The best mambo songs draw on the unique rhythms that give this Latin-based music genre a flavor all its own. The mambo sound was born in Cuba in the 1930s, but began taking off in earnest in the 1950s, thanks in large part to Cuban band leader and composer Dámaso Pérez Prado. Known as the “King of the Mambo,” Prado began performing mambos regularly after moving to Mexico in the late 1940s. Many of the most famous mambo songs listed here are by Prado, including “Cerezo Rosa,” “Mambo No. 5,” and “Babarabatiri."
During the 1950s, mambo music went mainstream, with numerous well-known artists covering mambo songs. You’ll find a few of these hits on this top mambo songs list as well, including Dean Martin’s famous version of “Mambo Italiano” and “Papa Loves Mambo” by Perry Como. Other popular artists with good mambo songs include Celia Cruz (“La Madre Rumba”), Tito Puente (“Hong Kong Mambo”), and Tito Rodriguez (“Take the ‘A’ Train”). And of course, famous Cuban-born American musician/actor Desi Arnaz appears on this list (“Babalu” and “Cuban Pete”).
What is your favorite mambo song? Take a listen to the tunes on this list, enjoy the videos, and vote for your personal picks.