For those new to the Spanish-language music of the world, the music is a stunning array of genres all across the board.
From the traditional songs many non-Spanish speakers think of immediately (flamenco, bachata, mariachi, etc.) to the driving pop-rock and Tejano genres, the music truly takes you everywhere you could hope to go.
This list of the best Spanish songs helped bring more Spanish music into the mainstream for listeners of all languages to embrace and enjoy.
- Bamboleo – Gipsy Kings
- Macarena – Los Del Río
- Bailando – Enrique Iglesias
- Estoy Aquí – Shakira
- La Bamba – Ritchie Valens
- Amor Prohibido – Selena
- Despacito – Luis Fonsi
- De Música Ligera – Soda Stereo
- Malamente – Rosalía
- Obsesión – Aventura
- A Dios le Pido – Eight Beat Measure
- Simples Corazones – Fonseca
- Un Buen Perdedor – Franco De Vita
- Livin’ La Vida Loca – Ricky Martin
- Darte un Beso – Prince Royce
- El Cantante – Héctor Lavoe
- El Día Que Me Quieras – Luis Miguel
- Oye Como Va – Santana
- Pedro Navaja – Rubén Blades and Willie Colón
- Danza Kuduro – Don Omar
- A Puro Dolor – Son By Four
- Vivir Mi Vida – Marc Anthony
- Duele el Corazón – Wisin and Enrique Iglesias
- Querida – Juan Gabriel
- Secreto de Amor – Joan Sebastian
- Gasolina – Daddy Yankee
- Me Llamas – Piso 21
- Calypso – Luis Fonsi and Stefflon Don
- La Nave del Olvido – José José
- El Matador – Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
- Si No te Hubieras Ido – Marco Antonio Solís
- Baila Baila Baila – Ozuna
- Bon, Bon – Pitbull
- Guantanamera – Compay Segundo
- Yo No Soy Esa Mujer – Paulina Rubio
- Canción del Mariachi – Antonio Banderas and Los Lobos
- Amigo – Roberto Carlos
- Bésame Mucho – Consuelo Velázquez and Rodrigo de la Cadena
- Somos Novios – Armando Manzanero
Bamboleo – Gipsy Kings
The Gipsy Kings are a famous fusion band that combine the genres of salsa, flamenco, and pop music. The band comes from the south of France, descendants of the people who fled the 1930s Spanish Civil War. This band started in 1978 and hit on success with their third album, which included the song ‘Bamboleo.’ The song is about the lifestyle the musicians live and the carefree attitude needed to always keep moving forward in life.
Related: This song features on our playlist of songs in the movie Sing.
Macarena – Los Del Río
‘Macarena’ by Los Del Río is a song that unexpectedly took the world by storm in the 1990s. For those not there, it is almost hard to explain how much of a cultural juggernaut this song became. The original version of the song was a flamenco pop song influenced by the music duo’s witness of a particular dancer. The Miami-based Bayside Boys remixed the song, and then the Macarena became the ultimate one-hit wonder.
Related: See more danceable songs on our line dance songs playlist.
Bailando – Enrique Iglesias
Enrique Iglesias is a Spanish singer and songwriter who works primarily in the Latin pop and dance genres. Iglesias began his career in the mid-’90s with the Mexican-based indie label Fonovisa. Eventually, he became the best-selling Spanish-language artist of the decade. This success leads to him crossing over into the mainstream English singing market. His song ‘Bailando,’ or ‘Dancing’ in English, was composed with his long-term collaborator Descemer Bueno.
Related: This is one of the most popular Zumba songs.
Estoy Aquí – Shakira
Colombia’s superstar, Shakira, has made an enormous mark on the music world. She writes and plays music combining pop and rock elements with a strong Latin influence. For example, the song ‘Estoy Aquí’ is about a romance where the singer considers how to make changes to strengthen the relationship. This song was a standout track on her third album, and, as a single, the song was responsible for helping launch her career forward.
La Bamba – Ritchie Valens
For only having an eight-month music career before his tragic passing in an airplane crash at age 17, Ritchie Valens made a huge mark with his short time. Valens was a pioneer of music; his experiments ended up being a precursor to the Chicano rock movement. During his music career, he had several hits, the biggest being ‘La Bamba.’ This hit song also broke ground because it was a Mexican folk song turned into a rock and roll number. In addition, the song itself features Spanish lyrics, which opened the door to more Spanish rock acts.
Related: Check out more oldies on our 50s songs playlist.
Amor Prohibido – Selena
Another tragic artist who passed far too young is Selena. Her mastery of the genre of Tejano was such that she was called ‘The Queen of Tejano.’ Born into a musical family, her career took off as a teenager. At the time, Tejano was a male-dominated genre, so she forced her way through sexism and became world-renowned. The song title ‘Amor Prohibido’ means “forbidden romance.” The lyrics live up to the title and are about running away to a rendezvous without worrying about anyone who would judge.
Despacito – Luis Fonsi
Puerto Rican singer, Luis Fonsi, has been singing since 1997, when he began his career in the USA by dropping out of school to pursue music full-time. While his career began slowly, it soon took off, and he began collaborating with others as he refined his sound. Luis Fonsi’s song title ‘Despacito’ translates as “slowly.” This song has been helping reintroduce Spanish-language music to the general English-speaking audience. The song lyrics are about meeting someone the singer is interested in and having many racing thoughts about her and what the singer wishes to do.
Related: Find this song on our list of popular pop songs.
De Música Ligera – Soda Stereo
Soda Stereo is a rock band from Argentina that began in 1982. They were the first entirely Hispanic rock band and influenced pretty much every other band to come after them. The band broke up in the mid-90s, and each member pursued other musical interests. Soda Stereo’s song title ‘De Música Ligera’ means “light music.” This popular song is known for being highly symbolic.
Malamente – Rosalía
Hailing from Barcelona, Rosalía began her career in her teens and quickly gained attention for how her music combines so many genres. The song title ‘Malamente’ translates simply into English as ‘badly.” Part of what has helped this song reach such success is its mixture of flamenco with modern pop. The song’s lyrics are part of a narrative on the concept album. The lyrics describe a woman who knows she is in a doomed relationship.
Obsesión – Aventura
Aventura is a Dominican-American bachata band. ‘Obsesión’ is a track featuring Judy Santos and can be found on their second album. The song was re-recorded for the same album so that there was an English version of the song available. As the song became popular, it became widespread for other bands and artists to cover it, helping to give the piece even more popularity.
A Dios le Pido – Eight Beat Measure
The lead single from Latin music singer and songwriter Juanes, ‘A Dios le Pido,’ roughly translates as “I pray to God” or “I beg of God.” The song asks God to bless and protect the singer’s family, someday children, and all his close friends. The song is ultimately seen as a sort of hymn for peace throughout Latin America, largely because of the lyrics, “I ask God: may my country not shed so much blood and may my people rise up.” What starts as a simple prayer for family and friends quickly becomes a worldwide hymn—something all of us could embrace.
Simples Corazones – Fonseca
‘Simples Corazones’ or “simple hearts” takes us on the journey of a man confessing his love for a woman who’s currently with someone else. There’s no desire to hurt anyone, and he’s brand new to this situation, but his simple heart needs to confess, and he’s opening up just in case he stands a chance with the woman.
Related: Do you have to resist someone? Check out these songs about liking someone you shouldn’t.
Un Buen Perdedor – Franco De Vita
‘Un Buen Perdedor’ is all about one man sacrificing everything he holds dear for the sake of someone else. What he holds dear? A woman who has now found someone new. The title literally translates as “a good loser,” which the singer aims to be as he graciously steps down and stops trying to win her, believing the other man to be the better man for the woman he loves. He had hoped they’d be together forever, but knowing they can’t be, he accepts his defeat and wishes them well.
Livin’ La Vida Loca – Ricky Martin
The title of this song means “living the crazy life.” An appropriate topic for a song about forgetting about your troubles and living in the moment. This particular angle on that is via experiences with a woman who can make the singer forget the woes of the world. The Latin pop song has become one of the most well-known pieces in the genre, and it was Ricky Martin’s first mainstream hit.
Related: Hear this tune on our list of songs about drinking wine.
Darte un Beso – Prince Royce
If you’re looking to learn more about bachata, then give a listen to ‘Darte un Beso’ by Prince Royce. The song tells of a complicated romance, with the title translating roughly as “give you a kiss.” The song premiered in 2013 on Univision’s Premios Juventud telecast and became the singer’s fourth big hit on Billboard Latin. It’s the perfect upbeat song to learn the Bachata dance style to.
El Cantante – Héctor Lavoe
Written by Ruben Blades and produced by Willie Colon, ‘El Cantante,’ or “the singer,” became the signature song of Puerto Rican salsa singer Héctor Lavoe. The song was the first single released from his album Comedia. And if the title feels familiar but you’re sure you haven’t heard it, that could be because the title is the same for the biopic about Lavoe’s life that came out in 2006.
El Día Que Me Quieras – Luis Miguel
A stunning Argentine tango, ‘El Dia Que Me Quieras’ or “the day that you love me” by Carlos Gardel and Alfredo Le Pera, is one of the most popular 20th Century songs (and Latin songs of all time). The song was originally featured in the film of the same name back in 1935, with Gardel singing it himself. The song has become a tango standard and has had many covers since, including Luis Miguel.
Oye Como Va – Santana
For non-English speakers, ‘Oye Como Va’ may be one of the most familiar Spanish-language songs of all time. Santana covered the song, bringing it into the mainstream for folks around the world. The piece was originally written by salsa legend Tito Puente in the early 1950s. It’s definitely a dance number, referring to rhythms and dance beats and inviting the audience into the salsa movement.
Related: You won’t want to miss these classic 70s songs.
A salsa song written and performed by Ruben Blades, ‘Pedro Navaja’ (“Peter Blade”) was inspired by the song ‘Mack the Knife.’ The Spanish-language song is about a rough character and assumed passing. The song inspired a film by the same name, which was made without Ruben Blades’ input, so the artist followed it up with another song, ‘Sopresas’ (Surprises), in which the character is revealed to be alive.
Related: Dance your way over to more salsa songs.
Danza Kuduro – Don Omar
Reggaeton singer Dom Omar of Puerto Rico recorded the song ‘Danza Kuduro’ with France-based Portuguese artist, Lucenzo. The song is primarily based on Lucenzo’s single, rewritten in Spanish. The original was an English-Portuguese bilingual track named ‘Vem Dancar Kuduro.’ The Spanish title means “the Kuduro dance,” so the title mostly clues us into the genre of music this is. Of course, listening fills in the rest.
Related: This is one of the popular walk up songs for baseball.
A Puro Dolor – Son By Four
Spanish-language song, ‘A Puro Dolor,’ translated literally as “to pure pain,” was recorded by the Puerto Rican band Son By Four. The song was written by Omar Alfano and released by the band in 1999. The song has two versions, a salsa dance cut and an emotional ballad (sung by Alejandro Jaen). The composer says he wrote the song in 10 minutes and, after examining the composition of the song, doesn’t understand how it became such a hit. He’s certainly glad it was one, though!
Vivir Mi Vida – Marc Anthony
From singer Marc Anthony, one of the most popular Spanish-language singers known around the world, ‘Vivir Mi Vida’ or “live my life” is a song about life—living a happy life. Marc Anthony himself said of the song that it’s not just about living a happy life but about forgetting sadness. It’s an upbeat salsa song that Anthony leaned into in his comeback after ten years away from the stage—an appropriate theme for the singer as he returned to revel in the music of his heart once again.
Related: Our happy songs list will put a smile on your face!
Duele el Corazón – Wisin and Enrique Iglesias
“The Heart Hurts” is how ‘Duele el Carzon’ translates to English. The song, by Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias, features vocals from Wisin, a Puerto Rican rapper. The song was written by Peruvian composer Patrick Ingunza with Venezuelan singer Servando Primera and Ecuadorian-American producer Juan Carlos Yepez Jr (JY “El De La J”). This incredibly international song was released in 2016 and made huge waves in Spanish-language music.
Querida – Juan Gabriel
‘Querida’ or “Dear” is a song from Juan Gabriel, a Mexican singer known for his outrageous personality and stunning pageantry. The song is basically the singer telling a former partner that he’s lonely and miserable without them, that solitude doesn’t suit him, and that he’s suffering alone. Many of us can relate to that emotional sentiment for sure!
Related: Feeling like you’re by yourself? Here are the best lonesome songs.
Secreto de Amor – Joan Sebastian
Joan Sebastian released ‘Secreto de Amor’ (“secret love”) in 2000 on his 27th studio album. The song won awards and was added to the 2001 telenovela of the same name. Joan’s simple acoustic guitar and tender voice are lovely as she sings lyrics of a secret love that is unwelcome and unknown due to broken societal norms.
Gasolina – Daddy Yankee
‘Gasolina’ or—as you probably guessed—”Gasoline,” is a hit by Daddy Yankee on his album Barrie Fino. The song is largely considered the first worldwide reggaeton hit. It’s a Latino-inspired fusion of hip-hop with salsa and dancehall genres that became popular among the Puerto Rican community in mainland USA in the 1990s. Its infectious dance beats and the expected layered meaning (which artist Daddy Yankee denies exists) helped launch it into popularity the world over.
Me Llamas – Piso 21
‘Me Llamas’ or “You Call Me” comes from the Colombian band Piso 21. The song was released as a part of their second studio album Ubuntu in 2018, after initially hitting the world as a lead single in 2016. The song was popular enough that Colombian artist Maluma rereleased it as a remix in 2016. It was later added to the soundtrack of the first season of the Colombian telenovela La Ley del Corazon (the law of the heart).
Calypso – Luis Fonsi and Stefflon Don
The title might imply other Caribbean islands, but ‘Calypso’ by singer-songwriter Luis Fonsi and English rapper and singer Stefflon Don is actually a Spanish-language song steeped in Puerto Rican roots. The song was released in 2018, with a remix coming out a few months later. The popular song hit the top charts in Bolivia, Panama, Belgium, Chile, Puerto Rico, Spain, and eventually the USA and has had millions of views on YouTube.
The Mexican song by José José, ‘La Nave del Olvido,’ translates loosely into English as “the ship of oblivion.” The song was released on the studio album of the same name in 1970. The title song is one of the most popular ones on the album and has been deemed one of the richest productions by the artist. The instrumentation on the album was provided by the large orchestras of Chucho Ferrer and Magallanes, adding some truly unique beauty to the songs.
El Matador – Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
‘El Matador’ is a term most of us are familiar with if we’ve seen anything about bullfighting, Mexican, Spanish, or other cultures with this. This Spanish-language song was written by Flavio Cianciarulo, the bass player of the Argentine rock band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. The song was released first in 1993 on their album “Vasos Vacios,” and it became their signature song after that. The song isn’t about bullfighting, by the way, but is actually a protest song against the forced disappearances and oppression under the dictatorship. The song is the story of El Matador, a revolutionary who enforcement agents hunted down.
Related: Fight the power with these songs about rebellion against society.
Si No te Hubieras Ido – Marco Antonio Solís
Written by Mexican singer-songwriter Marco Antonio Solis, ‘Si No te Hubieras Ido,’ or “if you hadn’t left,” was written in 1983 and included on the album “Sin El” by singer Marisela in 1984. She included the song on later albums as well. The song laments the loss of love and what was left behind.
Baila Baila Baila – Ozuna
Literally meaning “dance, dance, dance,” this Puerto Rican song came out as the lead single in 2019 for Ozuna on his third studio album Nibiru. The song is about a woman who goes to a club with her girlfriends and dances the night away, trying to forget about the boyfriend she just broke up with. The song has been remixed several times.
Related: Baila Baila Baila’ to these songs that talk about dancing.
Bon, Bon – Pitbull
‘Bon, Bon’ is a song title that refers to a beautiful woman in Spanish slang. The song by Pitbull samples the beat of the Yolanda ‘We No Speak Americano,’ which Pitbull and DJ Buddha first heard in Europe. The song refers back to Lady Gaga’s song, ‘Alejandro’ as well, stating that he’s not one of the men she mentions in the love song.
Guantanamera – Compay Segundo
A Spanish word for a “woman from Guantanamo,” the song title of ‘Guantanamera’ is fairly easy to guess what it’s about. The city by the name is on the southeast tip of Cuba, where the infamous military base is located. The woman of the song inspired the original instrumental version of the 1930s by Joseito Fernandez. Later, Cuban writer Julian Orbon used the poem by José Martí to craft lyrics for the song from the point of view of a Cuban revolutionary.
Yo No Soy Esa Mujer – Paulina Rubio
A single released by Mexican singer Paulina Rubio, ‘Yo No Soy Esa Mujer’ came out in 2000. The song was on her fifth studio album and was released as the fourth single from the self-titled album. Rubio recorded several versions of the song, whose title means, “I am not that woman.” The pop-rock song is all about self-empowerment for women and has been described as both lyrically and musically innovative.
Related: Celebrate yourself with these best songs about being you.
Canción del Mariachi – Antonio Banderas and Los Lobos
You might not think of Antonio Banderas first as a singer, but he is a gifted musician nonetheless who recorded the song ‘Canción del Mariachi’ by Los Lobos. The song appears in the opening of the film Desperado starring Banderas. The song’s title translates into English roughly as “mariachi’s song.”
Amigo – Roberto Carlos
One of the most well-known Spanish words, ‘Amigo’ is a song about friendship in Spanish. The sentimental song by Roberto Carlos is a little surprising if you just know the surface. Carlos is a Brazilian singer and, therefore, natively speaks Portuguese, not Spanish. However, the song is indeed in Spanish and reflects the story of brotherly love between true friends, “soul brothers.”
Related: Grab a friend and enjoy our songs about friends playlist.
Bésame Mucho – Consuelo Velázquez and Rodrigo de la Cadena
In English, the title would be “Kiss Me a Lot,” but ‘Bésame Mucho’ is a bolero written in 1940, a Spanish love song by Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velazquez. The song is deemed one of the most important songs in 20th Century Latin music and is considered the most recorded and covered song in Spanish of all time. Velazquez says she wrote the song despite never having been kissed at the time, daydreaming of the moment when it would come but afraid of it, as she had been told kissing was a sin.
Related: Head over to our list of the best songs with kisses.
Somos Novios – Armando Manzanero
‘Somos Novios’ (or “we are lovers”) was the first song Armando Manzanero, a Mexican songwriter, ever recorded. He recorded this song in 1968 as a new version of the French song ‘J’ai le Mal de Toi.’ Other versions of the same song title have nothing to do with this Spanish-language song, but Perry Como recorded an English version, entitling it ‘It’s Impossible.’ The song is an extremely popular bolero—probably the most popular of all time.