perrito by Wilfrido Vargas
El Higueron by Fulanito
La Murga by Willie Colon
El Tiburon by Proyecto Uno
Compadre Pedro Juan by Juan Luis Guerra
El Baile Del Mono by Los Toros Band
El Venao by Los Cantantes
El Caballito De Palo by Joseph Fonseca
La Morena by Los Hermanos Rosario
La Botella by Mach and Daddy
Bomba Pa’ Siempre by Los Hermanos Rosario
La Cinturita by Los Hermanos Rosario
Sopa De Caracol by Banda Blanca
La Ventanita by Sergio Vargas
La Banana by El Jeffrey
Mayonesa by Chocolate
El Tamarindo by Fefita La Grande
Pa La Disco Voy by Los Sabrosos Del Merengue
More Merengue Songs For You
- La Bilirrubina by Juan Luis Guerra
- La Bomba by King Africa
- Eres Mia by Omega
- El Meneito by Los Ilegales
- Amor A Primera Vista by Los Hermanos Rosario
- La Negra Pola by Johnny Ventura
- Las Avispas by Juan Luis Guerra
- La Cura by Frankie Ruiz
- Enamorado De Ella by Elvis Crespo
- Cuando Acaba El Placer by Sergio Vargas
- Estas Aqui by Alberto Stylee
- Tu Con El by Frank Reyes
- Merengue Mix by Omega
- La Bamba by Richie Valens
- Me Gusta by Elvis Crespo
- Como Me Duele by La India
- No Me Dejes Solo by Elvis Crespo
- El Poder De Tu Amor by Ricardo Montaner
- El Loco by Fefita La Grande
- El Negrito Del Batey by Joseito Mateo
- La Salsa Se Impone by Johnny Ventura
- La Bicicleta by Carlos Vives and Shakira
- El Que No Baila Conmigo by Luis Enrique
- Los Zapatos De Manacho by Sergio Vargas
- La Clave by Sergio Vargas
- El Que Siembra Su Maiz by Fefita La Grande
- Esa Mujer by Los Hermanos Rosario
- Asi Se Compone Un Son by Michael Stuart
- El Baile Del Beeper by Oro Solido
- La Pelota by Grupo Mania
- La Chiflera by El Cata
- La Negra Tiene Tumbao by Celia Cruz
- La Planta by Proyecto Uno
- La Mordidita by Ricky Martin
- La Banda by Sergio V
- Los Anos Que Me Quedan by Gloria Estefan
- La Cucaracha by Elvis Crespo
- La Flaca by Jarabe De Palo
- La Bata De Guata by Johnny Ventura
- La Comadreja by Oro Solido
- La Pegajosa by Wilfrido Vargas
- La Gorda Linda by Hector Acosta “El Torito”
- La Carretera by Prince Royce
- La Mejor De Todas by Zacarias Ferreira
- La Guagua by Los Hermanos Rosario
- La Pachanga by Vilma Palma e Vampiros
- La Suegra Voladora by Oro Solido
- Lamento Boliviano by Enanitos Verdes
- El Malo by Aventura
- La Tijera by Fefita La Grande
- La Culebra by Wilfrido Vargas
- La Tierra Del Olvido by Carlos Vives
- La Pava Congona by Sonora Dinamita
- La Loba by Shakira
- La Boda De Ella by Elvis Crespo
- La Bomba Atomica by Johnny Ventura
- La Vecina by Los Hermanos Rosario
- La India by Marc Anthony
- La Foto Se Me Borro by El Cata
- La Copa De La Vida by Ricky Martin
- La Hija De Nadie by Sergio Vargas
- La Quiero Ver by El Cata
- La Tusa by Proyecto Uno
- La Rumba by Fefita La Grande
- La Gitana by Los Hermanos Rosario
- La Chiflada by El Cata
- La Cita by Galy Galiano
- La Bombilla by Oro Solido
- La Dueña De Mi Vida by El Cata
- La Suegra Caliente by Oro Solido
- La Cachimba by Fernando Villalona
Are You a Fan of Spanish Language Music?
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Best Merengue Songs – Final Thoughts
Merengue music has been around for hundreds of years, and in that time, it has come a long way. There isn’t a Latin country that doesn’t have a love for the genre. And, considering its troublesome past, its popularity is nothing short of miraculous.
Looking for feel-good Latin music to dance and party to? Look no further than Merengue, and these tracks should give you a pretty good starting point.
Until next time, happy dancing, and happy listening.