As part of its Hispanic Heritage Month content, Billboard debuted an exhaustive grouping today corralling what its editors deem the best Latin songs of all time, going all the way back to the 1920s and, of course, including today’s top of the crop, too. Limited its selection to 50, the outlet had some serious filtering to do; one of its criteria for inclusion was that the song “continues to be relevant today.”
Who made the cut? Unsurprisingly, legends both living and late, like José Alfredo Jiménez, Vicente Fernández, Willie Colón, Selena, Juan Luis Guerra, Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan (and Miami Sound Machine), and Elvis Crespo, are in the mix. There’s also classic songs written by Latines that have been covered repeatedly (and it never gets old), like “Besame Mucho,” penned by Consuelo Velazquez.
More recently released songs, many of which still get regular radio play, have a strong presence, too: Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito,” of course, plus Nicky Jam’s “El Perdón” featuring Enrique Iglesias.
Local Puerto Rican outlets have pointed out that 12 of the songs on Billboard’s list are Boricua-made: little island, huge talent, always. There is generally, however, a nice mix of much-deserved honored artists hailing from a multitude of Latin American countries.
Who’s missing? We can think of one game-changing artist who conspicuously is not included. Who’s taking up space who shouldn’t be? We’ve got opinions there, too.
Smartly, Billboard ordered the list alphabetically—so at least nobody can argue about the rankings. Check the full list here.