The Best Salsa Artists and Groups

Over 2.7K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Salsa Artists and Groups
Voting Rules
Salsa artists and groups only.

This salsa singers list ranks the best salsa artists by votes and lets you see who salsa fans truly think are the top male and female musicians across the genre. From Marc Anthony to Celia Cruz (and everyone in between), this list of the top salsa music bands in the world includes individuals from a wide variety of countries. Whether they are from Puerto Rico, Cuba, or even the United States, all of the best salsa artists and groups are featured below, with the order decided by actual fans of the best salsa music.

Vote up your favorites to see them rise to the top. Are you one of those people that doesn't like Tego Calderón or Manu Chao? How about Tito Puente and Héctor Lavoe? Let your voice be heard! All important, significant, and iconic names in salsa music music history deserve your votes, so make sure to choose wisely. If you're not an expert on Salsa songs and singers, this list is a good place to start if you're wondering how to get into salsa music. Especially since the bands at the top of the list will at the very least be the best choices if you're looking for a list of good salsa music bands with which to start out. 

This list answers the questions "who are the best salsa music bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest salsa music musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the bands' music instead of just voting for the most popular or famous salsa artists (Puerto Rican, American, Cuban, you name it) that you might've heard of, but not really listened to closely enough to cast an informed vote. 

Most divisive: Sonora Carruseles
Ranked by
  • Héctor Lavoe
    1
    881 votes

    Marked as the pioneer of Puerto Rican salsa, Héctor Lavoe's unique voice and smooth, effortless delivery contributed to his hypnotic appeal. Having collaborated with Willie Colón, he managed to create a fresh sound that combined traditional Latin rhythms with modern urban street influences. As a result, Lavoe rose to prominence in the '70s with hits like "El Cantante," but faced numerous personal struggles that lent a poignant quality to his music.

  • Frankie Ruiz
    2
    534 votes

    With a captivating charisma and a soulful voice, Frankie Ruiz quickly earned the title of "El Papá de la Salsa" (The Father of Salsa). Establishing himself in New Jersey's vibrant club scenes, his charming stage presence made him a beloved figure among salsa enthusiasts. As lead vocalist for Tommy Olivencia's orchestra, Ruiz recorded memorable hits like "La Cura," garnering an international following for his romantic salsa style.

  • Celia Cruz
    3
    645 votes

    A proud Cuban legend, Celia Cruz's powerful and emotional voice became synonymous with the very essence of salsa. Recognized as the "Queen of Salsa," Cruz's storied career spanned six decades, and her dynamic stage presence enamored audiences worldwide. Her spirit and determination, along with unforgettable tracks such as "Quimbara" and "La Vida Es Un Carnaval," made her an inspiration to generations of artists.

  • As the most successful and iconic salsa orchestra from Puerto Rico, El Gran Combo's longevity and unmatched list of hits solidified their status as a true salsa institution. Founded in 1962 by pianist Rafael Ithier, the group mastered a unique sound characterized by complex harmonies and infectious dance rhythms. El Gran Combo's ability to evolve while staying true to their roots has captivated countless fans across generations.

  • Rubén Blades
    5
    439 votes

    Panamanian singer-songwriter Rubén Blades transformed the salsa genre with his poetic lyrics and innovative fusion of musical styles. Nicknamed "El Poeta de la Salsa" (The Salsa Poet), Blades married the traditional dance beats with introspective storytelling, addressing social issues and creating more profound listening experiences. His collaborations with Willie Colón and Fania All-Stars solidified his place in the salsa pantheon.

  • Fania All-Stars
    6

    Fania All-Stars

    332 votes

    Comprised of the top talent from the legendary Fania Records roster, the Fania All-Stars redefined the musical possibilities of salsa. Their groundbreaking concerts, such as the famed 1971 performance at Yankee Stadium, showcased the incredible musicianship and unparalleled chemistry of these influential artists. By bringing together the likes of Johnny Pacheco, Ray Barretto, and Rubén Blades, the Fania All-Stars became the epitome of salsa excellence.