Mexican superstar Juan Gabriel is truly a Latinx legend. He wrote and recorded over 1,000 songs and sold a whopping 100 million records. Songs of his are an undeniable, integral part of Latinx culture and our everyday experiences. Juanga is one of our major pop culture icons, forever.
January 7, 1950, marks Juan Gabriel’s birthday and to honor what would have been the Divo of Juarez’s 70th birthday, we wanted to share 30 of his unforgettable songs. For the full Juan Gabriel experience, we included videos for each song, some being the single’s official music video, and others including epic live performances. Enjoy!
“Hasta Que Te Conoci”
“Hasta Que Te Conoci” is one of Juan Gabriel’s most popular songs and the novela that recently gave fans a glimpse into the star’s life. The single was on the album Pensamientos and was released in 1986, reaching #2 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart.
“El Noa Noa”
“El Noa Noa ” is a Juan Gabriel jam that you won’t be able to get out of your head and will want to dance along to. But did you know that the Noa Noa was an actual place? The song was an homage to the bar in Juarez, Mexico, where Juan got his start singing as a teenager.
Juan Gabriel was a prolific songwriter, creating epic songs that were recorded by big artists that he too sang. “Asi Fue” was written by Juanga and first performed by Spanish singer Isabel Pantoja in 1988, becoming a hit. Juan Gabriel later sang the song during a live performance that led to the live album Celebrando 25 Años de Juan Gabriel: En Concierto en el Palacio de Bellas Artes.
“Abrazame Muy Fuerte”
“Abrazame Muy Fuerte” is a sweeping, dramatic love song that was used as the theme song for the 2000-2001 novela of the same name. The single hit number one on both the Billboard Hot Latin Songs and Latin Pop Songs chart, and won Gabriel three Billboard Music Awards (Hot Latin Track of the Year, Latin Pop Airplay Track of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year).
The beautiful thing about Juan Gabriel songs is that they often reach right to the heart, with their special lyrics and sense of emotion. “Amor Eterno” is a perfect example of this. Juan Gabriel is said to have written this song about the death of his mother (but there are other theories). Although he too, performed “Amor Eterno,” it is also associated with Spanish singer Rocio Durcal, who famously recorded and released its first in 1978.
“Querida” might be Juan Gabriel’s most famous song. It is another one that gets stuck in your head, that so many Latinxs know the words to. First released in 1984, on the album Recuerdos, Vol. II, it was covered by Chayanne, Maldita Vencidad, and Los Olestar, before Juan Gabriel recorded a new version as a duet with Colombian singer Juanes in 2015.
Juan Gabriel would take some of his biggest jams and revamp them through collaborations with the latest big artists. This is exactly what she did with the song “La Frontera.” It was originally released in 1980 and in 2015, he rerecorded it with the help of Julion Alvarez and J Balvin for his album, Los Dúo, Vol. 2.
“Por Que Me Haces Llorar?”
“Por Que Me Haces Llorar” is a song off of Juan Gabriel’s 1996 album, Juan Gabriel. It is his plaintive plea asking his object of affection to stop hurting him. Juanga had so many songs that spoke on love, both good and bad, that resonates (and continue to resonate) with people everywhere.
“Te Lo Pido Por Favor”
Released in 1986, “Te Lo Pido Por Favor” is another touching love song by Juan Gabriel. In it, he pleads to his great love to not leave him. The jam was covered by Banda El Recodo in 1994, Jaguares in 2002, and Caifanes in 2008.
Juan Gabriel were great friends, icons, and collaborators who created legendary music together. A song they recorded was the duet, “Dejame Vivir.” It proved to be one of Durcal’s biggest hits, and her album it appears on, Canta A Juan Gabriel Volumen 6, also became a massive success.
“Siempre en Mi Mente”
Another Juan Gabriel song worth taking a listen to is “Siempre En Mi Mente.” The sad breakup song about finding it hard to forget a recent love is timeless but was first recorded by Juan in 1978. Covers have been done by artists including Julieta Venegas, Banda El Recodo, and Pepe Aguilar.
“Que Divino Amor”
Love was the topic of so many Juan Gabriel songs. “Que Divino Amor” was a single off his El Alma Joven III and released in 1973. It speaks on “divine love,” one that changes a person’s whole world. You can always count on Juan Gabriel for those canciones that put the feelings of love into beautiful words and songs.
“No Tengo Dinero”
Another Juanga jam you’ll want to sing along with (especially when you’re feeling broke) is the classic jam, “No Tengo Dinero.” First released in 1971, the song was part of Juan Gabriel’s very first studio album, El Alma Joven, and his first single. Fast forward to 2003, and you have A.B. Quintanilla y Los Kumbia Kings covering the song, with Juan Gabriel and El Gran Silencio.
“Te Sigo Amando”
“Te Sigo Amando” is another dramatically perfect Juan Gabriel song. It was released in 1980, on the album Ella, but used as the theme song for the 1996 novela of the same name. Like several other Juanga songs, this one is about love, but the kind you can’t forget, even when it’s over.
“Te Voy a Olvidar”
Juan Gabriel music is the perfect soundtrack when you need to listen to great music while you cry it out during a breakup and build up your strength. A specific song to check out is “Te Voy A Olvidar.” It’s the one to belt out when you are done with someone and know you deserve better.
Another song that brought back together the legendary Juan Gabriel and iconic Rocio Durcal is the song “El Destino.” It is a single off their 1997 album, Juntos Otra Vez, and speaks on the brother and sister love the two musical collaborators and friends had for one another.
Next on our list of Juan Gabriel songs you need to know is “Si Quieres.” Released in 1982, it appears on the album Cosas de Enamorados and speaks about that wonderful feeling we all love — love.
“No Vale La Pena”
The year 1983 saw the release of the album Todo, which includes the song “No Vale La Pena.” The song is perfect for what seems to happen in dating these days; he lets his love know that a little bit of love is just not enough. Know your worth and crank up this jam!
“Pero Que Necesidad”
“Pero Que Necesidad” is a Juan Gabriel jam that made it to #1 on the Billboard 200 chart in 1994. Juanga has had six other #1 songs: “Abrazame Muy Fuerte,” “Debo Harcerlo,” “Te Sigo Amando,” “El Destino,” “Yo No Se Que Paso,” and “El Palo.”
“La Diferencia” is a song about unrequited love, that appears on Juan Gabriel’s fourteenth studio album, 1980’s Juan Gabriel con Mariachi. Did you know that the Mexican artist also released two more albums that year, “Ella,” and “Recuerdos?”
“Inocente Pobre Amigo”
Another of Juan Gabriel’s top songs is “Inocente Pobre Amigo.” This single is also off the 1980 album Juan Gabriel con Mariachi. It speaks both to a cheating partner and the “poor innocent friend” who she will no doubt do the same to.
“Con Tu Amor”
Juan Gabriel released the song “Con Tu Amor” in 1981. It is from the album of the same name and is yet another example of Juanga’s grand sense of romanticism. The song speaks about how love has erased sorrow and pain, replacing it with happiness.
“Si Me Olvidó Otra Vez”
In addition to love, another common thread across some of Juan Gabriel’s songs is pain, loss, and sorrow. One example of this is “Si Me Olvidó Otra Vez.” It is about forgetting that he is not with his love anymore and waiting for that to change.
“Costumbres” is another song written by Juan Gabriel that he and others recorded. It was first recorded by Rocio Durcal for her 1985 album Canta A Juan Gabriel Volumen 6. Gabriel sang it himself on 1998’s Celebrando 25 Años de Juan Gabriel: En Concierto en el Palacio de Bellas Artes. Artists who covered “Costumbres” include Selena, La India, and Lupita D’Alessio.
“Yo No Naci Para Amar”
“Yo No Naci Para Amar” is a sad song, released in 1980, about not finding love, and feeling that you weren’t born for love. Juan Gabriel was not afraid to be vulnerable in his music, and explore all the emotions and facets of love and the lack of it.
In the song “La Farsante,” Juan Gabriel directly speaks to the lover who betrayed him with hurt and anger, calling her a fake. The song was originally released in 1983; in 2015, Lila Downs released a duet version with Juanga.
“He Venido a Pedirte Perdon”
It seems like Juan Gabriel has a song for every romantic situation. In “He Venido a Pedirte Perdon,” Juan Gabriel plays the role of the repentant lover who accepts responsibility for the relationship going wrong and hopes that his love never feels as bad as he does. The cancion appears on Juanga’s 1980 album Recuerdos.
“A Mi Guitarra”
“A Mi Guitarra” is a 1976 jam, from the album of the same name, in which Juan Gabriel shows appreciation for his guitar. He calls his guitarra his friend, the source of his music, and the reason he is happy and no longer alone.
“Si Dios Me Ayuda”
Juan Gabriel even has a song for people in love who are apart from each other. “Si Dios Me Ayuda,” which was released in 1974, has him asking his partner to wait for him while he is away, that if God helps him, he will be back and the sacrifice will be worth it.
This next song from Juan Gabriel sounds like a novela, weaving an interesting story. In “Caray,” Juan Gabriel lets his ex know that if she married him, she wouldn’t be suffering now. But she had refused him for being poor, choosing instead to marry an old rich man, who then abandoned her. After having cried, Juanga is now the one who is happy, knowing that life isn’t about money, but rather love.