Adeli’s Music Blog

The Salseros: Then

Posted in music by adeli on October 11, 2007

Willie Colón was one of the pioneers of Salsa during the 1970s in New York City. As trombone player, composer, and bandleader, he was instrumental in the musical careers of Hispanics arriving in the U.S. at the time: Celia Cruz, Rubén Blades, and Héctor Lavoe, among them. His most successful partnerships were with vocalists Lavoe and Blades. While their solo efforts were formidable, their collaborations with Colón were exceptional and financially viable.

Colón has been recording since he was 18 years old. His debut album, El Malo, was one of the first albums to have that “New York Sound.” This album was the beginning of his partnership with Héctor Lavoe.

Héctor Lavoe’s extraordinary vocals garnered him the nickname “El Cantante de Los Cantantes” (The Singer of Singers). His voice is angelic and soars above the music. His standout songs include: El Cantante, Mi Gente (My People,) Che Che Colé, and El Dia de Suerte (The Lucky Day). To watch a 1979 video of Lavoe singing “El Cantante,” click here.

Rubén Blades is among the most successful vocalists from Panama and continues to influence Salsa music with his modern arrangements and intelligent and politically relavent lyrics. His standout songs include: Siembra, Ligia Elena, Buscando Guayaba, Maria Lionza, and Pedro Navaja (the biggest selling single in Salsa history, a Spanish barrio version of Mack The Knife). To watch a video of Blades singing “Pedro Navajo,” click here.

Below are albums that were instrumental in reviving Latin music in the U.S. and still stand as Salsa’s finest moments.


  • Cosa Nuestra (Our Thing)
  • La Gran Fuga (The Big Break)
  • The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


  • Siembra (Sow)
  • Canciones del Solar de los Aburridos (Songs from the Neighborhood of the Bored)

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