Best Salsa Music

A Look at The Top 10 Salsa Albums of All Time

The following albums include some of the best Salsa music produced in history. Besides featuring some of the greatest Salsa songs ever recorded, these productions are memorable works from top artists in this genre.

Whether you like Salsa from Puerto Rico, New York or Colombia, this compilation touches a broad spectrum of sounds that moves between the music of pioneers like Joe Cuba and contemporary artists like Marc Anthony.

Although compilation albums may be your best shot to discover the music of these artists, I wanted to select those defining single productions that captured the best sound of their creators. Let's take a look at the top 10 Salsa albums of all time.

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'Celia & Johnny' - Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheco

Photo Courtesy Fania
Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheco - 'Celia & Johnny'. Photo Courtesy Fania

Regarded by many as the most important Salsa album ever recorded by Celia Cruz, Celia & Johnny paired up The Queen of Salsa with Johnny Pacheco, the founder of the legendary Fania All Stars. Thanks to songs like "Quimbara," "Toro Mata" and "Lo Tuyo Es Mental," Celia & Johnny became one of the most popular Salsa albums ever recorded in history. Buy from Amazon »

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'Steppin' Out' - Joe Cuba

Photo Courtesy Fania
Joe Cuba Sextette - 'Steppin' Out'. Photo Courtesy Fania

This 1962 album consolidated Joe Cuba as one of the most influential Latin music artists of his time. A fantastic work from beginning to end, Steppin' Out features the amazing vocals of Cheo Feliciano, one of the best soneros in the history of Salsa. Some of the most legendary hits from this album include titles like "A Las Seis," "Oriente," "Wabble-Cha" and "Cachondea." Buy from Amazon »

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'Cielo De Tambores' - Grupo Niche

Photo Courtesy Sony U.S. Latin
Grupo Niche - 'Cielo De Tambores'. Photo Courtesy Sony U.S. Latin

This album has been one of Grupo Niche's most acclaimed productions. Besides providing the distinctive vibes of Colombian Salsa, Cielo De Tambores offers a hybrid style that moves between the sounds of Salsa dura (hard Salsa) and romantic Salsa. With hits like "Una Aventura," "Sin Sentimiento" and "Cali Aji," Cielo De Tambores features some of the best Salsa music ever written by Jairo Varela, the founder and prolific director of the Colombian band. Buy from Amazon »

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'Soy Feliz' - Ismael Rivera

Photo Courtesy Vaya Records
Ismael Rivera - 'Soy Feliz'. Photo Courtesy Vaya Records

With his unique singing style, Ismael Rivera moved to history as one of the greatest innovators of Salsa music. In fact, his prolific repertoire has influenced different generations of artists. Soy Feliz offers a collection of some of Ismael Rivera's most memorable hits including tracks such as "Soy Feliz," "Las Tumbas," "No Soy Para Ti" and "Borinqueneando." A great album for your Salsa collection. Buy from Amazon »

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'Determination' - La Sonora Ponceña

Photo Courtesy Fania
La Sonoroa Poncena - 'Determination'. Photo Courtesy Fania

For more than half a century, La Sonora Ponceña has been defining the sounds of Puerto Rican Salsa. La Ponceña's elegant repertoire has been heavily influenced by Papo Lucca, the band's legendary pianist and director. Determination offers that unique 'jazzy' sound that this famous band has incorporated into its music. Top tracks from this fantastic album include "Yambeque," "La Soledad" and "Date Cuenta." Buy from Amazon »

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'Our Latin Thing' - Fania All Stars

Photo Courtesy Fania Records
Fania All Stars - 'Our Latin Thing'. Photo Courtesy Fania Records

This is the soundtrack of the movie , a 1972 production featuring the music of the Fania All Stars. The movie and its music examplifies better than any other album the development of Salsa during the 1970s in New York City. The soundtrack features the famous songs that the Fania All Stars played at the legendary Cheetah concert including tracks like "Quitate Tu" and "Anacaona." Buy from Amazon »

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'Revento' - Hector Lavoe

Photo Courtesy Fania
Hector Lavoe - 'Revento'. Photo Courtesy Fania

I could not leave this best Salsa music compilation without an album from Hector Lavoe, one of the most iconic Latin music legends in history. Regarded by many as Salsa's most influential singer and performer, Hector Lavoe recorded one of the most exciting repertoires of Salsa dura. Revento includes some of Lavoe's most popular songs including titles like "De Que Tamaño," "La Fama" and "Dejala Que Siga."

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'Contra La Corriente' - Marc Anthony

Photo Courtesy RMM Records
Marc Anthony - 'Contra La Corriente'. Photo Courtesy RMM Records

For the past two decades, Marc Anthony has established himself as one of the best-selling artists in Latin music. Most of his overall success is the result of his ability to move easily between Salsa and Latin Pop. His 1997 album Contra La Corriente features some of the best Salsa songs of his repertoire including tracks like "Y Hubo Alguien," "Contra La Corriente," "Si Te Vas" and "No Sabes Como Duele." If you are into romantic Salsa this album is a must-have. Buy from Amazon »

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'La Universidad De la Salsa' - El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico

Photo Courtesy Combo Records
El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico - 'La Universidad De La Salsa'. Photo Courtesy Combo Records

This album bears El Gran Combo's famous nickname of La Universidad de la Salsa (The University of Salsa). More than 60 years in the field have given El Gran Combo enough reasons to consolidate such a nickname. This album features a fantastic track listing that includes hits like "Mujer Celosa," "Y No Hago Mas Na'" and "Patria." Buy from Amazon »

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'Siembra' - Ruben Blades and Willie Colon

Photo Courtesy Fania
Willie Colon and Ruben Blades - 'Siembra'. Photo Courtesy Fania

Siembra is widely considered one of the very best Salsa albums of all time. In fact, its track listing transformed this collaboration work between legendary trombonist Willie Colon and singer Ruben Blades into one of the essential albums in Latin music. Top tracks include tunes like "Plastico," "Buscando Guayaba," "Dime" and the worldwide hit "Pedro Navaja." Buy from Amazon »