Every song and genre for your ultimate 5 de Mayo celebration!
Every year, we celebrate Cinco de Mayo with an amazing playlist curated for our readers.
For 2020, Billboard went all out, bringing together the best songs from our playlists through the years. They include patriotic songs and party songs, rock and mariachi, pop and banda.
Although many think this much celebrated date is just about partying and good food, it actually commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
And while Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence (that’s celebrated Sept. 16), here in the U.S. it’s celebrated with as much — or more — impetus, even during a lockdown.
So, take out your favorite bottle of tequila or mezcal, and get ready to party!
1. “Cielito Lindo” — Mariachi Vargas
It’s not possible to celebrate Cinco de Mayo without “Cielito Lindo.” There are thousands of versions, but you can’t go wrong with Mariachi Vargas.
2. “El Último Adiós” — Paulina Rubio
No better way to drown out sorrows and heartache than with tequila and mariachis, Paulina style (meaning, the mariachis wear no shirts — only she can pull that off).
3. “El Noa Noa” — Juan Gabriel
You can count on Juan Gabriel’s classic party anthem to get everyone on the dance floor.
4. “Amor a la Mexicana” — Thalia
Sultry, pop cumbia that celebrates love, Mexican-style, with “Horse, boot, hat, tequila, tabacco and rum.”
5. “Parrandera, Rebelde y Atrevida” — Jenni Rivera
Our late banda queen with the song that defined her as a party girl.
6. “El Rey” — Vicente Fernandez
The ultimate mariachi track performed by the ultimate mariachi singer.
7. “Clavado en un Bar” — Maná
A little bit of reggae, a little island feel, as the quartet “drinks tequila to forget” as they “drown” in a bar.
8. “México Lindo” — Alejandro Fernandez
Alejandro Fernandez brings his own distinct voice and sound to the mariachi tradition. A joy to hear.
9. “México en la Piel” — Luis Miguel
It has Mexican pride written all over it! “A good tequila from this country, that’s how you feel Mexico in your skin.” Viva Mexico!
10. “Huapango” — Arthur Hanlon*
They call this “Huapango” by composer Jose Pablo Moncayo the unofficial Mexican anthem. Celebrate with this instrumental version.
11. “Botellita de Tequila” — Pepe Aguilar
Tequila shot, anyone?
12. “Mi Ranchito” — Roberto Tapia
This ranchera song will make you feel as if you were actually in Mexico.
13. “Jefe de Jefes” — Los Tigres del Norte
Leave it to Los Tigres del Norte’s power anthem to get everyone on the dance floor feeling like a jefe (boss).
14. “La Bamba” — Ritchie Valens
Hats off to our first Mexican American pop star.
15. “Amor Prohibido” — Selena
No, you can’t celebrate 5 de Mayo without going to Selena. You may shed a tear or two, but it’s worth it.
16. “Viva Mexico” — Lucero
Lucero revisits this classic Mexican song composed by Pedro Galindo. The opening lyrics describe a person who’s 100 percent Mexican and proud to be born in the beautiful territory.
17. “La Venia Bendita” — Marco Antonio Solís
No party would be fully complete without a Marco Antonio Solís song to remind us that love exists.
18. “Hasta la Raiz” — Natalia Lafourcade
Lafourcade’s gorgeous take on her Mexican roots provides a bit of lovely introspection.
19. “Quédate Con Ella” — Natalia Jimenez
The always fiery Natalia Jimenez always pays homage to Mexico. We’ve included “Quedate” on our 5 de Mayo playlists before because it’s fun to send the guy packing for a change.
20. “Tragos Amargos” — Ramón Ayala
Because a real Mexican party always ends with Ramon Ayala’s “Tragos Amargos!”
*Editor’s Note: Hanlon is married to Billboard‘s vp/Latin industry lead, Leila Cobo.