Sept. 15 marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage month, and Billboard will celebrate with 30 days of landmark content. Culling from Billboard’s Latin charts, the most respected and longest-running charts on record, and from Billboard’s extensive access to the best and brightest Latin stars, we have curated 30 days of exclusive content that celebrates the best of Latin music and culture.
As a 2021 bonus, this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month coincides with Billboard’s own Latin Music Week and Latin Music Awards.
It all kicks off today, Sept. 15, with a look at 20 defining moments for Latin music in the United States.
1. 1941: Conguero Chano Pozo debuts with Dizzy Gillespie’s orchestra.
2. 1955: Damaso Perez Prado’s “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White,” which was used as the theme to the Jane Russell film Underwater!. spent an astounding 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts, making it one of the biggest instrumental hits of all time.
3. 1957: West Side Story, the first Broadway show to focus on New York’s Puerto Rican immigrants, debuts on Broadway. The musical, movie and Latin-tinged soundtrack will become an iconic American work.
4. 1963: Elvis Presley’s film Acapulco premieres.
5. 1964: The first U.S. bossa nova concert takes place at Carnegie Hall.
6. 1983: Scarface premieres. Directed by Brian de Palma and starring Al Pacino, the film about a Cuban drug dealer will influence more than one generation of hip-hop artists in the United States.
7. 1987: Linda Ronstadt releases Canciones de Mi Padre, the biggest-selling non-English album in U.S. history at that time.
8. 1989: Billboard premieres the first-ever Latin Music Awards with Univision.
9. 1990: The Latin Music Seminar, sponsored by Billboard, starts as a one-day event in Miami. It would evolve to become Billboard Latin Music Week, the longest-running and most prestigious gathering of Latin music in the world.
10. 1995: Los del Rio’s “Macarena” is an unprecedented hit. The song ranks at No. 7 on Billboard‘s All-Time Hot 100. It also ranks at No. 1 on Billboard‘s All-Time Latin Songs.
11. 1995: Tejano singer Selena is killed by the president of her fan club. To date, her legacy lives on.
12. 1999: The Latin Grammys have their debut on a mainstream TV channel.
13. 2005: Daddy Yankee releases “Gasolina,” the track that delivers reggaetón globally.
14. 2012: Jenni Rivera dies in a plane crash over Mexico when she was in the brink of premiering a mainstream TV series.
15. 2017: “Despacito,” originally recorded by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, and then remixed with Justin Bieber, becomes the most-listened-to song in the planet and tops the Billboard Hot 100 for a then-record-tying 16 weeks.
16. 2017: Beyoncé jumps on the remix of J Balvin and Willy William’s “Mi Gente.” The track becomes the second bilingual track in the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 in a single year.
17. 2020: Shakira and Jennifer Lopez make history in an all-Latina Superbowl halftime show.
18. 2020: Bad Bunny lands a historic debut on the Billboard 200 albums chart, as the Puerto Rican artist’s YHLQMDLG bows at No. 2 on the all-genre tally with 179,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. that week.
19. 2020: J Balvin becomes the first Latino artist to get his own McDonald’s meal.
20. 2021: Bad Bunny’s upcoming 2022 tour becomes the fastest-selling tour since 2018.