These Latino One Hit Wonders Came And Went But They’ll Always Have A Special Place In My Heart
A lot of singers and bands have had one ephimeral hit. They had a song that occupied a top post on the charts and then slipped away into anonymity.
Growing up in the 90s and early 00s, hits like la “Macarena” from Spanish duet Los del Río, were huge. You heard it everywhere, from the radio to commercials, to kids’ birthday parties, to FIFA’s Worldcup. The song still holds a top position in Billboard’s Hot 100. Or how about early 00s inescapable hit “Aserejé”? The catchy moves were almost as viral as the nonsensical words.
What makes a song a one hit wonder?, you might ask. Catchy words and a catchy rhythm! The words are easy to remember and repetitive. This little formula is what gets us hooked on a song. Usually the lyrics are pretty simple – except for Aserejé, we really wouldn’t be able to explain how, or why we still remember every piece of gibberish in the song but alas! We do.
The 90s and early 00s definitely had some iconic ‘one hit wonders’ that marked many generations. The people on this list made it to the top for a moment in time only to disappear into obscurity soon after.
1. Macarena – Los del Río
Yeah, yeah, they’re not Latino but we’re including them because if you’re hispanic and were around in the 90s, you would know that La Macarena became a staple at EVERY latino gathering, and it will continue to be until the end of time. I dare you to go to a quinceañera or a wedding where they don’t play la Macarena at least once.
2. Aserejé – Las Ketchup
Ok, not Latinas either, soz. But did you know that the Spanish girl band Las Ketchup recorded ‘Aserejé’ in 5 different languages, including Chinese? That’s how big this song was. It was rumoured that the song was satanic and there were so many theories as to whether the lyrics were backward words to some black magic ritual. In reality, the author Manuel Ruiz “Queco” revealed that the words are actually a play on the lyrics to “Rapper’s Delight” by Sugar Hill Band. You know, the one that says “I said a hip hop, Hippie to the hippie…”. —Lol, no obscure dark meaning here, not today Satan.
3. La Bomba – Azul Azul
This song truly was the bomb. By Chilean group Azul Azul, ‘La Bomba’ was top of the charts 19 years ago now! The song made it into Billboard’s top 100 latin-american songs of the decade 1990-2000. The lyrics were catchy and the dance moves too! What else do you need to make a hit?
4. El Tiburón – Proyecto Uno
Just by reading the name of the song we can picture the silly “shark” dance everyone makes to the words, ‘Ahí está, se la llevó el tiburón…’. Truly, baby shark has nothing on this tune. Dominican-American group Proyecto Uno became a hit with their unique blend of merengue with techno, dancehall, reggae and hip-hop rap—all of this pre reggaeton. The group won Billboard Latin Awards, Premios Lo Nuestro and even an Emmy with this song.
5. Otro día más sin verte – Jon Secada
27 years ago, ‘Just Another Day’ was the top balad of the moment. The song quickly made it to #5 in Billboard’s Hot 100. 3 months lates Jon Secada released it in Spanish, and all hell broke loose. The singer recorded a special with Oprah, toured Europe and his CD reached the Top 10 Best-Selling albums in the 90s.
6. 1, 2, 3 – El Símbolo
What did we tell you? Catchy lyrics, and catchy dance moves. That’s all Latinos need to make a song their party favorite. El Símbolo was an Argentinean band of latin-pop formed in 1993. But it wasn’t until the year 2000 when they released “1, 2, 3” that their fame rose to world-class levels.
7. El Baile del Gorila -Melody
“Las manos hacia arriba, las manos hacia abajo y como los gorilas…”. What can I say? The 90s were a time of strange songs. This little Spanish girl was 10 years old when she suddenly became a worldwide sensation. In every party, people would rush to the dance floor to imitate the video’s ape-inspired dance moves. After this song went platinum in Spain, we never saw Melody again until 2018, when she released a reggaetón single. Don’t believe us? See for yourself.
8. Quítame a ese Hombre del Corazón – Pilar Montenegro
Better known for being part of the 80s group Garibaldi, Pilar Montenegro became a musical sensation as a solo artist with her love song ‘Quítame a ese hombre’ in 2001. The singer, who was also a telenovela star vanished from the public eye after the success from her song died out.
9. No Rompas Mi Corazón – Caballo Dorado
Another classic latino wedding song is “No rompas mi corazón”, the Spanish equivalent to “Achy Breaky Heart”. The original song by Billy Ray Cyrus was recorded in 1992 and was a huge success in America. Caballo Dorado’s version released in 1997 became a staple in every latino celebration. You’ll catch people dancing to it in weddings, graduations and quinceañeras. There is even a World Guinness record to the largest number of people dancing in one place, and it’s to this song. It’s rumored that Caballo Dorado and Billy Ray Cyrus will release an anniversary duet version of the song.
10. Cha Cha by Chelo
Remember this hit from way back in 2006? ‘Hey muchacha, give me your Cha Cha‘. The Boricua took his song to every party, and even performed during 2006’s Miss Universe pageant. But that was about it, we never heard from Chelo again.
One or more of these songs are sure to spark some memories of a different time. They have become ingrained in people’s minds, they’re party staples. You’ll listen to them at a quinceañera, or a wedding and they still have the power of uniting people of different ages in singing their —more often than not— stupid but catchy lyrics. And then they’ll leave you wondering, ‘What ever happened to that singer?’
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