The 65-year-old, Cuban-born songwriter and performer, Gloria Estefan just exudes authenticity.
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A seven-time Grammy Award-winner, Estefan has earned acclaim from media outlets as one of the greatest artists ever. To wit, she’s sold more than 75 million records worldwide, which makes her the second-highest-selling female artist of Latin descent.
Estefan, who started her career as the lead singer of the Miami Sound Machine, garnered a No. 1 hit, “Anything for You,” with the group. It’s one of the early tracks that solidified her as a force to be reckoned with—known for both a party and romantic side—and elevated her to a spot where she could open doors for future Latin artists like Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. Today, she is known for her dance-inspired songs that feature percussion, and Latin flavor, and her knack for lyrics that get your heart pounding.
[RELATED: 3 Songs You Didn’t Know Gloria Estefan Wrote for Other Artists]
Estefan, who suffered a life-threatening injury in 1990, but who later made a full recovery, released her comeback album, Into the Light, in 1991. The subsequent album, Mi Tierra in 1993, earned her increased fame and Grammy nominations. In 2015, she received one of her biggest honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
She’s also earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and garnered a Kennedy Center Honor in 2017. In total, she’s released 38 No. 1 songs across Billboard charts, including 15 that topped the Hot Latin Songs chart.
Here below, we are going to dive into the Top 10 Gloria Estefan songs of all time.
The song that started it all. “Conga” was released by Miami Sound Machine, which featured Estefan as its lead singer. It comes from the group’s second English-language LP, Primitive Love. Written by the band’s Enrique Garcia, it dropped in 1985 and subsequently became a big success. It became a top 10 hit in several countries, including the U.S.
2. “Don’t Wanna Lose You”
Released in 1989 as the first single from her debut solo LP, Cuts Both Ways, “Don’t Wanna Lose You” was written by Estefan and was produced by her husband, Emilio Estefan Jr., who would amass 19 Grammy Awards in his career. (The two got together in 1976 and married in 1978.) The song hit No. 1 in the U.S. and was later certified Gold.
3. “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You”
Written by Estefan and Enrique Garcia, this song came out in 1987 as part of the Miami Sound Machine’s album, Let It Loose. The song became the group’s fourth top 10 hit, peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Originally, though, upon its release, the song failed to chart anywhere. But it got a bump once the group’s singles “Anything for You” and “1-2-3” became popular. Humorously, the song was later featured in commercials for them game show, Wheel of Fortune, with the lyrics altered to “Wheel’s Gonna Get You.”
Released in 1988 by Miami Sound Machine, the song was also part of the group’s multi-platinum LP, Let It Loose. This was the fifth and final single released and the song hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July of ’88. The song is a hopeful one in which the singer wants to be approached by a shy, prospective partner. Estefan would later sing the song on Sesame Street with Big Bird in 1991.
5. “Bad Boy”
Also released by Miami Sound Machine, this song was the second single from the 1985 album, Primitive Love. Released on the heels of “Conga,” this song was a follow-up to the success of what the band was already experiencing in the music world. Later, the song was used as the opening track for the popular ’80s film Three Men and a Baby.
6. “Here We Are”
Released in 1989 in the U.S., “Here We Are” was the third single from Estefan’s 1989 debut solo LP, Cuts Both Ways. Musically, the song is slower than some of Estefan’s other hits. It’s thoughtful, smooth, and driven by strings and gentle percussion. In the romantic offering, Estefan sings, Hold me now / don’t let go.
7. “Get On Your Feet”
Released in 1989, “Get On Your Feet” was the second single from her solo album, Cuts Both Ways. Produced by Gloria’s husband, Emilio, it was written by John DeFaria, Jorge Casas, and Clay Ostwald. In 2020, Estefan rerecorded the song and included it on her 2020 album, Brazil305.
8. “Party Time”
Released in 1996 by Estefan, “Party Time” was the second single from her seventh studio album, Destiny. A dance track with African rhythms, the joyous number has become one of the singer’s most popular songs to date. It was a top 20 hit in several counties, including Spain and the U.K. Fun fact: Estefan and Stevie Wonder performed the song as a duet during the halftime of Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999.
9. “Coming Out of the Dark”
Released in 1991, “Coming Out of the Dark” was the lead single from her second solo album, Into the Light. Written by Gloria and her husband Emilio, along with Jon Secada, it became her third No. 1 song in the U.S. The artist employs a choir for the soulful ballad, uplifting both her audience and, perhaps, herself, as the track was the first released after her accident in 1990 in which an 18-wheeler truck hit her tour bus.
The song also marks the tune she chose to perform after her recovery. Despite this crucial moment, Estefan told the Los Angeles Daily News, “I hate pity.” She added, “I’m very self-reliant and independent, and I’m used to that role. I don’t like people feeling sorry for me. So I wrote ‘Coming Out of the Dark’ to let the people around me know how important they are to me. But that was as far as I wanted to go with the accident. I didn’t want this to become ‘the album on the accident.’ What am I going to sing—’Oh, this bus hit me’?”
Released in 1998, this song was the second single from Estefan’s eighth solo album, gloria!, written by Estefan and her husband, Emilio, along with Randall Barlow and Angie Chirino. After some questions about the proper release date, the song eventually hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. Later, in 2022, Estefan released the Oye English EP and an Oye Spanish EP.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Latin Recording Academy