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FutureStarrEvery Non-English-Language Song to Reach the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100
K-pop group BTS made history with the release of their new track, "Life Goes On," becoming the first Korean-language song ever to reach No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 charts.
In 2017, the song held its number one position for 16 weeks, matching Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's record-setting run at number one.
In 1987, Los Lobos achieved historic success when their cover of Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba" reached the Top 10 on Billboard Hot 10. This feat marked a huge breakthrough for the band as it had been previously unsuccessful in reaching mainstream audiences.
The original "La Bamba" is a traditional son jarocho wedding song from Veracruz, Mexico that Valens transformed into an iconic rock n roll classic. It has become one of the world's most beloved Spanish-language songs and one of Latin music's most beloved pieces.
This gorgeous piece of Latin music has been covered by many artists over the years, with popular renditions coming from Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, The Gipsy Kings and Los Lobos among them.
This version of "La Bamba" is an incredible cover that showcases the talent of its members. They have managed to craft an intense and soulful rendition of this beloved tune that will have you dancing in no time!
They make this version of the song sound much more sophisticated than its original, as they add in intricate full-band orchestration and more elements from traditional Latin music like flamenco flourishes and charanga breakdown at the end.
Despite their amazing talents, this version of "La Bamba" still has some issues. Instruments seem to be out of reach from the microphone at times, resulting in an almost filtered sound. Nonetheless, this does not detract from the performance as it remains a fantastic cover of this song.
No alternative rocker could match Los Del Rio's flamenco dance hit "Macarena." The song reached number one on Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks, becoming one of the most successful non-English language songs to reach the Top 10 since 1955's rock era began. Additionally, it served as inspiration for an everlasting global dance craze that continues today.
The success of the song spurred a global phenomenon, with people from all backgrounds taking part. From Olympic athletes and baseball fans to Hillary Clinton and Al Gore, people around the world were dancing along to it - truly an iconic moment in our culture.
When Los Del Rio released the song in 1995, they never expected it to become an international sensation and ignite a dance craze that continues today. But when they joined forces with producers The Bayside Boys for its remix, it quickly gained popularity in Miami and beyond, eventually earning it a Top 10 ranking on Billboard Hot 100.
In August 1996, at a New York Yankees game against the Seattle Mariners, 50,000 people did the Macarena in the stands - setting an all-time record for its popularity. The video for it became hugely successful, leading Los Del Rio to become the first Spanish-language act to achieve number one on Billboard charts.
The song's success set the stage for Latin crossover sensation "Despacito." Released in 2017 by Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi and his father Daddy Yankee, it has remained on Billboard's Hot 100 and Hot Latin Songs charts for 16 weeks, matching their record run of 16 weeks. Additionally, with English verses from Justin Bieber included, this became one of the most successful bilingual hits ever.
Rock Me Amadeus" by Austrian pop star Falco became an instant classic, reaching the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic. Despite his widespread success in Germany and his native Austria as well as across Europe, this song would remain his only number one hit in America.
This song was inspired by Oscar-winning film Amadeus and was recorded in German - an innovation that would become increasingly commonplace in future. As such, it stands as one of the first non-English language songs ever to reach the Top 10 on Billboard Hot 10.
Falco's success with this song was largely due to its appeal within Germany, but he was also able to gain international recognition through a new production team. After restructuring the music to reduce German lyrics, it was released as an international single in both English-speaking US and other English-speaking nations.
In 1986, this song's booming synth-drums and depressing sax solo made it impossible to ignore when listening on radio. But its other elements - a mumbled rap in German, an emotive bridge, and a spoken biography of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - gave the tune an air of sophistication that others didn't possess.
The song had a monumental effect on how rock 'n' roll music was presented to audiences. It broke down barriers between fans and musicians, enabling them to express their passions without language limitations. Ultimately, punk rock emerged as an influential genre within modern rock history.
In the United States, your chances of hearing a non-English song are slim. With only a few exceptions, most songs on Billboard Hot 100's top 10 list are composed and performed entirely in English.
But the number of top 10s written and sung in other languages is increasing, often finding success with American listeners. One such example is "Despacito," by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, released in May and which went on to top the Hot 100 for an unprecedented 16 weeks.
In addition to breaking the Guinness World Record for longest single tally on the chart, "Despacito" also set several other records during its short existence. It was the first Latin song to reach 1 billion views and became the fastest-selling single of all time - surpassing Adele's 2012 mega-hit "Hello."
Though the chart's methods for calculating eligibility have evolved over time, this kind of upward acceleration remains rare. Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs' "Stay," which rose 74 spots in August 1960, remains the only other song to achieve such success.
The song should follow in the footsteps of Beyonce's and J Balvin's "Mi Gente," which debuted on the chart last week and looks set to break into the top 10. Its star-studded music video has amassed millions of views within 24 hours, likely making it the highest-charting non-English single by an artist this year.
Queen Bey is singing in both Spanish and English on her track, likely making a top 10 debut next week. If so, it would mark Beyonce's first top 10 hit as a solo artist in two decades.
"Sukiyaki" is the first non-English-language song to reach the Top 10 on Billboard Hot 10. Initially released in Japan in 1961, it quickly rose up the charts across that country.
At this crucial juncture in Japan's history, young Japanese were protesting the country's economic and social system. Kyu Sakamoto's songs captured the sadness that young Japanese felt during this difficult period.
The song became an international success when a disc jockey in Washington State played the original version on his radio show. He named it Sukiyaki and it quickly went viral, landing him a number one spot on Billboard Hot 100.
It was an enormous hit in Japan, reaching the summit of the national chart. The song has become so iconic that it has been covered countless times over the years.
Strangely enough, it wasn't until 1981 that an American disco group named A Taste of Honey translated their version of the song into English and made it popular in America. Janice Marie Johnson penned the English lyrics for this hit number which helped propel its success to new heights.
This song's lyrics are so poignant and heartwarming that it's hard not to get carried away in them. This makes the words incredibly attractive even to those who may not speak the language or comprehend fully what's being said. No wonder then that this tune has become such a global hit - an indication of just how well-crafted and thoughtfully this piece was composed.