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Happy Birthday Michael Jackson! 7 covers by Latino musicians

The late Michael Jackson was a singer, songwriter, dancer, businessman, philanthropist and without a question the biggest super star in the world. From the start of his career at the age of 6 till now, 4 years after his death, MJ has been one of the greatest contributors to pop culture due to his unique dance moves, music and fashion. Not only did the singer break race barriers, helping to pave the way for other black artists to emerge in the mainstream music scene, he also influenced many entertainers around the world (Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Jason Derulo, etc).

MJ’s music left an imprint so wide that he was able to inspire artists outside of his genre.  Did you know that Latin artists far and wide covered many of his songs? From Colombian cumbia to ballads to salsa. MJ even sang a song in Spanish – “Just Can’t Stop Loving You” from the “Bad” album titled “Todo Mi Amor Eres Tu”. Hopefully next year, Sony will be wise and create a tribute album in Spanish. Today, on what would have been his 55th birthday – we are celebrating his music by bringing you 7 covers done by Latino artists.

José Feliciano – “I Wanna be Where You Are” (1982)

In 1982, on his first album for Motown Records, the Puerto Rican singer paid tribute to the King of Pop by singing a Spanglish version of the 1972 song “I Wanna Be Where You Are.” For his following Motown LP, Feliciano then re-recorded the single in Spanish as “Ahora Si Quiero Amar.”

Caetano Veloso – “Billie Jean” (1986)

Michael Jackson also left his mark in the Portuguese speaking side of Latin American and legendary Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso proves it with his enthralling bossa nova rendition of  MJ’s 1983 song “Billie Jean.” Unfortunately, in the last 30 seconds of the song he tacks on a piece of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and although he sings it beautifully, it really should have been a separate cover rather than the end to “Billie Jean.”

Luis Miguel – “Sera Que No Me Amas” (1990)

In 1990, at the age of 20, a baby faced Luis Miguel released “20 Años,” his 11th album. In this new record the Mexican singer released the single “Sera Que No Me Amas” a Spanish cover of the The Jackson 5’s 1978 song “Blame it on the Boogie.” Miguel’s rendition was an upbeat pop melody that gave his predominantly ballad album a fresh twist that even caught the eye of Coca-Cola who then made the song into a commercial.

Quantic Y Su Conjunto Los Miticos Del Ritmo – “No Pares Hasta Tener lo Suficiente” (2012)

Los Miticos Del Ritmo is a group of 7 studio musicians from Cali, Colombia that were assembled by British producer Will ‘Quantic’ Holland. This unexpected but extremely feel-good Colombian cumbia is by far my favorite, okay maybe it’s because I am Colombian and love cumbia,  but you have to admit that it is nothing less than genius because it achieves to unite two opposite musical worlds flawlessly into one.  The instrumental remains true to the traditional Afro-Colombian feel of cumbia by using the customary instruments found in the genre like the guacharaca, guiro, gaita, accordion, and various drums. At the same time, one is able to clearly distinguish Michael’s original 1979 disco-funk “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.”

“Somos El Mundo 25 Por Haiti” (2010)

How can we forget this Spanish remake of the MJ’s 1985 hit  “We Are the World.” This cover is a 2010 charity single written by Gloria and Emilio Estefan to benefit the victims of the Haiti earthquake. Some of the most prominent names in Latin music were part of it including: Juanes, Ricky Martin, Shakira, Romeo, Jenni Rivera, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Juan Luis Guerra, Pitbull and ,many more.

Toby Love – “Todo Mi Amor Eres Tu” (2013)

The Puerto Rican singer surely hit the jackpot with this Spanglish bachata. If you weren’t aware, back in 1987 after the release of “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” Jackson himself released a full Spanish version sang by him. As part of his latest album, “Amor Total,” Toby took the Spanish version, threw in a bachata tune and just like that created a chart topping sensation. Although some might call this cover a copout – because well he didn’t do much work – they can’t deny that the song contains a certain bewitching charm that just makes you want to dance.

Tito Nieves – “I Want You Back” (2013)

This salsa infused classic sang by the Puerto Rican singer is part of “The Unity Project,” which is a collaborative musical project created by Peruvian-American musicianTony Succar. The venture aims to pay tribute to Michael Jackson using Latin music and vocals provided by a number of leading Latin artists. The album was completed on May of 2013 and Succar is currently working on marketing for its launch.

Let us know what you think about our picks in our comments section and if you know any other tunes that should be on our list!

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