As Latin songs gain traction in the American mainstream this year, it is safe to begin with the following statement: These Latin songs are the kind of Salsa songs that you dance to at the club most of the time, but you could also dance to them at home when no one is watching if you feel like trying them.
Remember, the meaning of dance is “a series of movements that match the speed and rhythm of a piece of music”.
And Salsa, in Spanish, means ‘spicy’ or ‘hot’. So it has become a burning musical genre of the Latin song’s identity. I know; I am Latin, after all.
These might or might not be the greatest Salsa songs produced in history for your liking or the best ones for you to dance to, but they are notable works from top artists in this genre none than less.
To me, with all the exclusivity of Latin songs, these are great Salsa songs to dance to. If you are new to Salsa, this list will be your perfect introduction.
You will discover a new song or two if you are already a fan. If you are learning Spanish, they are great too.
Okay, let’s begin with the playlist of my favorite Latin songs:
You can easily dance at home parties or the club regarding Salsa music. However, Grupo Niche will always be on my personal playlist of the best Latin dance songs. These guys are awesome!
If I am not mistaken, I believe Grupo Niche debuted in a Salsa festival at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1986. Grupo Niche is widely considered the best Salsa band coming from Colombia.
Their extensive repertoire, written almost exclusively by the talented musician Jairo Varela, includes a selection of outstanding Salsa dura tracks and romantic songs that have captured Salsa fans worldwide for over thirty years and counting.
This is one of the early bands I saw live in Atlanta in the late 90s. I went to see them with my friend Ana ( Hairstylist ). These guys played non-stop for like two hours straight with such energy… Man, it was great.
Here is the playlist of Salsa songs from me to you:
01. Sin Sentimiento | Album: Solamente Tu.
02. La Negra No Quiere | Album: The Best
03. Lo Bonito Y Lo Feo | Album: Huellas del Pasado
04. Colombia Tierra De Todo | Album: Un Alto En El Camino
05. Ana Milé | Album: Truinfo
06. Una Adventura | Album: Una Adventura… La Historia.
07. Busco | Album: Señales De Humo
08. Sin Palabra | Album: Un Alto En El Camino
09. Una Rosa | Album: Historia Musical
10. Listo Medellin | Album: Truinfo
At an early age, Eddie Santiago began singing Salsa at the age of ten. He fell in love with the classics and sought to become a professional Sonero. Such a humble beginning but with a lot of punch in his career as a Sonero.
Eddie Santiago dominated the charts for the rest of the ’80s and into the ’90s. Title hits such as “Lluvia,” “Todo Empezo,” and “Insaciable” kept on coming, and Santiago established a touring presence throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, the United States, and Europe.
One of the many things I enjoy with his music is the “trombones”. The music seems calm but with a strong presence. If you are considering learning to dance On2, you can start with some of his best Salsa songs to dance from this list.
My favorite playlist of classic salsa songs from Eddie Santiago.
01. Antidoto y Veneno | Album: 15 Super Exitos.
02. Me Fallaste | Album: Serie Platino.
03. Que Locura Enamorarme De Ti | Album: Atrevido Y Diferente
04. De Profesión…Tu Amante| Album: De Profesión…Tu Amante
05. Aquel Viejo Motel | Album: Oro Salsero
06. Amada Amante | Album: Cada Vez Otra Vez
07. Tu Me Quemas | Album: Lluvia
08. Tu Me Haces Falta | Album: Tu Me Haces Falta
09. El Triste| Album: Cada Vez Otra Vez
10. Mia | Album: 15 Super Exitos.
La Sonora Carruseles
I present to you another great Salsa band from Colombia. Sonora Carruseles burst into the local tropical scene performing Afro-Caribbean rhythms, including a traditional style known as Salsa Brava, which originated in the 1960s.
Formed in 1995 by composer/producer Diego Galé and Mario Rincón, the group became a Boogaloo and original Salsa revival, taking over Latin America, the U.S., and Europe after releasing 1998’s Heavy Salsa and 1999’s Salsa y Fuego.
My brother and I were lucky to see them perform in good old Atlanta, Georgia. Sonora Carruseles had a full sound, and their music had good energy for dancing.
My favorite “ popular Salsa songs’ from Sonora Carruseles.
01. Micaela | Album: Heavy Salsa
02. Arranca En Fa | Album: Salsa Brava
03. La Salsa La Traigo Yo | Album: La Salsa La Traigo Yo
04. Al Son de Los Cueros | Album: Heavy Salsa
05. Como Baila Mi Pueblo | Album: De Una Vez Gozando
06. Ave María Lola | Album: Heavy Salsa
07. Federico Boogaloo | Album: Salsa Y Fuego
08. Hasta Que Se Rompa el Cuero | Album: Greatest Hits
09. Este Es Mi Son | Album: La Salsa La traigo Yo
10. El Baile del Boogaloo | Album: De Una Vez Gozando
Adolescent’s Orquesta, known informally as Los Adolescentes, is a Salsa Romantica group from Venezuela that was initially popular in the mid-to-late ‘90s.
This one is a must-have for anyone who loves Salsa music in general, and this is the building block of the music you dance to at the club today.
This is the kind of music you can venture to dance On2 as well as LA style. Their music has a harmonious feel to it.
Let’s begin with their best Salsa songs to dance to.
01. Anhelo | Album: Reclamando Nuestro Espacio
02. Aquel Lugar | Album: Buscame.
03. Homenaje a tres grandes del teclado | Album: Into The 90’s
04. Cuerpo Sin Alma | Album: Buscame.
05. Hoy Aprendi | Album: V.I.P. Edition
06. Persona Ideal | Album: Persona Ideal
07. Me Tengo Que Ir | Album: Salsa Classic Vol.1
08. Se Acabó El Amor | Album: Buscame.
09. Amor Amargo | Album: Buscame.
10. Arrepentida | Album: Persona Ideal
Oscar De León
The “Lion of Salsa”, Oscar D’Leon, is Venezuela’s best Salsa singer and one of the greatest voices of this rhythm. In Spanish, he is known as El Sonero del Mundo (“the Son Singer of the World”) or as El Sonero Mayor (“the Great Son Singer”).
His most famous song is perhaps “Llorarás,” which he recorded in 1975 with his group La Dimensión Latina.
Llorarás is a brief yet fun song to dance to, serving as a testament to his prowess in the genre.
The title translates to “You’ll Cry”. Despite the slightly depressing name, the song’s rhythm moves swiftly. D’Leon roars his lyrics out in anguish at rejection, singing, “You’ll cry, you’ll cry, you’ll cry / like I suffered / you’ll cry / nobody will understand you.”
And yet, its beat keeps you dancing from beginning to end. I believe this is one of the best Salsa songs to dance to of all time.
The best Salsa song from Oscar D Leon.
01. Yo Soy | Album: Yo Soy.
02. Monta Mi Caballo | Album: Detalles.
03. Yo La Vi | Album: El Malo
04. A El | Album: El Verdadero Leon
05. Que Se Sienta | Album: De Aqui Pa’lla
06. Hechicera | Album: Lloraras
07. Los Tamalitos De Olga | Album: La Salsa Soy Yo
08. Comuniquemonos | Album: De Aqui Pa’lla
09. Mi Delito | Album: Exitos Vol.2
10. Rico Meal | Album: Exitos Vol.2
11. Hechando Pa’Lante | Album: A Mi Me Gusta Asi
12. Calculadora | Album: Los Oscares De Oscar.
13. Rumba Rumbero | Album: Los Oscares De Oscar
Believe it or not, Marc Anthony is a multi-talented singer, dancer, actor, songwriter, producer, and fashion designer. He is one of the world’s biggest pop stars and the top-selling Salsa artist AND has been considered the only rightful heir to the late Hector Lavoe’s throne.
Do you think that is true for you?
Now, as an actor, he starred as Lavoe in El Cantante, had a recurring role in the television series Hawthorne, and appeared on Broadway in productions such as Paul Simon’s The Capeman. In addition, he has appeared in supporting roles in films, including The Substitute, Big Night, and Blue in the Face.
This is the kind of artist that, it is safe to say here, grew up listening to Latin musicians, including Rubén Blades, Hector Lavoe, and Willie Colón, and contemporary pop recordings by Air Supply and José Feliciano.
At age twelve, David Harris, a producer of demos and commercials, discovered Anthony and his sister, and he hired Anthony to sing background on several productions.
Okay, let’s do it with Marc Anthony’s popular Salsa songs.
01. Y Hubo Alguien | Album: Contra La Corriente
02. I Need To Know | Album: Marc Anthony
03. Te Conozco Bien | Album: Todo A Su Tiempo
04. Valio La Pena | Album: Valio La Pena
05. Nadie Como Ella | Album: Todo A Su Tiempo
06. Tu Amor Me Hace Bien | Album: Valio La Pena
07. Celos | Album: Libre
08. Ahora Quién | Album: Marc Anthony
09. Que Precio Tiene El Cielo | Album: Grandes Exitos
10. Vivir La Vida | Album: 3.0
Tromboranga is the pure essence of Salsa with character. Therefore, this is by far a strong contender when I refer to Latin songs. After listening to a lot of Salsa music, one of the secret ingredients I have found is the trombone’s sound.
This band has that trombone sound and solid – strong percussion and their unique sound of the piano. In addition, this band recovers the essence of “soneos” and a fine voice improvisation among the chorus, maintaining a raw, strong, and danceable sound, especially if you want to dance On2.
My brother and I had the chance to see them perform live, and I am telling you, the guys are solid. The music, the sound, the melodies, and the playfulness of the whole band… It is a show to watch time and time again.
A small glance at the top 10 latin songs to dance:
01. Amigo El Raton | Album: Tromboranga
02. Agua Que Va Caer | Album: Agua Que Va Caer
03. Palo Pa La Campana | Album: Salsa Pa’ rato
04. Adio Que Te Vaya Bien | Album: Salsa Dura
05. Ah Caray ( Aquí que pasó ) | Album: Sangre, Sudor y Salsa
06. Hulmidad | Album: Una noche en Bankok
07. Mi China Colombiana | Album: Sangre, Sudor y Salsa
08. Soy Sonero | Album: Al Mal Tiempo Buena Salsa
09. Tumba Puchunga | Album: Solo Para Coleccionista Vol.1
10. Arroz Con Manteca | Album: Tromboranga
Willie Colón And Hector LaVoe
Now I present the perfect storm: an incredible duo for Latin songs or Salsa music. They are legendary Salsa pioneers and one of the first Fania Recording Signings.
Trombonist, composer, and bandleader Willie Colón is one of the pioneers of Latin American music. Despite initial criticism, Colón’s album El Malo was one of the first to feature the “New York Sound” that sparked a renewed interest in Latin music during the 1970s.
Colón was instrumental in the careers of such Latin musicians as Hector Lavoe — who sang with his band from the late ’60s through the mid-’70s and created a virtual template for New York Salsa in the process — Rubén Blades, and Celia Cruz, to mention some of them.
A great among greats, this great artist’s life was marked by a tragic destiny. Héctor Lavoe’s interest in music began in his native Puerto Rico. In search of new opportunities, he traveled to New York with a suitcase full of dreams and the firm goal of landing a job in the music world.
Johnny Pacheco happened to hear him perform at one of those nightclubs. In Lavoe, he discovered a powerful voice and the easiest of manners. He was so impressed that he told Willie Colón he had found a singer for the recording of his first album, “El malo.”
The combination of Héctor Lavoe and Willie Colón enriched the world of Salsa and set the stage for their collaboration, which lasted seven years. It also gave birth to ten albums, full of vibrant songs that spoke the language of the street, a type of musical narrative that the public identified with, one that cemented Salsa as a genre.
His life was an open book, each page documenting the tragedy and heartbreak that marked and influenced the rise and fall of his brilliant professional career. Héctor Lavoe died on June 29, 1993, at forty-six.
This next playlist does not do justice, but it none than less what I consider my tribute to Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe.
I present to you the best latin songs of all time:
01. Eso Se Baila Asi | Album: The Hustler
02. The Hustler | Album: The Hustler
03. Que Lio | Album: The Hustler
04. No Me Llores Mas | Album: Cosa Nuestra
05. Ausencia | Album: Cosa Nuestra
06. Te Conosco | Album: Cosa Nuesra
07. Te Estan Buscando | Album: Guisando
08. Abuelita | Album: La Gran Fuga
09. Barrunto | Album: La Gran Fuga
10. Piraña | Album: El Juicio
11. Soñando Despierto | El Juicio
12. Timbalero | Album: El Juicio
13. Que Bien Te Ves | Album: The Good The Bad And The Ugly
14. La Murga | Album: Willie
15. La Banda | Album: Willie
16. Calle Luna Calle Sol | Album: Willie
17. Pase La Noche Fumando | Album: Vigilante
18. Triste Y Vacia | Album: Vigilante
19. Vigilante | Album: Vigilante
20. El Cantante | Album: Comedia
21. Songoro Cosongoro | Album: Comedia
22. Vamos A Reir Un Poco | Album: De Ti Depende
23. Periodico De Ayer | Album: De Ti Depende
24. Hacha Y Machete | Album: De Ti Depende
Tito Nieves is known as “El Pavarotti de la Salsa”. This guy became one of the leading salsa singers of the 1980s and the early 1990s from Puerto Rico.
I was introduced to Tito Nieve’s Salsa songs because he sings English Salsa songs. One of the best DJs in Atlanta made a CD for me with his music. Go figure.
Here are the soft and romantic Salsa songs you can enjoy dancing to On1 or On2. I use a lot of his music to help the student to get a good grasp of the On2 rhythm. I am sure you are going to enjoy this playlist.
Okay, the best Salsa song to dance to.
01. Dejame Vivir | Album: Déjame Vivir
02. Almohada | Album: Déjame Vivir
03. Make It Like It Was | Album: Déjame Vivir
04. De Mi Enamorate | Album: Déjame Vivir
05. Un Tipo Común | Album: Un Tipo Común
06. No Me Vuelvo A Enamorar | Album: Un Tipo Común
07. El Amor Mas Bonito | Album: Yo Quiero Cantar
08. I’ll Always Love You | Album: Yo Quiro Cantar
09. Heart Of Mine | Album: Yo Quiro Cantar
10. Without You | Album: I Like It Like That
11. Fabricando Fantasias | Album: En Otra Onda
12. Te Amo | Album: Déjame Vivir
Gilberto Santa Rosa
“El Caballero de la Salsa” is how I learn about Gilberto Santa Rosa. His Salsa style is not easily categorized, for he often changes his approach from one album to the next. His straight-ahead, dance-oriented albums like 1991’s Perspectiva and 2004’s Auténtico, as well as his eclectic ones like 1996’s Esencia and 1999’s Expresión, tend to be his most critically celebrated.
On the other hand, lavish albums such as A Dos Tiempos de un Tiempo (1992), De Cara al Viento (1994), as well as his primarily romantic ones (2002’s Viceversa, 2006’s Directo al Corazón) tend to be his best-selling.
Consequently, Santa Rosa is one of the more discussed Salsa artists of his time. For sure, there is significant interest in his music and respect for his talent; however, there is little consensus about Santa Rosa’s position within Salsa since his style is ever-changing.
If Santa Rosa’s music tends to differ stylistically from album to album, if not sometimes even song to song, his legacy remains firmly in place.
So, let’s begin then.
01. Sin Un Amor | Album: Good Vibration
02. Que Alguien Me Diga | Album: Historia Tropical
03. No Quiero Nada Regalado | Album: Esencia
04. Vivir Sin Ella | Album: 40 Y Cantando
05. Pero No Me Amas | Album: Intenso
06. Conciencia | Album: Perspectiva
07. Llegó El Amor | Album: Contraste
08. La Agarro Bajando | Album: El Babalero De La Salsa
09. La Sigo Amando Tanto | Album: De Cara Al Viento
10. No Digas Nada Y Baila | Album: De Corazón
11. Perdoname | Album: Perdoname … Exitos!
12 No Me Volvieron A hablar de Ella | Album: Naci Aqui
13. Impaciencia | Album: Perdoname… Exitos!
As you can see, obtaining all the best songs from great artists is extremely difficult.
So, I will share some of the songs I enjoy listening to and dancing to with these popular bands you may not be familiar with.
I frequently incorporate these songs into my lessons for my students.
Okay, let’s do it, and I hope you enjoy it too.
01. Siempre Seré | Tito Rojas | Album: Vida
02. Dime Si Eres Feliz | Tito Rojas | Album: A Mi Estilo…
03. Tu Cariñito | Puerto Rican Power. | Album: Men In Salsa
04. Pena De Amor | Puerto Rican Power | Album: Wild,Wild Salsa
05. No Me Acostumbro | Rey Ruiz | Album: Mi Media Mitad
06. Luna Negra | Rey Ruiz | Album: Mi Media Mitad
07. La Quiero A Morir | DLG | Album: DLG (Dark Latin Groove)
08. No Morirás | DLG | Album: DLG (Dark Latin Groove)
09. La Pantera Mambo | La-33 | Album: La-33
10. Que Rico Boogaloo | La-33 | Album: La-33
11. El Preso | Fruko Y Sus Tesos | Album: Salsa Explosiva.
12. Mi Libertad | Fruko Y Sus Tesos | Album: Salsa Explosiva.
13. Mi Libertad | Frankie Ruiz | Album: Show
14. La Cura | Frankie Ruiz | Album: Platino
15. Otra Oportunidad | Jimmy Bosh | Album: Soneando Trombon.
16. La Cacharra | Jimmy Bosh | Album: Salsa Dura.
17. Amor Narcotico | Chichi Peralta | Album: Pa’ Otro La ‘O
18. Oiga, Mire, Vea | Guatacán Orquestra | Album: Su Historia Musical.
19. Cambiaré Por Ti | Guatacán Orquestra | Album: Xtremo
20. A Corazón Abierto | Hector Tricoche | Album: Oro Salsero
Music transcends walls and boundaries. I have always known that music is the language that everyone understands. It connects people worldwide magically.
If I may say so, Latin songs to listen to or salsa songs to dance to are good for your spirits, souls, and head. It proves that making music can positively affect the brain and nervous system.
It is hard for me to grasp what I want to express here, but you can feel it with ( almost ) all your senses.
Music is always with me, and it is part of my life. But this much is certain: music has filled and enriched my life in every way. Music has allowed me to experience extraordinary joy.
Enjoy it, and Happy Listening!
PS. I have written an article about the hidden language of the soul… What is it? Well, click this link to learn about it.