We, as a music blog, are gradually approaching the final stretch with the best songs of the 60s in Spanish. A list that includes 230 songs in Spanish and other Romance languages. Of this number, 35 belong to the top songs of 1968 in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French and Catalan so you can keep learning more about all the music from this decade and also other decades, since I started publishing playlists from 1950, even though there are more playlists for earlier decades such as the 1920s.
So, during this time, if you like what I show you here with my favourite songs or the best songs of 1968, don’t forget to check my lists with music in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian primarily. As I didn’t stop at just that decade, when analyzing the best of the last 50 years of music from the century, I also found a greater number of songs in German, for example, when talking about music from the 40s.
Of course, over time, I have realized how many languages lost interest outside their borders in favor of Anglo-Saxon pop culture, making. For example, the music of the 1930s seem more like a trace of something that happened and worked that way (full of instrumental and dance tracks among ballads and sadness) and of which there is hardly anything left. Now it’s hard to find worldwide greatest hits in more than two languages, being English and Spanish (as latin music is being massive during the first decades of the 21th Century) the main source. But back then, as you will see in this playlist with music hits of 1968, there were way more than two languages.
Top 35 songs of 1968 in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Catalan
Adriano Celentano – Azzurro
Composed by Paolo Conte with lyrics by Vito Pallavicini, “Azzurro” has become one of the most famous songs in Adriano Celentano‘s repertoire. For example, it is known that fans of the Italian national football team, known as “gli azzurri,” chose “Azzurro” as the unofficial anthem of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Later, the song was covered by famous singers and groups such as Gianni Morandi, Mina Mazzini, Die Toten Hosen, and Ricchi e Poveri. Its fame is endless despite the passage of time.
Armando Manzanero – Somos Novios
The song “Somos Novios” was such a success in 1968 that Armando Manzanero even has an English version titled “It’s Impossible,” translated into English by Sid Wayne, first recorded by Perry Como in 1970 and later performed by Elvis Presley.
Undoubtedly, this is one of the most popular boleros of all time. In fact, the song was not only covered by the two mentioned names but was also performed by reggae legend Dennis Brown, by Luis Miguel when he was making waves around the world, and even by José Feliciano or Andrea Bocelli in a duet with Christina Aguilera. And its success was not limited to Spanish; Perry Como’s version was also a hit on the American Billboard charts.
Caetano Veloso – Alegria, Alegria
My lists also include songs from 1968 in Portuguese and other Romance languages. In this case, one of the greatest Brazilian singers, composers, and guitarists in history, as well as a writer and political activist.
Caetano Veloso is one of the main initiators and participants in the Tropicalismo movement, a specifically Brazilian phenomenon that emerged in Brazil in the 1960s during the military dictatorship and represented a combination of theater, poetry, and music. The artist’s sister, the singer Maria Bethânia, also participated in the movement.
Fórmula V – Tengo Tu Amor
Although Fórmula V‘s beginnings date back to 1967, the year of the merger of the Madrid bands Los Rostros and Los Jíbaros (after their members had met at various concerts in the city), it wasn’t until the following year that they achieved their first major success: “Tengo Tu Amor.”
In 1968, José Nieto (a former member of “Los Pekenikes”) heard the group play and brought them together with Maryní Callejo, the artistic director who had already succeeded with Los Brincos and Los Relámpagos. Callejo managed to get the musicians to undertake this project under the watchful eye of the Philips label, but not before changing the band’s name to Fórmula V (since they were initially called Los Cambios). Thus, with the help of other great names in Spanish music, they managed to establish themselves as one of the key names in Spanish music and the summer songs of the late ’60s and early ’70s.
Gigliola Cinquetti & Trío Los Panchos – Quizás, Quizás, Quizás
Although this song is very famous worldwide thanks to the version sung by Nat King Cole, it is likely that I have heard it more often in Spanish-speaking countries when performed by Gigliola Cinquetti accompanied by Los Panchos. I can’t say for sure, but it’s a pretty high possibility.
Gilberto Gil – Domingou
This year was truly important in Brazilian music. In fact, Gilberto Gil is a Brazilian musician and politician who, along with the aforementioned Caetano Veloso, is one of the founders of Tropicalismo. From 2003 to 2008, he served as Brazil’s first black Minister of Culture.
The song “Domingou” belongs to Gil’s golden period, with lyrics describing a beautiful Sunday: soap opera, mass, and comics. It’s such a good song that you don’t even need to understand the lyrics.
Henry Stephen – Limón Limonero
Venezuelan Henry Stephen is one of the country’s first rockers. Whether as a member of the music group Los Impala or as a solo artist, his name reached the charts in several countries with “Limón Limonero.” Later, in 1974, RCA Records awarded him a gold record for selling one million copies of the song.
Jacques Dutronc – Il Est Cinq Heures… Paris S’Éveille
Despite not being very familiar with work or morning culture and not knowing the French capital, I am interested in songs about Paris. Perhaps that’s why I know that behind this song by Jacques Dutronc, there is a radio idiosyncrasy that wakes up a good part of the population with his voice and melody.
Juan & Junior – Anduriña
Despite the success enjoyed by Los Brincos, Juan & Junior soon left the band to become one of the musical duos that sold the most records during these years. They gained so much fame and following that even Picasso decided to design the cover for this single, “Anduriña.”
Karina – La Fiesta
You may remember Karina from her social media videos throughout 2020 or perhaps because of her relationships with that extravagant hairdresser. Maybe you remember her from when I discussed music from 1967 in Spanish, and her hit “Romeo Y Julieta” is something you’ve probably heard more than once.
In any case, she made herself known to the Spanish audience in 1965 with a successful version of France Gall’s “Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son.” She also recorded a contemporary version of the James Bond song “Goldfinger.” In 1966, she was awarded the Best Yé-Yé Singer Award and even ventured into acting, starring in films like “Los Chicos del Preu” (1967). Her songs, such as “Las Flechas Del Amor,” “El Baúl De Los Recuerdos,” and “La Fiesta,” became hits in Spain.
Karina – Las Flechas Del Amor
If, when discussing music from 1981 in Spanish, I already said that Paloma San Basilio’s “Juntos” had aged a bit poorly, my opinion of “Las Flechas Del Amor” is not very different.
Lluís Llach – L’Estaca
One of the most important anthems of protest songs comes from Lluís Llach, the singer criticized by some for getting involved in Catalan independence politics. He had the courage to write and release this song during the Franco era, overcoming censorship with a metaphor about the dictatorship itself, which still had a few more years to live before the death of Francisco Franco in bed.
Lone Star – Mi Calle
For many of the young people of the late ’60s, “Mi Calle” is almost certainly one of the best song lyrics in Spanish ever written. With its drops of social critique, a bit of youthful rebellion typical of rock, and rhythm changes guided by a style of singing that expresses as much as the lyrical part, Lone Star provided another example of their excellence.
Were they on par with other more famous and remembered contemporary bands? For us, yes. Perhaps the fact that they started as a sort of Spanish version of The Animals, translating “The House of the Rising Sun” into Spanish to make it one of the best songs of 1964 in two languages, and a year later “Comprensión,” their own work is abundant and always worth recognizing.
Los Albas – La Última Noche
For many, Los Albas are one of the best groups of the ’70s, certainly one of the pioneers of “rumba pachanguera.” “La Última Noche” and the next song on my list are remembered as versions, originals, or acquired uses in my everyday vocabulary.
Los Albas – Los Ejes De Mi Carreta
Poem by Romildo Risso and the original song by Atahualpa Yupanki, the expression “porque no engraso los ejes, me llaman abandonao” (“because I don’t grease the axles, they call me a quitter”) probably comes from here. Not much more to add.
Los Brincos – El Pasaporte
We are reaching the final stretch of Los Brincos‘ career as a band. After the band split into two in the fall of 1966 with the departure of Juan Pardo and Junior to form the duo Juan y Junior, Fernando Arbex and Manuel González kept the name Los Brincos and continued with Ricky Morales (Junior’s brother) and Vicente Jesús Martínez.
As “El Pasaporte” demonstrates, their music maintained the melodic rhythm and vocal harmony that had always characterized the group, but without the rawness of the original lineup. In 1968, despite the absence of the duo behind hits like “Anduriña” or “La Caza,” the band’s success continued, especially after they recorded with Larry Page at Abbey Road Studio.
Los Brincos – Lola
“Lola” undoubtedly represents one of the best songs with a woman’s name by a Spanish group. It’s likely one of the most remembered songs by the band, although my favorite is still “Flamenco.” However, despite Los Brincos’ new musical triumph, the Spanish music scene, like the rest of Europe, was shifting more towards soul, folk rock, blues rock, and especially psychedelic pop. This influenced the band’s sound, as you’ll see when you get to the year they released “Mundo, Demonio, Carne.”
Los Chijuas – Te Quiero
Formerly known as Los Ídolos, Los Chijuas, originally from Chihuahua, are composed of excellent Mexican musicians led by brothers José Manuel and Julian Ganem (Chihuahua, Chih), Enrique Becerril (Mexico City), and Luis Oliver (Monterrey, N.L.). The high quality of the group reflected a serious project with excellent musicians who participated throughout their musical career, including Hesiquio Ramos (former member of Los Monjes), Fernando Vahauks (former member of Los Sinners and Tijuana Five), Ricardo Toral (former member of Los Cuervos and Los Esclavos), and more.
Los Gritos – La Vida Sigue Igual
The less remembered Manolo Galván, along with José Ramón Moreno Muñoz (drums), José Sierra Blanco, and Francisco Doblas Vega (guitarists), achieved their first major success through the Belter record label, thanks to their victory at the 1968 Benidorm Festival with “La Vida Sigue Igual,” which was popularized almost simultaneously by Julio Iglesias.
Los Mismos – El Puente
Another group under the Belter record label, Los Mismos, made waves this year with “El Puente,” another successful summer hit that participated in a music festival, the International de la Canción de Mallorca. Everything was going well until next year when we’ll talk about their version of “Voy a pintar las paredes con tu nombre.”
Los Mitos – Cuando Vuelvas
For many, Los Mitos were one of the most important groups in Spanish music in the late ’60s, second only to Fórmula V in terms of sales. While their rivalry may not have been as intense as that between Los Brincos and Los Bravos, they were not far behind.
“Cuando Vuelvas” is and continues to be their most remembered song, a tune that in English they would describe as Easy-Listening, with straightforward lyrics and vocal arrangements similar to The Beach Boys, without excesses.
Los Payos – Señor Doctor
Los Payos made it big thanks to their blend of rumba and Latin pop, a style popular at the time. 1968 was their year, as they released their first two singles, “Como un adiós” and “Adiós, Angelina,” followed by “Señor Doctor” and their subsequent major hit, the song “María Isabel.”
Los Sírex – Yo Soy Tremendo
The rockers Los Sírex, a band formed in June 1959 in Barcelona (Guillermo Rodríguez Holgado, Antonio Miers, and Manolo Madruga, then aged 15-17), were influenced by Elvis Presley. They achieved one of their big hits with “Yo Soy Tremendo,” after competing with Los Bravos on other tracks during a time when the same single was released by different groups almost simultaneously. After this single’s success and the attention it garnered, they embarked on a tour of Latin America, and in 1971, they disbanded as a band.
Luis Eduardo Aute – Aleluya Nº 1
The year 1968 was pivotal in Aute’s music career, as he achieved unexpected and overwhelming success with the songs “Rosas En El Mar” and “Aleluya N° 1.” Both songs were the result of a trip to Brazil, where he discovered the music of Bob Dylan and Joan Báez. Upon returning, and encouraged by Massiel, he wrote these songs and three more, which would form his first full-length album.
Luis Eduardo Aute – Rosas En El Mar
Both this song and the previous one were overwhelming international successes. So much so that there are accounts of “Aleluya Nº 1” generating an English version, which led to a response by Paul McCartney (with the single “Let It Be”).
Marisol – Corazón Contento
In the 1960s, between childhood and adolescence, Marisol stood out in numerous musical films with her voice, charm, and talent, recording several songs not only for the movies but also gaining significant recognition in the process.
There’s not much to say about Marisol’s life and work given the circumstances that surrounded her career throughout her life, which seems to have influenced her early retirement from the world of showbiz in general. She avoided interviews and public appearances despite her fame and the affection many fans still hold for her.
Mary Hopkin – Qué Tiempo Tan Feliz
The first single of Mary Hopkin’s career, “Those Were the Days” in its original version (“Qué Tiempo Tan Feliz” in Spanish), was produced by the aforementioned Paul McCartney and was released in the UK on August 30, 1968.
Despite competition from the renowned star Sandie Shaw, whose single was also released that year, Hopkin’s version became a number one seller on the UK singles chart and reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, where it remained out of the top spot for three weeks, overtaken by The Beatles’ “Hey Jude.” Worldwide sales exceeded 8,000,000 copies.
Massiel – La, La, La
“La, La, La” was the first Spanish song of the two Eurovision winners to date (as of 2023). It was composed by Ramón Arcusa and Manuel de la Calva, also known as the Dúo Dinámico. In addition to being remembered for winning the Eurovision Song Contest, the 1968 edition of which was the first to be broadcast in color on television, it’s also notable for this song.
Miguel Ríos – El Río
Written by Fernando Arbex (of the aforementioned Brincos), sung by Miguel Ríos, and featuring arrangements by Waldo de los Ríos, “El Río” became a musical anthem, like a natural stream of water flowing through the earth’s surface until it reaches the sea, a lake, or another river.
Os Mutantes – A Minha Menina
Continuing with folk, but in this case, Brazilian, and quite influenced by the trends of the time. Os Mutantes is possibly one of the most famous rock groups in the country, thanks to their deep, robust, and ultimately warm sound.
According to reports, Arnaldo Baptista, the original bassist, delved deeply into LSD during the ’70s and ’80s, which led to some psychological damage, exacerbated by a lengthy coma following a fall from a considerable height. Oh dear!
On another note, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana was known to be a big fan and once sent a letter to Arnaldo Baptista requesting the band to reunite.
Patty Pravo – La Bambola
An Italian music diva since the 1960s, Patty Pravo is considered one of the greatest pop interpreters, not only within Italy but also beyond its borders. Her career has been characterized by continuous reinvention, spanning various musical styles, from beat idol to sophisticated interpreter of Italian and French composers, without forgetting her contributions to rock.
Pop-Tops – Oh Lord, Why Lord
Standing out thanks to Phil Trim’s distinctive vocals, accompanied by José Lipiani (drums), Alberto Vega López (saxophone-clarinet), Ignacio Pérez Romero (organ), Julián Luis Angulo (Luis Fierro, guitar, and occasional singer), and Enrique Gómez Molina (bass-trumpet), Pop-Tops first made their mark with “Oh Lord, Why Lord,” although it wouldn’t be their only hit (nor their biggest).
However, 1968 was significant for them, as in addition to this song, they also had a great success with “The Voice Of The Dying Man,” a song dedicated to Martin L. King and based on a Johann Sebastian Bach composition. Nevertheless, their biggest hit was “Mamy Blue,” which we’ve already discussed when talking about the best songs of 1971 in Spanish.
Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot – Bonnie And Clyde
If you’ve ever wondered what mod music sounds like outside of the Anglo-Saxon world, this song might be a good example. Bonnie And Clyde was created by a charming and charismatic duo, both of whom we’ve talked about a lot in the past (and a bit in the future), and something else will come up in the last song on the list, so why spoil it.
Serge Gainsbourg – Initials B.B.
Perhaps, for us at least, “Initials B.B.” is one of the most outstanding and epic romantic songs of the decade. It’s dedicated to Brigitte Bardot, an erotic icon of the ’50s and ’60s, serving as a tribute to her existence. Apparently, both of them had a relationship while working on some songs they recorded together. This led to rumors spread by the press, and Bardot’s husband forbade them from seeing each other again, which they adhered to.
Gainsbourg’s sorrow isn’t reflected too much in the composition, whose instrumentation is addictive and grandiose, but his feelings after the abandonment are a bit more present in the lyrics, at least concerning the greatness of the French actress and singer.
(Madrid, 1987) Novelist by vocation, SEO specialist by profession. Music lover, cinephile and reading lover, but in “amateur” mode.