Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It is a language that can lend itself well to many different sounds and styles. From romantic ballads with soothing tones to harsh and edgy rap numbers, the Spanish language can come up with a brew that’ll suit you.
Thousands of songs have been recorded in Spanish or feature Spanish lyrics. And in my rundown, I’ll be taking a look at some of the best Spanish songs of all time. So, in no particular order, let’s get started with…
- Top 20 Best Spanish Songs of All Time
- Mambo No. 5 – Perez Prado
- Y Cómo es El? – José Luis Perales
- Sin Pijama – Becky G And Natti Natasha
- La Maza – Silvio Rodriguez
- Tusa – Karol G (feat. Nicki Minaj)
- Suavemente – Elvis Crespo
- Amigo – Roberto Carlos
- Besame Mucho – Ben E King
- Amor Eterno – Rocío Dúrcal
- Oye Como Va – Santana
- La Tierra del Olvido – Carlos Vives
- Vivir Mi Vida – Marc Anthony
- Simples Corazones – Fonseca
- El Cóndor Pasa – Simon and Garfunkel
- Danza Kuduro – Don Omar (feat. Lucenzo)
- Macarena – Los Del Rio
- Bésame Mucho – Consuelo Velázquez
- La Rebelion – Joe Arroyo
- La Cancion Del Mariachi – Jose Alfredo Jimenez
- Bamboleo – Gipsy Kings
- Searching for Awesome Songs?
- Best Spanish Songs of All Time – Conclusion
Top 20 Best Spanish Songs of All Time
Mambo No. 5 – Perez Prado
Album: Mambo No. 5
Starting this list with an instrumental makes 100% sense, in my opinion. Because at the heart of all great Latin tunes is the ever intoxicating rhythm created by the instrumentation, whatever it may be.
Dámaso Pérez Prado is undeniably one of the most important Latin musicians of all time. He is the undisputed King of Mambo. And in making these fantastic rhythms known to the world through tunes like “Mambo No. 5”, he changed the global landscape of music forever.
Setting the standard…
The original version may not have nearly as much acclaim as the subsequent covers. But, this one remains the OG, the one where it all started. And thanks to Prado, this incredible music found a foothold in the broader musical world.
No list of the greatest Spanish music hits would be complete without this number simply for its historical importance.
Y Cómo es El? – José Luis Perales
Album: ENTRE EL AGUA Y EL FUEGO
The Latin romantic era was graced by many great singers and songwriters. And one of the greatest has to be José Luis Perales. Many of the tunes he penned are defining plot points in the story of this genre across the 1970s and 80s.
This number was originally intended for Julio Iglesias. It revolves around a man pleading with an older lover to tell him how her new man stacks up. The song contains that desperate emotional power that gives so much Latin music its appeal.
Furthermore, I’m quite sure that Julio is just as glad as we are that he chose to record it himself. His performance on this recording is one of the greatest contributing factors to the massive hit this song became.
Sin Pijama – Becky G And Natti Natasha
Album: Sin Pijama (Single)
This song was golden from the moment it hit the airwaves. But, it was quite a struggle to get the song into production, according to Rebecca Gomez. She had to fight for the tune for two years after it was written.
Eventually, after enough “reminding,” her label got on board when the collaboration with Natti Natasha was put forth.
The song is a continuation of the female empowerment message, which sat as a central point of her previous release, “Mayores.” Gomez went on to explain that she was happy to see how many women had become present in the music world. Especially in Latin Music.
When it was released…
“Sin Pijama” became the third Top 10 hit for both Becky and Natasha on the US Hot Latin Songs. It climbed to #1 in Bolivia, Chile, El Salvador, and Spain. It was a Top 10 hit in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, and Uruguay.
Furthermore, “Si Pijama” has received Platinum Certification in the US. And the music video managed to get more than 100 million streams within three weeks of its release.
La Maza – Silvio Rodriguez
Silvio Rodriguez is the father of what is called “Nueva Trova.” This is a movement within Cuban music that had its origins somewhere around 1967 or 1968. Nueva Trova differed from the movement upon which it had its musical foundation, “Trova,” in that it uses much more progressive themes in its lyrics.
This no doubt came about as a reaction to the revolution which had recently occurred in Cuba. Silvio is known for his intelligent lyrics mixed with traditional folk music to create a sound all his own. And lay the foundation for a generation.
“La Maza” is one example of an entire trove of great Silvio Rodriguez songs that could’ve been placed on this list. If you’re looking for the best version, you’ll want to go look at his live material; it’s just masterful.
Tusa – Karol G (feat. Nicki Minaj)
With this track, there was a double whammy of things that people wanted. Many Minaj fans got some Spanish material from Niki, and for Karol G, a lifelong dream had been fulfilled.
“Tusa” is steeped in sex appeal and sassiness, which is what’s needed for a track with this much diva power behind it. “Tusa” is a Colombian term that refers to a peculiar mixture of pain and child-full spite that one feels when getting dumped.
Suavemente – Elvis Crespo
Some songs have so much historical importance that they cannot be ignored. “Suavemente” is one of them. This upbeat, fast-paced merengue number comes from Crespo’s debut solo album, and it is one infectious tune.
The track was expertly arranged. For me, the highlight is the beautifully complex horn pieces. This song was a bold statement by Crespo. Merengue could go big time if you got it just right, and he did just that with this number.
Topping the charts…
“Suavemente” became the first merengue song ever to top Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart. The song spent a total of six weeks at the top of the chart, which became a record at the time. That record would not be broken until 2013.
Later, a bilingual version of the song would be released, and that version would make it onto Billboard’s Hot 100, another first. This song proved that even the most local of rhythms can make it onto the world stage.
Amigo – Roberto Carlos
Album: Roberto Carlos
Roberto Carlos Braga is one of the most successful Latin musicians in history, with more than 120 million albums sold worldwide. It was hard to find a more influential singer from Brazil in the 1960s. Because of this, he has been credited by many 80s artists as their source of inspiration.
Many of his tracks, including this one, were penned in collaboration with his lifelong friend and partner Erasmo Carlos. This track contains a particular shade of warmth that can reach the deepest parts of one’s soul.
When Pope John Paul II visited Mexico in 1979, he was greeted with the sight and sound of a children’s choir singing “Amigo.” Hundreds of millions of people tuned in to watch this event. As a result, this is one of the most well known Spanish songs ever.
Besame Mucho – Ben E King
Album: Spanish Harlem
Ben E King was discovered by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller while at an Atlantic Records recording session in 1958. He was a simple performer and entertainer from Florida who had decided to try and make it big in New York City.
Initially, he had decided to find work on Broadway, which is what led to him getting heard by Stoller and Leiber at that session for Atlantic. The two producers jumped on the opportunity to sign Ben to their newly established label, Spark Records.
“Besame Mucho” was Ben’s first single with Spark Records and contains that special something which cannot be qualified. It’s a quality you find in the music of all great musicians and singers.
With Ben, there’s a masterful use of melody, rhythm, and voice that just takes you somewhere the moment you hear the first few bars. This one may not be one of his biggest hits, but it’s one of his most endearing. And it ranks as one of the best Spanish songs of all time.
Amor Eterno – Rocío Dúrcal
Album: Mis Canciones, Mis Amigos
If there is one thing that the Spanish language is good for, it has got to be a good soppy love ballad. And, they don’t get much soppier than this gorgeous tune.
This is arguably one of the most popular Spanish love songs ever, simply due to the number of times it’s been covered. From Los Tigres del Norte to Juan Gabriel and quite a few in between, the popularity of this tune remains strong.
Love is a theme that people will always sing about. And the longing for someone who is no longer there is one of the most painful experiences one can endure. The original version of this song contains the rawest form of this particular emotion. That is why it has stood the test of time so well.
Oye Como Va – Santana
This catchy “cha-cha-cha” was originally written and released by legendary Puerto Rican producer, bandleader, and musician Tito Puente for his 1962 album, El Rey Bravo. It took another eight years for this piece of music to get its wings when Santana decided to cover it for their album, Abraxas.
The track would help solidify the band’s reputation for incredible musicianship and creativity. But, more than anything, it would help them do what they do best – make people feel good. “Oye Como Va” is a monster feel-good hit by one of the best feel-good groups ever to exist.
The song has become almost sacred because of its multinational origins and historical importance. The success of this song symbolizes the interconnectedness between all Latin music styles.
“Oye Como Va” reached the number 13 position on the Billboard Hot 100, #11 on the Billboard Easy Listening survey, and #32 on the R&B chart. The song has been inducted into both the Latin and Grammy Hall of Fame.
La Tierra del Olvido – Carlos Vives
Album: La Tierra Del Olvido
“The Land of the Forgotten” was written by Iván Benavides and Carlos Vives, with the production done by Vives along with Richard Blair. The song was released as the lead single for the album that bears the same name.
It makes great use of an accordion and guitar to accompany Vives’s beautiful singing. Lyrically, the song’s themes revolve around having tremendous love and pride in his homeland.
Expanding the genre…
Historically, the song deserves respect because it helped to introduce the world to the Spanish Vallenato style. And, ever since, it has been fused into all kinds of Latin and Western contemporary music.
“La Tierra del Olvido” was a critical and commercial success. It received an ASCAP award in 1996 and was nominated for Video of the Year at the 1996 Lo Nuestro Awards. The track managed to peak at #5 on the Hot Latin Songs chart and #1 on the Latin Pop Airplay chart in the United States.
Vivir Mi Vida – Marc Anthony
Marc Anthony fans would have my head on a spike if I didn’t put one of his numbers on this list. Of course, I have no problem adding any one of his fantastic tunes to the list of the best Spanish songs of all time.
But, this one seems to have a universal appeal. Living in the moment is the central theme of this massive it from Anthony’s 2013 album.
The black and white music video for “Vivir Mi Vida” is a must-watch. It begins with Marc doing one of the things he does best, dazzling his fans as he makes his way to the stage. However, the feeling one gets when watching it is more of gratitude. Not only from the fans but Marc himself. As they sing the song, they come together in thanks for music that makes them feel good.
Additionally, the song has been performed by many other artists like Ricky Martin, Alejandro Sanz, Ana Gabriel, and Ednita Nazario.
Simples Corazones – Fonseca
Romance, the Spanish language, simply can’t get enough of it. However, that’s not a bad thing since it’s a great language to sing about love. This beautiful tune recorded by Colombian singer Fonseca is a prime example of Spanish love songwriting.
Masterfully produced and performed songs like these can have an immense impact, despite having a very simple message. Fonseca recorded this monster hit for his wife. And while the album also contains a gorgeous acoustic version, the original remains the most powerful and endearing.
“Simples Corazones” was a commercial hit that managed to finally peak at #1 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart after spending five consecutive weeks at the #2 spot. Just like love, it carried on and won through in the end. It was a top twenty hit on the Latin Pop chart, peaking at #13.
El Cóndor Pasa – Simon and Garfunkel
Album: Bridge Over Troubled Water
Trying to quantify the importance and worth of this song isn’t possible. Even if I were to try and dedicate a whole article to it. There is simply too much history and meaning embedded within this more than 100-year-old melody.
Originally, “El Cóndor Pasa” was written as part of the Peruvian zarzuela, “El Cóndor Pasa”. The composer, Daniel Alomía Robles, was a Peruvian native and used elements from Andean music as well as traditional folk music from his home country.
Music that lives forever…
Of course, the tune was made famous by appearing on Simon and Garfunkel’s landmark album. But, it is amazing to think that there are an estimated 4,000 versions of this melody spread out across musical traditions that span the globe.
Over 300 sets of lyrics have been discovered, and more are being composed every year. Furthermore, “El Cóndor Pasa” was declared part of Peru’s national heritage and is considered the second national anthem of the country.
Simon and Garfunkel’s version reached #18 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart and #6 on the Easy Listening chart. It was also an international hit, making it to #1 in Australia and selling over a million copies in Germany.
Danza Kuduro – Don Omar (feat. Lucenzo)
Album: Don Omar Presents: Meet The Orphans
Originally, this was a Portuguese/English song called “Vem Dançar Kuduro” on one of Lucenzo’s releases and featured Big Ali. Don Omar would later rework it into a Spanish/Portuguese song with more pop sensibilities.
Kuduro is a style of dancing but is also the name of a music genre from Angola. “Danza Kuduro” references this in the name and contains elements of it within the music. But, it is not a straight-up Kuduro song.
However, it was a massive international hit…
Starting its domination of Latin countries first and then moving on to Europe. It made it to #1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart, which made it Don Omar’s second US Billboard hit and Lucenzo’s first.
The song was further popularized by being part of the official soundtrack for the movie “Fast Five.” Subsequently, it has been dubbed the most successful Spanish song of the 2010s. “Danza Kuduro” was ranked #43 on Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest Latin Songs.
When the music video was released…
It reached one million views within the first few days. It has since become the third most seen video in the world and surpassed a billion news on YouTube as of 2018.
“Danza Kuduro” has been certified five times platinum in the US, four times platinum in Sweden, three times Platinum in Italy, and double Platinum in Denmark and Spain. So, there’s no way this song wouldn’t be on a list of the best Spanish songs of all time.
Macarena – Los Del Rio
Album: A Mi Me Gusta
I know that this song is a no-brainer. But, when you’re making a list of some of the greatest Spanish language songs ever, “Macarena” will have to be there, or you’re missing out on something major.
Originally, the song appeared on A Mi Me Gusta by the Latin duo Los Del Rio. The group probably never imagined that a simple song written in a form of Clave, about a sexy woman dancing, would have the potential to become one of the most iconic Spanish songs in history.
“Macarena” was remixed by Miami-based producers, The Bayside Boys, a few years after its release. That remix would spawn a dance craze that dominated the second half of 1996 and 1997. The legacy of “Macarena” will live on for as long as people keep dancing at parties.
The dance version of “Macarena” made it to #1 in many countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Israel, The Netherlands, and Sweden.
In the US, it reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and the Pop Singles chart, #5 on the Hot Latin songs chart, as well as the Mainstream Top 40. Furthermore, it was named the greatest Latin song ever by Billboard and seventh on its All-Time 100 list.
Bésame Mucho – Consuelo Velázquez
Album: Boleros para Enamorarse – Vol 2
As with many great pieces of music, the origins of this one are quite humble. Velazquez herself had probably never intended for it to become such a monumental piece of music.
Many would argue that “Besame Mucho” has transcended into a cultural and historical landmark of Spanish culture. And many consider it one of the greatest pieces of music of all time.
At the time of writing…
Consuelo later confessed in an interview that she had never even been kissed. Furthermore, she believed that kissing was a sin. As for the music, she drew inspiration from a piano piece that formed part of the 1911 suite “Goyescas” by Spanish composer Enrique Granados.
“Bésame Mucho” has been heralded as one of the most important Spanish hymns ever. It is recognized as the most recorded and covered Spanish song of all time. The song was featured in the films “Follow the Boys” and “The Cowboy and The Senorita.”
La Rebelion – Joe Arroyo
Album: Sabor a Salsa
From the King of Salsa, we have what many might refer to as his Magnum Opus. This incredible tune has become a staple of Latin music and remains a source of great emotion for those who understand its meaning.
At the time, what Arroyo did with the rhythms of this composition was revolutionary, much like the subject matter. “La Rebelion” managed to have an upbeat salsa rhythm despite having such a serious subject at its core. Again, this is a testament to the masterful skill of Joe Arroyo.
“La Rebelion,” tells the tale of a married couple who were slaves of a wealthy Spaniard in 17th century Colombia. One of the highlights of the original recording is the fantastic piano solo by Chelito De Castro. The song was a hit internationally and has featured on many Colombian Music compilations.
La Cancion Del Mariachi – Jose Alfredo Jimenez
Album: Mexico and Mariachis
Who can forget that iconic opening to 1995’s “Desperado” with Antonio Banderas leading a band of Mariachis and performing this incredible piece of music in a club? Originally, the song was written by Jose Alfredo Jimenez, and it has become one of the best-known songs in Spanish.
It’s popular, beautiful, provoking, and enticing all at the same time. When played with the right rhythm, the song possesses a momentum that just makes you want to keep listening.
There are plenty of beautiful recordings of this song. Live versions are especially incredible. And, if you’ve ever traveled to Spain or Mexico, chances are you’ve heard this sung numerous times. Luckily, it never gets old.
Bamboleo – Gipsy Kings
Album: Gipsy Kings
Another one of the greatest feel-good songs ever recorded by one of the greatest feel-good bands ever to record music. This track simply evokes all things Latin when you hear the first few bars.
Originally, the group of French musicians was not surefooted in terms of their sound. But they were skilled. And together with Grammy Award-winning producer Claude Martinez, they managed to start shaping a flamenco pop style.
That style would not only be unique to them but would help them take the world by storm. “Bamboleo” can roughly be translated as “wobble,” “swing,” or “dangle.” When released, it became a massive hit and managed to stay at the #1 spot on various charts worldwide for weeks.
Searching for Awesome Songs?
If so, take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Gloria Estefan Songs of All Time, the Best Vicente Fernández Songs of All Time, the Best Jenni Rivera Songs of All Time, the Best Juan Gabriel Songs of All Time, and the Best Olivia Rodrigo Songs of All Time for more great selections.
You need to hear those tunes. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Headphones for Music, the Most Comfortable Headphones, the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, and the Best Bass Earbuds you can buy in 2023.
Best Spanish Songs of All Time – Conclusion
Whether you like music full of tempo and rhythm or slow and sad, Spanish music can help you find your mood. The scope of Spanish language music is impossible to cover in even a hundred songs. But, the twenty we covered here should be enough to get even the stiffest of hips shaking.
Until next time, happy listening.