On April 16th, 1971, in the small Gulf Coast town of Lake Jackson, an angel was born whose parents named her Selena Quintanilla. Tragically taken from us at the young age of 23, she was a Latina superstar before J-Lo or Shakira or Ricky Martin. Selena's voice, full of love and joy and heartbreak, continues to capture the hearts of millions of fans around the world, Latinos and non-Latinos alike.
In celebration of what would have been Miss Quintanilla's 43rd birthday Thursday night, two local DJs played tribute sets to the Queen of Tejano at two different Houston clubs. DJ Angie Ramos played short Selena sets at the top of each hour at Barbarella (2404 San Jacinto), where she provided roses and sweet Tejano tunes to the large crowd who showed up to dance the night away. Down the road at The Flat (1701 Commonwealth), DJ Gracie Chavez entertained her audience with remixed versions of Selena's catalog. Both ladies did their part to keep the spirit and music of Selena alive, and we greatly thank them for their efforts.
I would also like to provide you with a Top Ten list of my favorite Selena songs of all time.
10. "Ya Ves" Indeed, Selena mostly sang about love, but this track showcases a bit of attitude after her man dumped her for another. I mean, how dumb do you have to be to cheat on Selena?! Then he has the nerve to come crawling back when he realizes the other chick was trash! You can ya ves your way straight out the door, homie! Selena ain't got time for that!
9. "Donde Quiera Que Estes" (Wherever You Are) feat. Barrio Boyzz In what is probably the best music video of all time, Selena showcases her pop-princess qualities by teaming up with New York City Latino pop group Barrio Boyzz (yes, that's 2 z's for the price of one!). This song about first loves is the perfect balance of harmony, sultry whispers and Selena's ability to turn an otherwise mediocre song into a spectacular hit.
8. "Tu, Solo Tu" From the opening notes of this magnificent mariachi selection, Selena unleashes her operatic voice with a force that trembles and comforts all who hear it. You can almost hear the tears rolling down her cheek as she absolutely radiates sadness. This ode to an unattainable love makes us feel her heartbreak and break out the tequila. No llores, Selena!
7. "I Could Fall In Love" So sweet, so loving, so adorable. She starts singing in English, but then she whispers in Spanish...I mean COME ON! Fall in love? We're left with no choice but to fall in love with Selena after that.
6. "Dreaming of You" More dreaming, more hoping, more whispering.
List continues on the next page.
5. "Baila Esta Cumbia" Such a fun song, you can't help but dance to this lively cumbia. And creepy TV host aside, she looks stunning and sexy in this video. I was fortunate enough to meet Selena many, many years ago at Six Flags Astroworld, and her beauty in person was breathtaking. I also saw her famous performances at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. She was gorgeous, but you already knew that.
4. La Carcacha Los Dinos, who were Selena's band, really gets down with "La Carcacha". One of her best and most complete songs, a real gem of Tejano music that can be played as you cruise in your lowrider, at a quinceañera, or at a family bar-b-que. The keyboards, guitar, and timbales breakdown is top notch.
3. Bidi Bidi Bom Bom I'm not sure if having your heart go "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" is the healthiest thing ever, but if Selena is okay with it, then I am, too.
2. "Como La Flor" "Pero aaahhhh-aaaaa-ayyy, como me duele!"
1. "Amor Prohibido" In perhaps what is Selena's most personal song, she sings about a forbidden love that she is determined to make a life with, regardless of the consequences. In real life, her husband Chris Perez lived through the heartache of loving and losing Selena after the protest of her family. I spoke to Chris Perez in 2012 while he was in Houston promoting his book To Selena, With Love. You can see the conclusion of the interview below.
This story is adapted from an article that originally ran on our sister music blog at OC Weekly, Heard Mentality.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism