Happy Birthday, Gloria Estefan! Vote for the Original Crossover Queen's Best Video of All Time
But let’s be clear -- Gloria is the original Latin crossover queen. If she and her band the Miami Sound Machine hadn’t opened the doors in the ‘80s, Shakira, Pitbull, Ricky (and the list goes on) would have had a much tougher time breaking through in the U.S. at the turn of the century. So it makes perfect sense that Gloria, and her music-mogul husband, Emilio, have their very own musical, On Your Feet, coming to Broadway. Bowing Nov. 5, it chronicles their humble beginnings in Cuba, their arrival in the U.S., and, of course, their rise to fame.
Join us in revisiting some of the Cuban American icon’s most memorable videos, then vote for your favorite below.
All hail la reina!
“Dr. Beat” (1984)
It’s tempting to include all of Miami Sound Machine’s ‘80s-tastic videos, starting with this one, in which Gloria shimmies in a stretcher as hot nurses, firemen and even superheroes come to her rescue. There’s even an adorable kid breakdancing. And how about that last frame where Gloria gives birth to a boombox? Classic!
This song, released 30 years ago, totally re-shaped the pop music landscape when it came out. The video is set in a fictional Miami nightclub called the Copacabana, with a bunch of boring old farts, snooty diplomats and rhythm-less folks sitting around listening to a classical pianist -- that is, until Gloria and the boys of Miami Sound Machine (her hubby Emilio included) take matters into their own hands. What ensues is an epic carnival-style fiesta -- complete with feathered cabaret dancers in the style of Havana’s world-famous Tropicana. America would never be the same again.
“Coming Out of the Dark” (1991)
This one, as JLo likes to say, “gives us the goosies” time and again. The inspirational ballad was released following Gloria’s near-fatal 1990 tour bus crash, which left her with a broken vertebra. Doctors said she would never walk again, but this song reaffirms that miracles can (and do) happen.
“Con Los Años Que Me Quedan” (1993)
This one is special for more reasons than one. For one, it was off of Mi Tierra, a heartfelt homage to Cuba that was also Gloria’s first-ever, all-Spanish studio album. Mi Tierra went on to win a Grammy (Gloria's first) for Best Tropical Latin Album in 1993. This ballad, the black-and-white video for which is timeless and elegant, speaks of a love that grows stronger with each passing year. With over 7 million views, it’s Gloria’s second-most viewed video, after “Hoy.”
“Everlasting Love” (1994)
Gloria has always had a huge following in the LGBTQ community, and this celebratory video sees many of her biggest fans taking turns impersonating her. The wigs, the sequins, the boots – it’s just bursting with fabulosity!
The breathtaking views of Machu Picchu make this the most awe-inspiring of Gloria’s videos. Dressed in a gorgeous white gown, she dances among the people in celebration of the country’s indigenous culture. Fittingly, Peruvian singer-songwriter Gian Marco wrote the song, which has beautiful Andean folk elements. Bonus points if you spot Gloria’s daughter Emily, then just a child.
Time to cast your vote!