A Reminder That Latinos Dominated Pop Music In 1999


Let's revisit the music scene in 1999: there were the inescapable boy bands, girl groups and a fair share of bizarre one-hit wonders (never forget, we made "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" a hit, people). But while cookie-cutter pop stars were making it happen in one corner, an explosion of Latino crossover artists were equally winning over the U.S. charts.

It has been 15 years since this Latin renaissance of sorts, so let's take a deep dive back into the world of J.Lo, Enrique, Ricky and more:

Ricky Martin and "Livin' La Vida Loca"

If you so much as had a pulse in 1999, you were "Livin' La Vida Loca." After absolutely killing it at the 1999 Grammy Awards with his "Cup of Life" performance, Martin released "Livin' La Vida Loca" and inspired us all to live the crazy life/pour hot wax on our lovers.

Jennifer Lopez and "On the 6"

Jenny had already been around the block in film, starring in box office successes like "Selena" and "Anaconda" in 1997 and alongside George Clooney in 1998's "Out of Sight." But her successful musical crossover in 1999 is what made her a household name, as the first single off her debut album, "If You Had My Love," quickly became a No 1. hit on the Billboard charts.

The music video was all:


And we were all:


Then there was the epic dance hit, "Waiting For Tonight." The perfect anthem for all of our anxiety about Y2K.

Enrique Iglesias and "Enrique"

With three Latin albums and a grammy for Best Latin Pop Performance under his belt, Iglesias made a smooth transition into the English-language music market. In 1999, the Spanglish hit "Bailamos" hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was featured on the soundtrack for "Wild Wild West" starring Will Smith.

Later that year, his subsequent hits, "Rhythm Divine" and duet with Whitney Houston, "Could I Have This Kiss Forever," sealed his success in the states. Annnnd his gorgeous face probably didn't hurt, either.


Marc Anthony and "I Need To Know"

After recording "No Me Ames" with future wife Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony signed with Sony and released a self-titled English album. "I Need To Know" and its Spanish version, "Dimelo," both earned Grammy nominations, with the latter winning the Latin Grammy Award for Song of the Year. On that same album was the hit ballad "You Sang To Me," which will probably never get out of our heads thanks to the Lite-FM radio stations that keep it on steady rotation.

Shakira and MTV Unplugged

On the heels of success with her fourth album,"Dónde Están los Ladrones?" Shakira was invited to record a live album on MTV Unplugged. Ah, yes, back when MTV had music.

It would only be a few years later, in 2001, that she belly-danced her way into the heart of mainstream America with "Whenever, Wherever."


Santana and "Supernatural"

Latin rock pioneer Carlos Santana and his band earned a massive pop hit with their Grammy-winning album "Supernatural," released in 1999. Tracks like "Maria Maria" and "Smooth," a collaboration with Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, both reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts -- and stayed there for weeks. Seriously, "Smooth" was at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 from mid October 1999 until January 2000. You could only escape this song if you were living under a rock in 1999 (in which case this article is probably super enlightening).

Gloria Estefan and 'N Sync: "Music Of My Heart"

Gloria Estefan was already an international superstar in 1999, but her collaboration with 'N Sync that year proved how much Latin pop stars had penetrated the American pop scene. The track, "Music of my Heart," was nominated for an Academy Award, as it was featured in "Music of the Heart," a film that also co-starred Estefan.

Honorable mention:

Lou Bega is a German musician of Italian and Ugandan descent, but his cover of the Cuban jive hit "Mambo No. 5" reached U.S. ears in 1999 and the rest is name-dropping anthem history.


It's pretty hard to imagine pop music today without the influence of these Latino artists. And we think that calls for a victory dance. Oh yeah, you know the one ...

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