Mexico contains a rich blend of cultures that can vary as you travel across the different regions of the country. Their music scene is incredibly varied and astonishing, with traditional styles blending with elements from other countries and newer genres of music all the time. In this article, we’ll look at the 21 best Mexican songs, from famous tracks of the past to newer hit singles.
1. Bésame Mucho – Consuelo Velázquez
Conseulo Velázquez would write Bésame Mucho in 1932, but it would be eight years before she premiered it. The song would go on to become one of the most popular tracks of the 20th century and a cornerstone of Latin music as a whole going forward. Numerous artists would interpret and record the song. Perhaps the most famous Spanish version would be done by Pedro Infante.
However, the English version of the track would be used by none other than The Beatles when they were auditioning at both Decca Studios and EMI. The EMI version would end up being included on their 1995 compilation album Anthology 1.
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2. Oye como Va – Tito Puente
Oye Como Va found widespread popularity in 1970 after rock band Santana released it on their album Abraxas. It was first released on Tito Puente’s album El Rey Bravo in 1962. Santana’s version rose to number 13 on the Hot 100 in 1971 and would eventually be inducted into the Latin Grammy Hall of Fame and Grammy Hall of Fame.
As one of the earliest and most popular Mexican songs, this one has become renowned as a symbol of Latin music in the United States and has the legacy in music history to warrant a high place on any list of the best tracks of all time.
3. La Bamba – Los Lobos
La Bamba is one of the most famous Mexican songs in history, becoming a worldwide sensation after a rock and roll version was recorded in 1958 by Ritchie Valens. Los Lobos would go on to record it in 1987 for the film La Bamba, seeing it take the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. It spent 21 weeks in total on the chart and turned into the most well-known version of the track.
It originated as a Mexican folk song, with lyrics often being changed frequently as artists improvised verses for it on stage. The traditional version of the track was played at weddings and had a dance associated with it that saw couples bowing together intricately to signify their new union.
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4. Adiós Amor – Christian Nodal
Any good list of the best songs needs a sad love story to make it complete, and this one was a tearjerker. Adiós Amor by Christian Nodal is all about letting go of someone you love and describes the horrendous pain involved with the end of a relationship. It isn’t an overly-complicated or sappy track, but it’s an accurate one. Today, it stands as one of the most famous Mexican songs thanks to blending traditional Mexican music with a little bit of modern styles to tell a story.
5. La Cucaracha
La Cucaracha is probably the one song on this list that almost everyone reading will have heard before. Translating to “The Cockroach,” this is one of the oldest tracks on our list. It dates back to at least the 1910s and the Mexican Revolution, but its actual origins are mostly left a mystery to us today.
It’s all about a cockroach that cannot walk, but the song has quite a lot of different versions. The lyrics have changed over the years, but they never actually mentioned specific events or people. The only hint we have is that early versions hinted at conflicts between Spanish and Moroccan forces during the Hispano-Moroccan War, but other than that, we do not know.
6. Arriba – Natanael Cano
From a very old folk song of unknown origin to one of the more recent hits to come out of Mexico in recent years, we turn to Arriba by Natanael Cano. It’s more of a catchy pop song than anything, but it retains traditional Mexican elements that make it emblematic of modern Mexico. At the Latin American Music Awards, the track would win him both the award for Best Music Video and the award for Best Regional Mexican Song.
7. Si Te Vas – Pedro Fernández
Si Te Vas translates to “If You Go” in English. The song was written and recorded by Pedro Fernández for his 1994 album Mi Forma De Sentir. That version would go on to win a BMI Latin Award in 1997. Later, American singer Marc Anthony would record his version of the track for his album Contra La Corriente, turning it into the ninth song of his that rose to the top spot on the Latin Tropical Airplay chart. In 1999, Fernández was back, earning another BMI Award because of his version of the track.
8. Comprendes, Mendes? – Control Machete
Comprendes, Mendes? was a hit as soon as it hit the airwaves in Mexico. It honestly detailed the real consequences of poverty in Mexico and the struggles that it forces people into. It was released on the 1996 album Mucho Barato and paired with that outstanding message was one of the catchiest beats of the year. Control Machete took the plight of the average Mexican citizen and laid it bare for the world to see, and hopefully, it ushered in some level of change.
9. Las Cuatro Milpas
Las Cuatro Milpas has been recorded by a lot of different artists over the years. Perhaps the best-known one we have today comes from Earle The Mexican. He recorded the song in 1939, but the Son Cubano ensemble Sexteto Habanero recorded one in 1927.
The track title translates to “The Four Cornfields” in English. Its main theme is nostalgia, longing for the good old days and simpler times. It’s likely that it originated as a song during the Revolution, with many people wishing for things to go back to the way they were before all of the fighting happened.
10. Gatita – Bellakath
Gatita by Bellakath is another one of the most recent entries we have on our list today. It was released in 2022 as the title track of her album that year. It turned into an instant classic thanks to her incredible vocal talent, and it will likely remain a popular song going forward.
11. Oye Mi Amor – Maná
Maná’s Oye Mi Amor is a love song that doesn’t mess around. The man in the track loves that woman and all he wants to do is be with her, fervently expressing his desire to make her happy and be her lover. It was released as part of the band’s 1992 album Donde Jugaran Los Ninos and would feature as one of the singles to come from their fourth album.
12. Somos Novios – Armando Manzanero
Somos Novios is one of the simplest tracks on this list when you do a lyrical analysis of the songs but that hasn’t stopped it from achieving greatness. The track is widely considered to be one of the most romantic Mexican songs of all time. Literally translating to “We Are Lovers,” this has been recorded in numerous different languages with untold numbers of lyrical changes throughout the years.
It was originally written by Armando Manzanero in 1968, but later artists like Luis Miguel popularized it. Perry Como’s English version made the Top 10 on both the United States and United Kingdom charts, while Andrea Bocelli and Christina Aguilera would sing it together for his Amore album in 2006.
13. Cielito Lindo – Pedro Infante
Cielito Lindo is another one of the older songs on this list, dating back to at least the mid-1700s. The track is believed to be written by one Quirino Mendoza y Cortes, but a completely positive attribution is still up in the air. Translating to “Pretty Little Heaven,” this is one of the most popular Mexican folk songs produced, and it has had a long life thanks to the many artists who have recorded it over the years. Among those, Pedro Infante was the one who recorded the most well-known version we still have today.
14. Somos más Americanos – Los Tigres del Norte
Somos Más Americanos is the first of two songs on our list that address the injustices Mexican people face in the United States. This socially conscious track pulls no punches as it deliberates over Mexican identity and the problems that plague Mexican-Americans that are still going on today. The song title astutely—and pointedly—translates to “We Are More American” in English, a barbed message that was as blunt as it was true.
15. Historia de un Amor – Carlos Eleta Almaran
Historia De Un Amor is another track that is widely regarded as one of the most romantic Latin songs ever produced, but it hides that title behind a very sad story. Carlos Eleta Alamaran wrote this to cheer up his brother whose wife has passed away and would eventually become a track recorded or sung by almost every big Mexican artist in the music industry.
16. Por Qué Me Haces Llorar – Juan Gabriel
Por Qué Me Haces Llorar translates to “Why Do You Make Me Cry” in English. The song was an important one for Juan Gabriel, helping him establish himself in the Latin music industry, and was a cornerstone of his legacy as one of the most influential singers and composers in that field. The track is about the sadness the singer feels as he yearns for a woman he no longer has but is still very much in love with.
17. Kumbala – Matilda Vecindad
Kumbala is one of the best Mexican rock songs in history. La Maldita Vecindad y Los Hijos Del Quinto Patio—or just Maldita Vincindad for short—mixed rock, ska, Mexican, and Arabic sounds to create this gem of a track that has a unique style to it that helps it stand out. It’s mainly about the Kumbala Dance Bar, a place where people go when they’re heartbroken and want to drink away their sorrows. It doesn’t help that the bar is full of couples dancing though.
18. Frijolero – Molotov
Frijolero blends Spanish and English together to detail only a few of the abuses Mexicans and Mexican-Americans face in the United States. The Mexican people tend to be looked down upon in this country, unfortunately. This was a condemnation of those racial biases and slurs that are often hurled at Mexicans there while also criticizing the United States government for both its immigration policies and its inability to protect the rights of Mexicans living inside of the United States.
19. Ni una Sola Palabra – Paulina Rubio
Ni Una Sola Palabra was released as the lead single of Paulina Rubio’s 2006 album Ananda. Fans got a special treat when the song was leaked early online, prompting the record label to release it earlier than intended. It became her final single on the Hot 100 chart and is remembered as her greatest track. It would go on to win the Latin Grammy Award for Latin Pop Airplay Song of the Year Female.
20. Libertango – Astor Piazzolla
Astor Piazzolla was a tango composer who wrote Libertango. While not exactly a song coming from Mexico, it was immensely popular and influential in the tango scene there. After its publication in 1974, the track would become a mainstay of Latin American culture and remains to this day an important dance number and a popular Mexican song.
21. La Incondicional – Luis Miguel
Luis Miguel released La Incondicional as part of his 1988 album Busca Una Mujer and saw it reach the top of the Hot Latin Tracks chart the following year. Premios Lo Nuestro would name it their Pop Song of the Year, and it was the number-one Spanish track of the 80s according to VH1 Latin America. It’s a bit of a love song but mostly discusses the passion of a heated affair that doesn’t involve any true feelings of love between the two people involved.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
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