6th Annual Tacos And Tamales Festival; March 23-24 At Desert Breeze Park

6th Annual Tacos And Tamales Festival; March 23-24 At Desert Breeze Park

6th Annual Tacos And Tamales Festival; March 23-24 At Desert Breeze Park

Latin artists who paved the way for the future

Crossover hit songs. What do you think of when you think of songs that have crossed over from one genre to another? Do you think of Latin music? With Tacos and Tamales just around the corner in Las Vegas, it got me thinking about those artists who paved the way in Latin music.

Crossover Hits: At First You Probably Think Country

Beyonce is predominantly a Pop, R&B, and Hip hop artist. She has crossed over in a big way, into country. With a song called “Texas Hold ‘Em.” And I love the song! It has and older country sound and feel, with a little gospel weaved in.

Admittedly, I am not a huge new country music fan. I think most of it is just formulaic, twangy pop music, about drinking Bud Light, driving 30 year old pick ups, and wearing nothing but Daisy Dukes. Realistically, it’s more like multi millionaires, who drink craft beer, have drivers, and they and their girlfriends wear Prada and Versace. Comedian Bo Burnham does a hilarious song called “Pandering” about what country music is today. But I do love Beyonce’s new song.

There have been some huge crossover hits over the decades from country artists to pop – Believe it or not, “Crazy” by Patsy Cline was one of the first biggies. Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy.” And of course Shania, Dolly, John Denver, Willie Nelson – nothing but big crossover hits.

Latin Music Has Given Us Some Huge Crossover Hits And Artists

One of the earliest, and biggest Latin crossover hits,was Richie Valen’s, “La Bamba.” I read many years ago that Valens released the song as a b-side, in 1958. It’s unclear what the song was actually about, but American’s sure loved it.

Sadly, Richie Valens was just 17 years old when he died, along with Buddy Holly and “The Big Bopper” (JP Richardson), in a plane crash on February 3, 1959. Now known as, ‘The Day The Music Died’ – yes the Don McClean song, “American Pie.”  In 1987, Valen’s life and death was made into a movie, also called La Bamba. The movie featured a new version of the song by Los Lobos.

There are huge Latin artists, who are all over the music charts: Karol G, Becky G, Bad Bunny, Anitta, Sofia Reyes, Camila Cabello, and so many more. Here are some Latin artists, and songs, that became popular crossovers, and possibly paved the way for the huge Latin artist we love today.

  • 1. Selena: I Could Fall In Love

    Selena’s “I Could Fall in Love” showed the world her versatility. This song became one of her biggest. hits. From the arrangements, to her smooth voice, it’s just beautiful. You know the sad, and awful story. She wasn’t with us long, and the album, Dreaming of You, was released – posthumously – in 1995.

  • 2. Miami Sound Machine/Gloria Estefan: Conga

    Perhaps not a Crossover hit, but a crossover artist, indeed. They called Gloria Estefan the Queen of Latin Pop.  Miami Sound Machine was doing Cuban music with a few versions of the band in Miami. Estefan brought great Latin rhythms and beats to America with “Conga.” And it’s STILL one of  best wedding songs, to get everyone up out of their seats. Grab a behind, and let’s goooooo!

  • 3. Ricky Martin: La Copa de la Vida

    I first saw a gorgeous young guy named Ricky Martin do ‘La Copa de la Vida’  (The Cup Of Life), at a Grammy Awards in the late 90’s. Then the song was also used in the FIFA World Cup Soccer tourney in the late 90’s. Many would say that Ricky Martin possibly started the Latin music explosion. He went on to give us “Livin’ La Vida Loca”, and to sell out stadiums across the world. Remember, it was the 90’s – when stadium tours weren’t as big as they are now.

  • 4. Los del Río: Macarena (Bayside Boys Remix)

    Los Del Rio had a major crossover hit with “The Macarena.” Especially the remix they did with the Bayside Boys, that included some English lyrics, and a dance. OH, THE DANCE! The song, and the dance were massive hits. You loved it, and you hated it – but you listened to it, and danced to it. And I think the song actually brought peace to the world – at least for a short while.


  • 5. Shakira: Hips Don't Lie (featuring Wyclef Jean)

    Shakira’s first number one hit in America was “Hips Don’t Lie.” And hers certainly did not – damn, could she dance! And she moved her hips like a belly dancer, and like we all WISH we could. Great voice, great latin beats, and fun, fun songs! She did the Super Bowl – with Jennifer Lopez – in 2020, and it was great. She should have done more!

  • 6. Enrique Iglesias: Bailando (featuring Sean Paul, Descemer Bueno, Gente De Zona)

    Originally done in Spanish, Enrique Iglesias did a remix, with some a little English thrown in. The song had an epic, and infectious Cuban beat, that you couldn’t help but dance to! I think Enrique, and Ricky Martin opened the doors wide, for the next generation of Latin artists. And let’s not forget his father Julio Iglesias, who had a massive hit with Willie Nelson: To All The Girls I’ve Love Before.”

  • 7. Luis Fonsi: Despacito (ft. Daddy Yankee)

    Talk about infectious! Luis Fonsi’s, “Despacito” set the pace for dozens of other huge Latin artists, who have exploded over the past few years. Yes, there was also an equally big – if not bigger – version that Fonsi did with Justin Bieber. Either one is a blast to listen, and dance to.

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