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A Puro Dolor

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"A Puro Dolor"
Single by Son by Four
from the album Son by Four
Released February 1, 2000
Format Promo single
Recorded 1999
Genre Latin pop, salsa
Length 3:32 (ballad version)
4:23 (original version)
Label Sony Discos
Writer(s) Omar Alfanno
Producer(s) Omar Alfanno
Son by Four singles chronology
"No Hay Razón"
"A Puro Dolor"
"Miss Me So Bad"

"A Puro Dolor" is a song recorded by Puerto Rican band Son by Four. It was written by Omar Alfanno and released as the first single of the second studio album of the band in 2000. Two versions of the track were produced for the album; one as a salsa and the other as a ballad. The ballad version was arranged by Alejandro Jaén.

The song reached number-one on Billboard Top Latin Songs chart, and became the longest running chart topper of its history, spending 20 weeks at the top; this record was broken five years later by Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira with "La Tortura" which spent 25 weeks at number-one. "A Puro Dolor" also reached the Billboard 100; this led to the recording of an English-language version of the track "Purest of Pain", which was also charted in the United States.

The composition also met with critical acclaim receiving the Lo Nuestro Award, the Billboard Music Award and a Latin Grammy Award nomination. In 2009, "A Puro Dolor" was named the best-performing Latin single of the 2000s decade in the United States. Two music videos were made for the ballad and the English versions. The record was covered by Mexican group Dinora y la Juventud and Brazilian boy band KLB both of which received radio airplay.

Background and composition[edit]

I wrote it in ten minutes, under deadline, with a bottle of water by my side.

Omar Alfanno, Billboard.[1]

In 1998, Son by Four released their first album, Prepárense. The success of the singles "Nada" and "No Hay Razón", distributed in Puerto Rico by the independent label RJO, captured the attention of the Sony Music CEO Oscar Llord, who made an agreement with RJO to re-release the album and start the recording sessions of the next album. The first single taken from the following album was "A Puro Dolor", written and arranged by Panamanian record producer Omar Alfanno, with a ballad version arranged by Alejandro Jaén.[2] Alfanno, well known for his work with salsa recording singers Marc Anthony, Víctor Manuelle, Jerry Rivera and Gilberto Santa Rosa was in charge of the album production.[3] Alfanno declared that he wrote the song in ten minutes, and that after the success of the track, he analyzed the composition, since he did not understand how "A Puro Dolor" became that popular.[1] He named it "the Cinderella of all his songs."[1]

Critical reception[edit]

A 21 second sample of the song, "Purest of Pain", the English version of "A Puro Dolor" by Son by Four. This version was recorded after the group's unexpected success with the original song.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The song was released in the United States and Puerto Rico in February 2000. It became very successful with the ballad and tropical/salsa versions setting an airplay record for a Latin single with 23.4 million impressions in those countries. The reaction to the song was intense, and Son by Four was asked to record an English-language version of the track.[4] This version, titled "Purest of Pain", was serviced to English-speaking radio stations in May 2000. The success of the song took by surprise the leader of the band, Ángel López, who told Billboard magazine: "When they told us we were going to be signed by Columbia for the single, we flipped."[5] A ranchera version was also recorded for the Regional Mexican audience.[6] About the song, López also declared that "has something everybody can relate to. We're adults, we've been all through that [rejection]. The way the song reaches out to people is outstanding."[5] In his album review for AllMusic, Evan C. Gutierrez declared that "A Puro Dolor" set "an impossibly high standard for the rest of the playlist."[7]

Son by Four received seven Billboard Latin Music Award nominations in 2001 for "Hot Latin Track of the Year", "Pop Track of the Year" and "Tropical/Salsa Track of the Year" ("A Puro Dolor"); "Tropical/Salsa Album of the Year, New Artist" and "Tropical/Salsa Album of the Year, Group" (Son by Four); and "Billboard Latin 50 Artist of the Year" and "Hot Latin Track Artist of the Year". With further nominations for Alfanno as "Songwriter of the Year" and Jaén for "Producer of the Year".[1] Son by Four won all the awards, and Alfanno won the award for the writing of the song.[8]

At the Lo Nuestro Awards of 2001, the group earned six awards; among them "Pop Song of the Year" and "Tropical Song of the Year".[9] Alfanno also received a Latin Grammy Award nomination for the Best Tropical Song, which it lost to "El Niágara en Bicicleta" by Juan Luis Guerra.[10][11] "A Puro Dolor" was given three Billboard Music Award in 2000 for Latin Track of the Year, Latin Pop Track of the Year, and Tropical/Salsa Track of the Year.[12] At the 2001 ASCAP Latin Music Awards, Alfanno was awarded "Song of the Year" and "Pop/Balada Song of the Year" for his composition of the song and was named Songwriter of the Year.[13] In 2015, "A Puro Dolor" ranked #35 on Billboard's Best Latin Songs of All Time.[14]


To promote the single, Son by Four opened a Ricky Martin live performance in the Madison Square Garden in New York City.[2] They also did a concert with the R&B trio Destiny's Child, and were presented in the 1st Latin Grammy Awards along with the boy band N'Sync, performing the medley "A Puro Dolor"/"Purest of Pain" with "This I Promise You"/"Yo Te Voy a Amar".[2] The song was featured in the Mexican telenovela Frente al Espejo, broadcast by Televisa.[2] In 2000, due to the success of the track in the American market, they were asked to perform on The Tonight Show hosted by Jay Leno.[2] The salsa version of the song was included on their greatest hits album Salsa Hits (2001) and Lo Esencial (2008) and on the compilation album Salsahits 2001 (2000).[15]

Two music videos were made for the song; the first one for the ballad version, and the other for the English version.[16][17] The ballad version was directed by Felipe Niño.[2] In the video, the group is shown performing the song along with an orchestra behind them. It is filmed on a stage where shows López singing his verses, while the others members of the group, follow up with the chorus. At the end of the video the people of the orchestra starts to applaud when the group ends to sing.[16] In the English version of the video, the plot is completely different. The video starts in a cloudy afternoon after a storm, where the group is situated in a white room. It shows López singing in a ladder when it later starts to fill with water. At the last part of the video, it shows Son by Four singing out of the house after the storm has ended.[17]

Chart performance[edit]

"A Puro Dolor" reached the top spot of the Billboard Top Latin Songs, Latin Pop Songs and Tropical/Salsa charts with the song spending 20 weeks at number-one on the former chart.[18][19] This chart run led the song to be named the best-performing Latin single of the 2000s decade.[20] In the aforementioned chart only four songs have had similar week runs at the top: "Me Enamora" by Juanes, "Te Quiero" by Flex, and "Bailando" by Enrique Iglesias featuring Descemer Bueno and Gente De Zona with 20 weeks each, and "La Tortura" by Shakira featuring Alejandro Sanz with 25 non-consecutive weeks at the top.[19] "Purest of Pain", the English version of the track, peaked at number twenty-six in the Billboard Hot 100 chart and ranked 61 at the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 2000.[18][21] This exposure led to the parent album to receive a Gold certification in Argentina,[22] Mexico,[23] and the United States.[24] "A Puro Dolor" ranked 1st at the Hot Latin Songs 25th Anniversary chart.[25] "Purest of Pain" was also a modest success in Europe where it peaked at number seven and eighteen in the Flanders and Wallonia regions of Belgium and number three in the Netherlands.[26][27][28]

Formats and track listings[edit]

CD, Maxi-Single [29]
No. Title Length
1. "Purest of Pain (A Puro Dolor) [Spanglish]"   3:30
2. "Purest of Pain (A Puro Dolor) [Bilingual]"   3:30
3. "Purest of Pain (A Puro Dolor) [Living without you]"   3:30


Credits and personnel[edit]

The credits are adapted from the Son by Four liner notes.[32]

Other recordings[edit]

In 2000, Mexican group Dinora y la Juventud performed a cover "A Puro Dolor" in cumbia music. Their version peaked at number forty-six on the Hot Latin Songs chart and number fifteen on the Billboard Regional Mexican Songs chart.[33] The success of their cover led to the group receiving a Lo Nuestro Award for New Regional Mexican Artist of the Year.[9] A music video for the song was filmed for the group.[34]

Piska, a Brazilian producer and composer, wrote the lyrics for a cover version of the song, which was recorded by the boy band KLB, and released in their eponymous debut album under the title "A Dor Desse Amor".[35][36] It was later released as a single, and became the group's first single to play in radio stations in the country.[37] The cover became a hit; it was the tenth most-played song in Brazilian radios in 2000.[38] A music video, directed by Preta Gil, was filmed for KLB.[39]

In 2009, Son by Four recorded a new version of the track for their studio album Abba Nuestro which did not have López's involvement as he left the band in 2003.[40][41] López himself recorded a new version of the track on his studio album Historias de Amor (2010) which features a cover of Alfanno's other compositions which was produced by Alfanno.[42] He also recorded it as a duet with fellow Puerto Rican singer Ana Isabelle on her studio album Mi Sueño (2010).[43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Cobo, Leila (February 17, 2001). "Son by Four, Anthony Top Latin Awards Finalists". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 113 (7): 77. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Son by Four: Grupo Puertorriqueño de Música Pop" (in Spanish). Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Ángel López, "es la voz"" (in Spanish). Grupo Editorial Epasa. Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Son by Four: Turning Hard Work into Gain with "A Puro Dolor"". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 112 (25): LM-6. June 17, 2000. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Son by Four". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 112 (25): LM-14. June 17, 2000. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Ranchera Hits - Various Artists: Overview". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  7. ^ Gutierrez, Evan C. "((( Son by Four > Overview )))". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Son by Four Wins Big at Billboard Latin Awards". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. April 25, 2001. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Premios Lo Nuestro: Alfombra Roja: Lista completa de los ganadores de Premio Lo Nuestro 2001". Univision. Univision Communications Inc. 2001. Retrieved August 14, 2013.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "wins-LN-2001" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  10. ^ "The Full List of Nominations". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. July 8, 2000. Retrieved November 21, 2013. 
  11. ^ Basham, David (September 14, 2000). "Santana, Luis Miguel, Maná Lead Latin Grammy Winners". MTV. Viacom Media Networks. Retrieved November 21, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Billboard winners". Las Vegas Sun (The Greenspun Corporation). December 6, 2000. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  13. ^ "El Premio ASCAP Awards Arturo Sandoval, Songwriter Omar Alfanno". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media) 112 (21): 50. May 19, 2001. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  14. ^ "The 50 Greatest Latin Songs of All Time". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. November 12, 2015. Retrieved November 12, 2015. 
  15. ^ "A Puro Dolor - Son by 4". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "Son by Four – A Puro Dolor". YouTube. October 29, 2009. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "Son by Four – Purest of Pain (A Puro Dolor)". YouTube. October 29, 2009. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g "((( Son by Four > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles > )))". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  19. ^ a b "Más Calientes". Telemundo (in Spanish). NBCUniversal. 2010. Retrieved October 20, 2010. 
  20. ^ "The Decade in Music". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media) 121 (39): 160. October 3, 2009. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  21. ^ a b c d e "2000: The Year in Music". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media) 112 (53): YE–48, 72, 74, 78. December 20, 2000. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Discos de oro y platino" (in Spanish). Cámara Argentina de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Certificaciones – {{{artist}}}" (in Spanish). Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  24. ^ "American certifications – Son by Four – Son by Four". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  25. ^ "25 años de música caliente". Telemundo (in Spanish). NBCUniversal. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  26. ^ a b " – Son by Four – Purest of Pain" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  27. ^ a b " – Son by Four – Purest of Pain" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  28. ^ a b " – Son by Four – Purest of Pain" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  29. ^ "Son by Four – Purest of Pain (CD single)". CD Universe. Retrieved October 22, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Jaaroverzichten - 2001". MegaCharts (in Dutch). HungMedia. 2001. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  31. ^ a b "The Year in Music 2001". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media) 112 (53): YE-37,39. December 29, 2001. Retrieved April 28, 2013. 
  32. ^ Son by Four (Album liner notes) (in Spanish). Son by Four. Puerto Rico: Sony Discos. 2000. ASIN B00004TRVY. 
  33. ^ "Dinora y la Juventud - Chart history". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  34. ^ Dinora y la Juventud (performer) (2000). A Puro Dolor (Television) (in Spanish). Fonovisa. 
  35. ^ "Anônimos de sucesso". ISTOÉ (in Portuguese) (1692). March 6, 2002. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Discografia - KLB 2000" (in Portuguese). KLB official site. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Romântico, KLB faz show no Comercial". Folha de S.Paulo (in Portuguese). Grupo Folha. April 20, 2001. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  38. ^ Prado, Magaly. "As 100 mais tocadas nas rádios brasileiras". Folha de S.Paulo (in Portuguese). Grupo Foha. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  39. ^ "KLB – Clip A dor desse amor". YouTube. February 2, 2007. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Abba Nuestro - Son by 4: Overview". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Son by Four regresa con música cristiana". People (in Spanish). Time Inc. November 30, 2007. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  42. ^ "Historias de Amor - Angel Lopez: Overview". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  43. ^ "Mi Sueño - Ana Isabelle: Overview". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved October 20, 2013.