Veteran salsa singer Ismael Miranda earns his third No. 1 on Tropical Songs (chart dated July 11), and second this year, as “Bajo, Piano & Bongo,” featuring Bobby Valentin, Richie Ray and Roberto Roena, steps 2-1 (up 34 percent in spins in the week ending June 28, according to Nielsen Music).
With the climb, Miranda claims the most No. 1s on Tropical Songs for a member of Fania All-Stars (the legendary salsa group formed by Fania Records in 1968), breaking out of a tie with Celia Cruz (two No. 1s). The airplay increase also scores Valentin (who plays bass on the track) and Roena (bongos) -- each longtime members of Fania All-Stars as well -- their first chart-topper. Richie Ray, an iconic salsa musician known as El Embajador del Piano (The Piano Ambassador), who has collaborated with Fania All-Stars throughout his career, also scores his first No. 1 on the list.
WEST-AM Allentown, Pa. -- an early supporter of the track (it first played the cut on March 24) -- supported the song with 27 spins during the tracking week, aiding in its ascent. Program director Tony Rodriguez tells Billboard: “Four Latin music icons got together to deliver an explosive track. It has everything a great hit needs, catchy lyrics and a danceable arrangement. It's simply salsa at its best, a classic.”
“Bajo, Piano & Bongo” was written and produced by salsa superstar Victor Manuelle, who currently ties Marc Anthony for the record for most No. 1s on the chart (25). When asked about creating this song, Manuelle shared with Billboard, “It’s one of the most important songs that I’ve composed, and was a challenge writing a song for stars of their status.”
It's the second track to crown the chart from Miranda’s latest album, Son 45, which peaked at No. 3 on Tropical Albums (October 11, 2014). The set’s title track, an ode to his 45-year career, reached the top on the chart dated February 21.
Manuelle says “reaching No. 1 lets us know that there is still an audience that values good salsa.”