Music Timeline: History Lessons Learnt From Latin Songs

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“Why do we have to memorize those stupid dates?” must be amongst the most repeated student complains ever. I don’t know about most of you but I was always a bit of a history nerd, and knowing the exact dates that events took place in history never really bothered me.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my last name means “date” in Italian. Maybe it’s just the way my brain is compartmentalized; whenever somebody mentions a year, the names of the albums that were released and the most popular songs of that specific year come to mind.

So, just because I’m an insufferable geek, the other day I was wondering if it’d be possible to do the exercise the other way around and try to pull historically relevant (or not) data from songs that had dates as titles. There are plenty of these in the Anglo songbook, from New Order‘s “1963” to Smashing Pumpkins‘ “1979,” and who could forget about the prophecies Prince had for “1999”? But, what about Latin songs?

Here are Top 10 Latin “historical” tracks for you, plus a futuristic bonus!

according to: Shakira

Yes, Shakira did a song about one of the most historically significant years for youth rebellion, world-wide. You probably never heard of it because this is pre-Pies Descalzos, 16-year-old Shakira, and she kinda denies that part of her discography.

In 1968, students were taking over the streets of Paris, and Prague was experiencing its Spring. Same year, Mexico wasn’t just hosting the Olympics, it was also sending down the army to repress the student rally in Tlatelolco. The bloody event left the Mexican youth scarred forever, inspiring songs like Maldita Vecindad’s “2 De Octubre,” Panteón Rococó‘s “Nada Pasó, Banda Bostik‘s “Tlatelolco 1968” and countless others. Shakira’s early song however focuses on the hippies’ flower power and Vietnam — it doesn’t mention the incidents in Mexico.

The Colombian superstar didn’t know it when she co-wrote her song. However, fifteen years earlier, Joaquín Sabina had already penned a song with that same exact title, retelling the many important events of that year, including, yes, a mention to Mexico’s massacre.

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