As with other Latinopia lists, the criteria used was: is the work of art still valid, vibrant and
remembered a decade after its release? In the case of music, are people still listening to this album ten years (and, in some cases, forty years) later? Of course, there are many albums that
fit this criteria. Latinopia also looked to the influence that the album and musician would later leave on the evolution of Latino music. We offer the following list of top Latino Albums for your perusal, approval and/or debate.

1)     Abraxas (1970)
At a time when Latino rock was relegated to
barrio venues, Santana’s second break through
album not only firmly embedded Santana into the
national American register but also did much
to prepare American listeners for appreciating
subsequent Latino rock groups like Malo and
Los Lobos. The album includes the hits Black
Magic Woman, Oye Como Va and Singing
Wind/Crying Beasts. Arguably the most
significant single Latino album ever produced.

2)     Just Another Band from East L.A. (1977)
Los Lobos
Produced on a budget of less than $3,000,
this first album by the legendary Los Lobos
is an all acoustic and virtually all Spanish
language album that showed the promise of this
internationally renowned and multi-talented
group of East Los Angeles musicians before
they went electric and rock. The cuts on this
album reveal their roots and the promise of the
unique musicianship that would later result in
hits like La Bamba, Will The Wolf Survive,
Kiko and the Lavender and La Pistola y El
Corazon. The album includes such classics as
Sabor A Mi, Cielito Lindo, La Iguana,
Feria de las Flores and María Chuchena.

3)     Big Hits By Prado (1960)
Perez Prado
During the fifties Cuban born orchestra leader and
composer Perez Prado scored American number one
hits with Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White,
Patricia and Mambo No. 5. When stereo came onto the
scene, RCA decided to record these and other hits in stereo.
The result was Big Hits by Prado which further consolidated
Prado as the King of the Mambo. These same songs can now
be heard on a variety of compilations including the 1995
Rhino collection, Mondo Mambo. When you listen to
Cherry Pink or Patricia, one wonders: How
could modern American Latino music have evolved
without these ground breaking sounds?

4)     Dreaming of You (1995)
Released shortly after her premature death in
1995, this album shows the promise of what could
have been. English language songs like Dreaming
of You, I Could Fall in Love and Captive Heart are
complemented by Spanish language hits like Amor
Prohibido and Tu Solo Tu. In her short lifetime,
Selena amassed a worldwide audience making
her worth of inclusion on this list.

5)    La Incomparable Celia (1958)
Celia Cruz
This was the first album to consolidate
the many performances of Celia Cruz with
the legendary Cuban band, La Sonora Mantancera.
The vibrant and electric voice of a young woman
alive with music and culture reverberates throughout
this album and suggests the legacy that she would
later leave after a lifetime of singing. The album
includes Chango Ta Viene, Madre Rumba,
Poco a Poco, Baho Kende and Que Voy Hacer.
Rhino records includes many of these in its
compilation release of the Celia Cruz/Sonora Matancera
collaborations from 1951 thru 1965 titled
100% Azucar! The Best of Celia Cruz con la
Sonora Mantancera.

6)     Para La Gente (1972)
Little Joe & La Familia
This breakthrough album put Little Joe
and La Familia on the national register
and introduced his big band Tex-Mex
sound  to a national audience. The album
includes his signature song, Las Nubes,
as well as El Disco, Que Culpa Tengo
Viajera, and La Tracionera. Perhaps
the quintessential Tex-Mex album.

7)    Dance Mania (1958)
Tito Puente
This 1958 break through album not only
established Tito Puente as the King of the
Salseros, but also did much to popularize
the cha cha, son and mambo to American
audiences (Latinos were already on to all
of this!) The album , touted as “the album that
taught America to dance,” includes El Cayuco,
Complicación, 3-D Mambo, Estoy Siempre
Junto as Tí and Saca Tu Mujer. Listening to
Tito Puente in his youth affirms the vision
and artistry that would later make him a

8)    Canciones de Mi Padre (1987)
Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt’s first Spanish language album,
Songs of My Father, was a smash hit on its
release in 1987 and soon became the largest
selling non-English language album in American
music history. Based on songs she heard her
father sing at their home in Tucson, Arizona,
the album includes such Mexican standards as
Los Laureles, Tú Solo Tú, Y Andale, Dos
Arbolitos and La Barca de Guaymas.

9 ) Thee Midniters Greatest Hits (1965)
Thee Midniters
This landmark first album by the
legendary Eastside rock group crystalized
the Eastside sound that had been pioneered
by the Premiers, Cannibal and the Headhunters
and El Chicano and that would evolve with
groups like Azteca and Tierra. The album, now
reissued by Thump records includes classics
such as Whittier Blvd, Land of A Thousand
Dances, That’s All, Sad Girl and Giving Up
on Love. The next best thing to having the vinyl.

10)     Buena Vista Social Club (1997)
Ry Cooder and the Buena Vista Social Club
This collaboration between American musician
Ry Cooder with old school Cuban musicians
of the “son de Cuba” like Ibrahim Ferrer, Orlando
“Cachaíto” López, Eliades Ochoa and Compay
Segundo rocked the American music scene on
its release in 1997. Since then it has done much
to revitalize cross-cultural understanding between
Cuba and the United States and has introduced
American listeners to a classic Cuban sound seldom
heard before. The album includes outstanding songs
like Chan Chan,De Camino a La Vereda, Dos
Gardenias, Candela and La Bayamesa.