For Gilberto Santa Rosa, quitting is not an option, which is why he’s been keeping salsa music alive for over 40 years.
“There were a lot of challenging moments, and perhaps I took a moment to sit back and heal,” he previously told Billboard of the times he’s felt he failed. “I have yet to say ‘I quit,’ which will never happen, but I’ve had hard times that were out of my control. At the end of the day, I look back at them and now understand why those things happened.”
Kicking off his prolific career in the late ‘70s, “El Caballero de la Salsa,” helped put the salsa movement on the map, becoming the first Puerto Rican singer of tropical music to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City back in 1995.
In celebration of his 57th birthday today (Aug. 21), Billboard highlights some of Santa Rosa’s salsa romantica that continue to be tropical gems today.
See them below.
Released in 2003, “Conteo Regresivo” is a song that uses a numeral countdown, highlighting 10 issues that a couple is facing and has no other choice but to break up.
“Conciencia” is one of the songs that still gives Santa Rosa goosebumps when he performs it live. “I still sing them like the first time I recorded them in a studio,” he told Billboard.
“Que Alguien Me Diga”
With his unique blend of salsa rhythms and ballads, Santa Rosa’s repertoire includes the 1999 heartfelt “Que Alguien Me Diga,” a song about a man who’s searching for unconditional love.
Another timeless hit from the early ‘90s, “Sin Voluntad” is a sensual salsa track that highlights how a man is unable to forget the beautiful lady he’s crushing on, even though he’s trying.
“La Agarro Bajando”
A true romantic, Santa Rosa’s energetic salsa track “La Agarro Bajando” is about a man who’s willing falling for a woman who doesn’t pay attention to him but he’s willing to wait for her.