Amor Prohibido (song)
|Single by Selena|
|from the album Amor Prohibido|
|B-side||Bidi Bidi Bom Bom|
|Released||February 11, 1994|
|Format||CD single, 12" single|
|Recorded||January 26, 1994
(Corpus Christi, Texas)
|Genre||Tejano, Dance-pop, Latin pop|
|Writer(s)||Selena, A.B. Quintanilla III, Pete Astudillo|
|Producer(s)||Quintanilla III, Abraham Quintanilla Jr, Jorge Alberto Pino, Bebu Silvetti, Gregg Vickers|
|Selena singles chronology|
"Amor Prohibido" (Forbidden Love) is a song recorded by American recording artist Selena from her fifth studio album of the same name (1994). It was released by EMI Latin on February 11, 1994, as the album's lead single alongside "Bidi bidi bom bom". "Amor Prohibido" was inspired by the true story of Selena's grandparents, and was first drafted when Selena began to hum a tune on her tour bus. A.B. Quintanilla III Selena's brother and music producer, and Pete Astudillo, formerly a backup singer with Selena y Los Dinos, wrote down the melody.
"Amor Prohibido" is a Spanish-language mid-tempo corrido composed by Selena, Quintanilla III and Astudillo, and has influences of dance-pop. The song's central theme and lyrical content convey a Romeo and Juliet-based narrative about two lovers who are given negative criticism by society because they come from two different socio-economic groups; they ignore everyone and continue on with their relationship, while overcoming parental disapproval and poverty. "Amor prohibido" was released as the album's lead single in the United States, while it was released outside the US as the third single. As of 2005, the single has sold more than 500,000 copies in the US. "Amor Prohibido" peaked at number one on the US Hot Latin Tracks and number five on the Latin Regional Mexican Airplay charts.
"Amor Prohibido" received positive criticism from music critics who claimed that it is Selena's most famous song. It was nominated for a Grammy Award during the 37th Grammy Awards, won the "Regional Mexican Song of the Year" award at the 1995 Premio Lo Nuestro, and beginning in 1994 won the "Single of the Year" at the Tejano Music Awards for three consecutive years. "Amor Prohibido" won a prestigious award at the 1995 BMI Music Awards, and was posthumously nominated for "Best 1990s songs" at the 2010 Tejano Music Awards.
The single's accompanying music video was directed by Cecilia Miniucchi and was premiered on St. Valentines Day on all Spanish-language music channels. A number of cover versions of "Amor Prohibido" have been recorded; some artists were non-Hispanic. It has been used in the media several times, mostly for Mexican telenovelas. The single was certified Gold by the Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas (AMPROFON) in 1995, and in 2005, the digital track was certified Platinum.
Background and production
The song began its existence when Selena began humming a tune in her tour bus, while her brother and music producer, A.B. Quintanilla III, had an admiration for the tune and decided to play his guitar along with Selena's humming. Pete Astudillo, a former backup singer for the band, and Quintanilla III wrote down a few melodies. Selena had then began to sing about a couple who were forbidden to love each other, which became the central theme of the song. When Selena sat down with Quintanilla III and Astudillo, she decided to help write the song and had wanted it to be based on the true story of her grandparents, who were forbidden to love each other because their parents (Selena's great-grandparents) did not approve of their relationship because they belonged to different social classes. The song was written in less than a day and became important to Selena.
Magos Herrera recorded a demo of the song for Selena to record. Jorge Alberto Pino and Bebu Silvetti wrote the chord structure and the guitar part. Gregg Vickers was the assistant producer. The pre-production of the song began in Selena's father's recording studio Q-Productions on January 20, 1994. Brian "Red" Moore, a family friend, was brought in to remix the music while lead keyboardist Ricky Vela was in charge of the music sequencer during pre-production. The backing vocalists were Stephanie Lynn and Rick Alvarez; the backing vocals had a quarter note delay at 675 ms.
The recording of "Amor Prohibido" began on January 26, 1994; it was the first song to be recorded for Amor Prohibido. During recording, Selena added a melodic chant, "ooooh baby". Quintanilla III stated during an interview with MTV Tr3s that "Amor Prohibido" would not be the same if Selena had not added the chants. Selena took two takes before Quintanilla III chose the take he felt would be best for the album. After the release of Amor Prohibido in March 1994, Selena and Jose Behar, the head of EMI Latin, were deciding which song from the album would be released as the lead single. Quintanilla III wanted "Bidi bidi bom bom" to be the lead single, however, Selena and Behar pushed for "Amor Prohibido".
Music, theme and lyrics
"Amor Prohibido", a number one hit single in the United States and Mexico. The song was written and co-produced by A.B. Quintanilla III and Pete Astudillo. Selena had gathered inspiration from her grandparents who were forbidden to love each other by their parents. The track mixed Latin pop and dance-pop with the keyboards and the hi-hat cymbal as its musical foundation.
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"Amor Prohibido" is a mid-tempo corrido song with dance-pop influences. Written in the key of E major, the beat is set in common time and moves at a moderate 90 beats per minute. Selena's vocal range in the song spans two octaves. "Amor Prohibido" uses an uptempo keyboard synthesizer and an electronic keyboard, and uses percussion and the hi-hat cymbal as its musical foundation. The Daily Democrat wrote that the song was ":... mixing the modern cumbia sounds of guitars, accordions, bass guitar, flutes, drums and other percussions ..." Ellie D. Hernández wrote in her book Postnationalism in chicana/o literature and culture that "By challenging the precept of social desire and self-production, Selena's music speaks of a social and cultural desire that transcends the boundaries of romantic love in one of her songs, appropriately titled "Amor Prohibido" ... " Hernández stated that Selena sings in Spanish the central theme of " ... social divisions, class and race, that divides [Selena] from her beloved ... " Hernández also stated that, "The ethos of the song suggests a hegemonic crisis informing Selena's lamentations. The 'forbidden love' is built in a cultural prohibition where 'the lovers' are formed. The figurative societal pressures to live in accordance with a class construct are implicated along racial and linguistic boundaries that code a new subject relation. Much of Selena's music forms similar tensions, [such as "Amor Prohibido"], in which the dominant precepts are fashioned as a murmuring, a catty whispering that achieves a certain primacy as a hegemonic disclosure. The love Selena claims in the lyrics is paradigmatic because it also is capable of leading her to an emotional banishment from her family and culture. Risking everything for this love is not at all an innocent choice but a decision abundant with agency and consciousness that begins as a consequence of the forbidden ... "
The song's lyrics are constructed in the verse-pre-chorus-chorus form. It begins with keyboard synthesizer strumming, and Selena sings the intro: "Con unas ansias locas quiero verte hoy" (With this crazy longing I want to see you today). She then sings the first verse, telling her boyfriend that they should not care what their parents tell them, and that their love is the sole important thing in their lives. The pre-chorus and chorus follow: "Amor prohibido murmuran por las calles porque somos de distintas sociedades/ Amor prohibido nos dice todo el mundo, el dinero no importa en ti y en mí/ ni en el corazón/ Oh, oh baby" (Forbidden love has died in the streets because we come from two different societies/ They tell us that our love is forbidden, but money does not matter in our hearts/ oh, oh baby). Selena sings the bridge, where she tells her lover that she is poor, that she can only supply him with love, and that they should not care what society thinks because the most important thing is that they love each other. Selena sings the chorus twice before the song concludes.
In Drum magazine, the editor wrote the "Amor Prohibido" is a gently rocking song. S.C Gwynne of Time magazine wrote that "Amor Prihibido" was a form of dance pop that combines Top 40 melodies with the rhythms of Colombian cumbia. Elizabeth Rodriguez Kessler and Anne Perrin wrote in their book Chican@s in the Conversations that "Amor Prohibido" was a "soap-operaish" song. Greg Kot of Chicago Tribune wrote that "Amor Prohibido" had " ... a bit more contemporary snap to it ... " In the Denver Post, the editor stated that "Amor Prohibido" is a cumbia song. Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News wrote that "Amor Prohibido" is a " ... synthesizer-heavy cumbia piece that's so catchy it's sinful ... " Tarradell also called the song "Tejano-like", and a "pop-styled opus". Mary Talbot of The New York Daily News wrote that "As if in requiem to Selena's career, the album's producers included two straight-up Tejano hits, "Amor Prohibido," and "Como la Flor ... " Ramiro Burr of San Antonio Express-News wrote that "She balanced torchy ballads full of hurt and pain such as "Amor Prohibido" with fun dance cumbias with a sense of humor ..."
Release and chart performance
In the US, "Amor Prohibido" was the lead single from Amor Prohibido, and followed "Bidi bidi bom bom". The single was released on April 13, 1994, and featured the album and instrumental versions of the track. "Amor Prohibido" was the third single released from Amor Prohibido in international markets on EMI International. Two versions of the single were released in Mexico on April 20, 1994; a CD single, which featured the album version of "Amor Prohibido", and "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", which served as the b-side track, was released. A promotional single, which only included the radio edit of "Amor Prohibido", was released. A 12" single was released in South American countries the same day. On August 25, 1995, a maxi single to promote Dreaming of You (1995) was released in Spain and included four tracks, one of which was "Amor Prohibido". In Mexico, a maxi single of "God's Child (Baila Conmigo)", which included "Amor Prohibido", was released on December 20, 1995. By the end of 1994, "Amor Prohibido" had sold 200,000 copies and in late-1995 the single had sold 400,000 copies in the US. As of 2005, "Amor Prohibido" has sold more than 500,000 copies. Lead vocalist of Camila Samuel "Samo" Parra sang on "Amor Prohibido". It was released as the lead single from Enamorada de Ti (2012), which is a tribute-duet album that includes other artists singing duets with Selena on her original songs.
"Amor Prohibido" entered various Latin charts, and became the most successful single released from the album Amor Prohibido. While ineligible for the Hot 100, "Amor Prohibido" debuted at number 13 on April 13, 1994, on the US Hot Latin Tracks shortly after the album's release in March 1994. After Selena was murdered, the album peaked at number one seven weeks later, and remained there for nine consecutive weeks. "Amor Prohibido" debuted and peaked at number five on the Latin Regional Mexican Airplay chart for 44 consecutive weeks.
"Amor Prohibido" was critically praised for Selena's choice in stepping out of the Tejano music genre, which had Latin American sounds and rhythms. Quintanilla III had written songs that transcend the boundaries of Tejano music, which led Selena to become "The Queen of Tejano music", the first and only Tejano artist to have achieved this feat. Music critics believed "Amor Prohibido" is Selena's most popular song. Amazon.com's Ramiro Burr stated that "The hits were obvious—the eloquent "Amor Prohibido," on love conducted in secret ... " The Daily Vault stated that " ... Amor prohibido is a seamless track ... " which made them wonder about Abraham Quintanilla Jr., believing he was " ... a professional, albeit over-influential to Selena ... ". About.com wrote that "Dreaming of You" is among "The top 12 Spanish language songs that have been played on English language radio", and that " ... the album of the same name includes "Amor Prohibido" and "Como la flor," both of which enjoyed popularity in Latin America ... " during their scoring. Howard Blumenthal wrote in his book The world music CD listener's guide that "Amor Prohibido" is one of Selena's best love songs. Guadalupe San Miguel wrote in his book Tejano proud: Tex-Mex music in the twentieth century that "Amor Prohibido" is considered Selena's most popular piece. María Herrera-Sobek wrote in her book Chicano folklore: a handbook that "Como la flor" and "Amor Prohibido" achieved national and international success. Emma Pérez wrote in her book The decolonial imaginary: writing Chicanas into history that "Amor Prohibido" was favored among the LGBT community because of the lyrical content the song. Ed Morales wrote in his book The Latin beat: the rhythms and roots of Latin music that "Amor Prohibido" is a " ... classic mass market hit that inhabits the memory, easily floating in the summer air of radios on the streets ... " Morales also stated that "It is catchy but also parable about love and social class that reflects the strains of immigration on the barrio while resonating Romeo and Juliet ... "
Don McLeese of Austin American-Statesmen called "Amor Prohibido" compelling. Ramiro Burr of San Antonio Express-News wrote that "Songs such as "Baila esta cumbia," "La Carcacha," "Como la Flor" and "Amor Prohibido" had that instant appeal, that memorable melodic hook ... ", and that "Amor Prohibido" and "No Me Queda Mas" were heartbreaking ballads. Burr believed "Amor Prohibido", among other chart-topping Selena songs, is her "fans favorite". Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News wrote that "The doors were wide open for the Amor Prohibido singles – "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", "Amor Prohibido", "No Me Queda Más" and a Spanish version of the Pretenders' "Back on The Chain Gang" "Fotos y recuerdos" ... ". Jennifer Marie Rios, an American-born singer, said that "Amor Prohibido" was one of her favorite Selena songs and stated " ... that was the first cumbia that caught my attention and was like, 'Wow.' I can really relate to it ... ". Sally Jacobs of the Sun Sentinel wrote that "Amor Prohibido" is immensely popular in Spanish-speaking countries.
Recognition and accolades
With "Amor Prohibido" and thirteen of Selena's other top-ten singles in the Top Latin Songs chart, she was named "top Latin artist of the '90s" and "Best selling Latin artist of the decade" by Billboard. Throughout March 2010, "Amor Prohibido" and a few other Selena music videos were selected for a Selena tribute to mark the fifteenth anniversary of her death, made available online to 42 million homes in the US on Music Choice On Demand. "Amor Prohibido" was nominated for a Grammy Award at the 37th Grammy Awards. "Amor Prohibido" and "No Me Queda Más" became the most successful singles of 1994 and 1995. In the Orlando Sentinel 's "1994 Top 10 Hits", "Amor Prohibido" was placed at number five.
"Amor Prohibido" won the "Regional Mexican Song of the Year" at the 1995 Premio Lo Nuestro Awards, and the Tejano Music Awards "Single of the Year" award in 1994 and the following two years. The 1995 BMI Music Awards awarded "Amor Prohibido" the prestigious "BMI Pop Music Award". During the decade-ballots at the 2010 Tejano Music Awards, "Amor Prohibido" was nominated for "Best 1990s songs", though "Bidi bidi bom bom" won the award.
The video, shot in Joshua Tree, California, premiered on February 14, 1994 on all major Spanish-language television channels in the US. It was produced by Tango Productions, and directed by Cecilia Miniucchi, who directed most of Selena's music videos and Selena Remembered. The production of the video began on February 6, 1994, with Philip Holahan as the director of photography and editing by Clayton Halsey. A licensing problem abruptly halted the taping of the video, causing Selena and Abraham Quintanilla III to drive back to their home town Corpus Christi to retrieve it so they could resume production. Experimenting outside of the Tejano genre, the video is shot and edited in a surreal fashion; Selena chooses different styles and colors of clothing, including her husband's shirts, and frequently changes them throughout the video.
The video opens with Selena running towards an open door, signifying a new relationship, and dancing with joy. Walking outward from a blocked wall, Selena sings about how much she wants to hear the words coming from her crush's mouth. While singing, Selena is seen with an open door and more scenes of a woman and a man who are in love are seen on the background wall behind her. She decides that because of their parents disagreements about their love, and because they are poor, they should only worry about their love for one another. As the music continues, Selena sings "Amor Prohibido" (Forbidden Love). The scene changes to Selena and her crush smiling and flirting at the open door, then transitions to her looking down at her reflection in a puddle in the sand. As Selena cuddles with her crush, she points to an abandoned window in the desert. She stares out of a window and she tells her crush that she is poor and all she has to give to him is her heart and love. The scene transitions again, and Selena dances to her reflections saying "Amor Prohibido". As the video ends, Selena and her crush leave through the open door, running away from their lives to start a new one together.
Usage in media and cover versions
"Amor Prohibido" was used in the season finale of Amor sin maquillaje and in Marisol. The song has been used in several Mexican telenovelas such as Mariana de la Noche, La Intrusa and in El amor no tiene precio. "Amor Prohibido" also has been used in Argentine telenovelas such as Locas de amor. The song was featured in the third season of Hospital Central. The song has been covered by many artists. Spanish-language covers are usually recorded with the same meaning as Selena's version, but Meiju Suvas recorded the song in Finnish with a different meaning. Shakira sang some parts of the song during a trivia interview in 2002 for Univisions, Otro Rollo. Thalía sang the song for the Selena ¡VIVE! concert and included a studio version of it on her album El Sexto Sentido. Yolanda Duke recorded the song in salsa as part of RMM's tribute to Selena on the album, Familia RMM Recordando a Selena. Ritmo Kaliente, Exitos Sonideros, Banda El Grullo, Jorge Rodriguez Lopez, Blanca Star Olivera, Jessica Vargas, Dalila and Shoshana have covered the song. As part of a tribute-duet album, lead vocalist of Camila Samuel "Samo" Parra lent his voice for "Amor Prohibido".
Track listings and formats
Credits and personnel
Credits are taken from Amor Prohibido liner notes.
|US Hot Latin Songs (Billboard)||1|
|US Regional Mexican Airplay (Billboard)||5|
|US Latin Pop Songs (Billboard)
duet version with Samo
|US Hot Latin Songs (Billboard)
duet version with Samo
- Music of Mexico
- Number-one hits of 1994 (U.S. Hot Latin Tracks)
- Billboard Top Latin Songs Year-End Chart
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