February 28, 2014

Top Ten Gloria Estefan

A celebrated performer, writer, and all around nice lady, Gloria Estefan has accomplished a career most would envy. Her albums- both with Miami Sound Machine and solo- comprised of Latin, Pop, and Standards, have brought her fans from lovers of all genres all over the world. Including me.

Here's a look at my Top Ten of Gloria's best:

1- "If We Were Lovers" - This English language translation of her hit "Con Los Anos Que Me Quedan" first appeared on her Greatest Hits II disc. I loved the original version in Spanish- and this version is just as beautiful. The delicate guitar and yearning vocal perfectly express the tender words of love. This all time favorite takes me right to Miami and a tropical evening under a silver moon.

2- "Live For Loving You" - The first time I heard this song was in 1992 while Gloria was performing live on the televised opening of EuroDisney, now Disneyland Paris. "Ooh, La, La, La, La". Just lots of fun. (Can't embed the performance, but you can find it here.)

3- "I Know You Too Well" - Another ballad showing off her vocal gifts. It is well known that Gloria was a fan of Karen Carpenter, and this lovely piece showcases Gloria's voice to great effect.

4- "Don't Let This Moment End" - This is a blistering cut off the disco "Gloria!" album. Incredible production, great songs, and powerfully strong vocals reminiscent of Donna Summer at her best.  If you think the upbeat version is great- and it is- the rarer to find ballad version is just as enticing.

5- "Traces" - Sure, its a remake from Classics IV, but in an album of all remakes, it stands out. This is a case where the photography is better than the music, but it is still an album of much loved songs from hit makers past.

6- "What a Wonderful World" - The old Louis Armstrong classic. Every bit as good as you think it might be.

7- "Rhythm is Gonna Get You" - And, boy, does it. If you can help but tap your feet or get up on them, maybe you aren't listening to one of Gloria's catchiest songs ever.

8- "Christmas Through Your Eyes"- Beautiful, simple, charming. One of the few instances where a children's choir truly belongs on a song sung by an adult. 

9- "Here We Are" - This is one performance that took time to grow on me. It was probably the first time I truly heard Gloria's potential to be an artist for all time. Very mature lyrics befitting a woman who has lived a very full life. 

10- "Don't Release Me" - Another thumper from the "Gloria!" disc. With an absolutely sumptuous opening vocal line from her, the listener is pulled in and never let go. Wyclef Jean brings just the right touch of grit, complementing Gloria's most smokey vocal.

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