"The song to me was always a special song, but you never really know," Enrique Iglesias tells Billboard exclusively about "Bailando." "You don't know how successful a song is going to be. I have a tendency to always go with my gut. Sometimes you're right, sometimes you're wrong. This one just felt special."
More than special, "Bailando" is now a record-breaker.
Adding to a host of career achievements, Iglesias now claims the record for the longest-running No. 1 ever on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart all to himself, as his megahit "Bailando," featuring Descemer Bueno and Gente de Zona, spends a 26th week at the top. It trumps previous record-holder Shakira, whose "La Tortura," featuring Alejandro Sanz, reigned for 25 weeks beginning in June 2005.
Iglesias already holds the record for the most No. 1s on Hot Latin Songs (25), having scored his first in 1995 with "Si Tu Te Vas." Nineteen years later, "Bailando" shatters the No. 1 run of every other chart-topping song in the chart's 28-year history.
"Bailando" is the third Spanish-language single released from Iglesias' album Sex & Love, which debuted at No. 1 on Top Latin Albums on April 5. The set spends its 14th (nonconsecutive) week at No. 1.
On the Hot 100, the track (aided by an English version featuring Sean Paul) reached No. 12 on Aug. 23, marking Iglesias' highest chart appearance since "Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)" peaked at No. 4 in 2011. For Hot Latin Songs, however, only airplay on monitored Spanish-language stations and sales of the Spanish-language version of the song (with a ratio of streaming comparable to its sales) contribute to its rank.
Billboard caught up with Iglesias (on Oct. 29) from his home in Miami, where he recently wrapped a North American leg of his co-headlining tour with Pitbull. "I've never tried to follow a formula," he says. "I always just try to go with my instinct. Whether it's uptempo, more Latin-leaning, more pop-leaning, or more dance-leaning … it doesn't matter. For me, it's about the song."
The popularity of "Bailando" (which translates to English as "dancing"; not to be confused with Iglesias' 1999 smash "Bailamos," which equates to "we dance") is also undeniably evident by the more than 580 million worldwide views of multiple versions of its videos on Iglesias' Vevo channel.
"When I recorded the song, when I made the video, everything just came together," he says. "I was like, 'This is what I love to do.'"
Overall, Iglesias says, a song's legacy is not defined only by its artist. Most importantly, it's up to those who receive it. "I do my best and put so much enthusiasm into songs, songwriting and videos. But, ultimately, it comes down to the fans and how they react. If it wasn't for them, really, the song wouldn't be the hit that it's been."
Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield.