Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon, “Che Che Cole” (1970)
Puerto Rican Hector Lavoe and Nuyorican Willie Colon are legends in the genre of salsa. Their jam, “Che Che Cole” is based on the Ghanaian folk song, “Kye Kye Kule.”
Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheco, “Quimbara” (1974)
Celia Cruz is the Queen of Salsa. One of her best known hits—which is also one of the best known salsa songs—is “Quimbara,” which la Cubana performed with Dominicano Johnny Pacheco.
Oscar D’Leon, “Llorarás” (1975)
Venezolano Oscar D’Leon is another big name in the salsa game. His tune, “Lloraras,” is on many “best salsa songs of all time” lists.
Fruko y Sus Tesos, “El Preso” (1975)
Colombia has made its own mark on the musical genre; Cali is even known as the “Capital of Salsa.” In their song, “El Preso,” Fruko y Sus Tesos tell the tale of a man serving 30 years in prison.
El Gran Combo, “Vagabundo” (1975)
El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico is so known and respected in the genre, that they are known as The University of Salsa. Their song, “Vagabundo,” is considered by many to be one of the best salsa songs of all time.
Hector Lavoe, “El Periodico de Ayer” (1976)
It’s no surprise that another Hector Lavoe hit made it on this list. The majority of the singer’s hit songs were made in the ’70s, including 1976’s “El Periodico de Ayer.”
Willie Colon and Ruben Blades, “Pedro Navaja” (1978)
Willie Colon also made the list twice (no surprise there either). In addition to “Che Che Cole,” Colon recorded the well-known “Pedro Navaja” during the ’70s. Ruben Blades—another salsa legend–serves as the other half of this jam.