Ritchie Valens was regarded as the father of the Spanish rock 'n' roll movement. His song "La Bamba" was one of the first Latin rock songs to become a hit. On February 3, 1959 (also known as "The Day the Music Died"), Valens was killed in a plane crash in Iowa, along with musicians Buddy Holly and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson.
Menudo, a Latino boy band that was formed in the 1970s, was the starting point for former members like Ricky Martin and Robi Draco Rosa. The band underwent several changes over the decades, and was revived with five new members in November 2007. Menudo's 1987 members included (left to right): Ralphie Rodriguez, Ricky Martin, Ruben Gomez, Sergio Gonzales, Ramone Acevedo and Charlie Masso.
Selena Perez Quintanilla, known simply as Selena, was a Grammy-winning Mexican-American singer. Called the "The Queen of Tejano Music," she was murdered at the age of 23 on March 31, 1995, by the president of her fan club. In 1997, Jennifer Lopez played Selena in a film about the singer's life.
Cuban-American singer and songwriter Gloria Estefan is one of the most successful crossover Latin music performers to date. The "Queen of Latin Pop" has won five Grammy Awards, and she and her group, Miami Sound Machine, recorded hits like "Conga," "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" and "1-2-3." Her most recent-offering, 2007's Spanish-language album "90 Millas," was a chart-topper that year.
Carlos Augusto Alves Santana is a Grammy Award-winning Mexican rock musician and guitarist. His band, Santana -- which blended salsa, rock, blues and jazz -- was popular in the 1960s and 1970s, although the group enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the late 1990s. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named Santana No. 15 on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
The quintessential Latin gentleman, Julio Iglesias was the most popular Latin singer of the 1970s and 1980s, and has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide. The romantic crooner even recorded in Spanish, English, French and Italian. In his pre-performer days, Iglesias did a stint as a goalkeeper for soccer team Real Madrid, and he also studied law at Cambridge University. He is the father of musician Enrique Iglesias.
Jennifer Lopez, also known as "J. Lo," is an actress, singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, fashion designer and television producer. Of Puerto Rican descent, J. Lo is one of the most influential Hispanic entertainers in America. She has released seven albums since 1999, and has starred in acclaimed films such as "Selena," "Out of Sight" and "Angel Eyes." After high-profile romances with Ojani Noa, Cris Judd, Sean Combs and Ben Affleck, Lopez is now married to singer Marc Anthony.
RBD is a Mexican teen pop group made up of three boys and three girls who started off as the cast of a prime-time telenovela, "Rebelde." The Latin Grammy-nominated grop has recorded in Spanish, English and Portuguese, and have toured extensively.
Part Ecuadorian and part Irish, Christina Aguilera achieved success in the teen pop revival of the late 1990s. She released three English studio albums and one Latin pop record, despite the fact that she doesn't speak Spanish. Known for her powerful vocal ability, Aguilera has won five Grammy Awards amongst 18 nominations.
Thalia (born Ariadna Thalia Sodi Miranda) is a Latin Grammy-winning Mexican singer, and is also one of Mexico's most famous telenovela actresses. She was never able to successfully cross over into the U.S. market with Engligh-language versions of her music, however. She is married to music industry bigwig (and Mariah Carey's ex) Tommy Mottola, which has kept her in the celebrity spotlight.
Puerto Rican pop singer Ricky Martin started off as a member of Latin boy band Menudo, and went for a solo career in 1991. The Grammy Award- and Latin Grammy Award-winning entertainer also pursued an acting career, appearing in the American soap opera "General Hospital," and also working as a stage actor. His first English-language pop album (released in 1999) spawned singles like "Livin' la Vida Loca" and "She's All I Ever Had," launching Martin to international superstardom.
Grammy Award winner Marc Anthony, the biggest-selling salsa artist of all time, achieved mainstream crossover success in 1999 with Billboard hit "I Need to Know." He is married to Jennifer Lopez, who like him, is an American of Puerto Rican descent. The multi-talented artist also acted in films, including the 1995 cult classic "Hackers" and Martin Scorsese's 1999 film "Bringing Out the Dead."
Colombian pop singer Shakira is also a songwriter, instrumentalist, record producer, dancer and philanthropist. In 2001, she broke into the English-speaking world with the release of "Laundry Service." She has won two Grammy Awards, seven Latin Grammy Awards, and is also a Golden Globe-nominated artist. She is known for her rock-influenced sound, poetic lyrics and her signature belly-dance moves.
One of the biggest-selling Spanish musicians of all time, Enrique Iglesias is the son of singer Julio Iglesias. His first album, "Enrique Iglesias" (1995), has to date sold more than six million copies worldwide. He won the 1996 Grammy for Best Latin Performer, and subsequently released both Spanish- and English-language albums to widespread acclaim.