Amor Prohibido

This article is about the Selena album. For other uses, see Amor Prohibido (disambiguation).
Amor Prohibido
A woman is seen holding and compressing a small portion of her white shirt outwards while posing.
Studio album by Selena
Released March 13, 1994 (1994-03-13)
Recorded September 1993–March 1994
Length 35:27
Language Spanish
Label EMI Latin
Producer A.B. Quintanilla
Selena chronology
17 Super Exitos
Amor Prohibido
12 Super Exitos
Selena studio album chronology
Entre a Mi Mundo
Amor Prohibido
Dreaming of You
Singles from Amor Prohibido
  1. "Amor Prohibido"
    Released: April 13, 1994
  2. "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom"
    Released: July 1994
  3. "No Me Queda Más"
    Released: October 1994
  4. "Fotos y Recuerdos"
    Released: January 1995

Amor Prohibido (English: Forbidden Love) is the fourth studio album by American singer Selena, released on March 13, 1994, by EMI Latin. After achieving a fan base EMI Latin was aiming for, company president Jose Behar wanted to take advantage with another studio release. Finding it challenging to write another album, the singer's brother A. B. Quintanilla enlisted band members Ricky Vela and Pete Astudillo to help with the writing. The recording ended up being a more mature sound with experimental recording and production that helped to develop diverse musical styles ranging from ranchera to hip-hop music. Amor Prohibido is a Tejano cumbia album modernized with a synthesizer-rich delivery using a minimalist style that was quintessential in early 1990s Tejano music.

The album's songs deal with dysfunctional and volatile relationships; its lyrics speak of unrequited love and cheating partners. Amor Prohibido also explores themes such as social division and successful romantic relationships. The album continued the singer's streak of number one singles on the US Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart with the title track "Amor Prohibido", as well as "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", "No Me Queda Más", and "Fotos y Recuerdos". "Amor Prohibido" and "No Me Queda Más" became the most successful US Latin singles of 1994 and 1995, respectively. "Amor Prohibido", "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", "Fotos y Recuerdos", and "Si Una Vez" are regarded as Selena's signature songs by music critics.

During her tour to promote the album, Selena broke attendance records at the Houston Astrodome and at Miami's Calle Ocho Festival, with critics calling her one of the most successful US Latin touring acts. Amor Prohibido became the first Tejano record to peak at number one on the US Billboard Top Latin Albums chart, remaining in the top five for 98 consecutive weeks, a record that still stands. The album also holds the record for most weeks at number one on the US Billboard Regional Mexican Albums chart at 96 successive weeks. It reached year-end sales of 500,000 copies in the US, the second Tejano recording to do so. Amor Prohibido received critical acclaim, and is considered to be Selena's best work and her band's "crowning achievement". The album is credited in catapulting Tejano music into mainstream success resulting in sales to listeners previously unfamiliar with the genre. The album was nominated for Best Mexican-American Album at the 36th Grammy Awards. It won the Tejano Music Award for Album of the Year — Orchestra and the Lo Nuestro Award for Best Regional Mexican Album.

In March 1995, Selena was murdered by her friend and former manager of Selena Etc. boutiques. Her death resulted in increased sales of Amor Prohibido and her back catalogue. The record re-entered the Billboard 200 chart, peaking at number 29 and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)— signifying that 500,000 units had been shipped. Within the next three weeks, it was certified platinum, and was finally re-certified by the RIAA as double diamond in February 2011 with shipments exceeding two million copies. The album is tied for second on the list of best-selling US Latin albums, and remains the best-selling Tejano recording of all time. Amor Prohibido has been ranked among the most essential Latin recordings of the past 50 years by Billboard magazine and which nominated it for its list of the top 100 albums of all-time.

Production and development

Following the release of Selena's third studio album Entre a Mi Mundo and the launch of a clothing boutique in 1993,[1] the singer and her band began working on Amor Prohibido.[2] Having achieved the success and the fan base that EMI Latin's president Jose Behar was seeking, he wanted to take advantage of "newly discovered markets".[3] The singer's brother, A.B. Quintanilla, felt it was important that the music he produced for Selena remain "fresh".[2] EMI Latin had insisted on a Grammy Award-winning producer to work with Selena on the album. A.B. later told BuzzFeed how he had to "outdo" himself to remain her principal record producer.[4] Owing to Entre a Mi Mundo's commercial success, and its career-launching single "Como la Flor",[5] A.B. found it "difficult" to produce another successful recording.[2] In a 2002 interview he said that writing "a part two" to "Como la Flor" was infeasible so he enlisted Selena y Los Dinos band members Pete Astudillo and Ricky Vela to help with the album's writing process.[2] The result was a "more mature sound [for Selena]" that included experimental recording and production.[2] It was the final album with any production and songwriting assistance by Astudillo, as he parted with Los Dinos to pursue a solo career.[2] The entire production of Amor Prohibido lasted six months beginning in September 1993.[2] It took two weeks for the band to complete its post-production before the album was given a street date of March 13, 1994.[2] Vela noticed the band was becoming stagnant and had to rush the production because of an approaching deadline.[2] He said in an interview that it was common for the band to arrange the sequencing of the entire project in their homes before going into the studio to record the songs.[2]


Amor Prohibido was recorded in its entirety at record producer Manny Guerra's studio in San Antonio, Texas and was engineered by house engineer Brian "Red" Moore.[6] Selena's husband and guitarist Chris Pérez, wrote that the singer "never complained about her mix or the sound onstage" calling this "rare" among singers.[7] He added that he never heard her say: "I don't want to do that." He said it was common for her to arrive at the studio during the album's production, "hum her part a little", telling them not to worry about her because she will "know what to do when [the band] are ready to record", and then "go off to shop at the mall."[7] Pérez said the band never "had to ask [Selena] to change something in the studio" as she "track[ed] her vocals by herself, and she would be the one who would request a second take" in order to "add little harmonies she'd create" during recording.[7] The band's production sequence remain unchanged for Amor Prohibido. Selena and the band recorded their parts in the studio after they had first perfected them during pre-production. A.B. would then arrange and mix them.[7] It took two weeks for Selena to record the album's ten tracks.[2]

Chris Pérez (far right, pictured in 2012) took creative control on "Ya No"; adding electric guitar riffs and other musical styles into the recording the day before the band were scheduled to record Amor Prohibido.[2]

One song–"Bidi Bidi Bom Bom"–was improvised during a rehearsal starting off as a song with few if any lyrics.[8] A.B. began playing a groove that enticed other band members to play their respective instruments.[9] The band's drummer, Suzette Quintanilla, said "we were goofing off" and insisted that after A.B. began playing on his guitar, Selena started singing,[9] coming up with lyrics "as ideas came to her."[10] It started off being about a cheerful fish swimming freely in the ocean and later turned into a recording played under a riff using a crybaby, which gave off a wah-wah sound.[2] The riff, improvised by Pérez, became the basis of the song before the writing process began.[2] The track was used during the band's concerts to prevent promoters from reducing their pay for playing for a shorter time than promised.[4] Before A.B. began co-writing, Selena and Astudillo were in the process of writing the song in Spanish, he called it "kinda a little scary" finding the project the first of its kind.[2]

After falling in love with Suzette, and finding out about her marriage in September 1993, Vela wrote down his feelings (which he had kept private) for her.[11] The resulting song was titled "No Me Queda Más" and it was given to Selena to record for the album.[11] When her brother asked her to do a fifth take she replied that she had enough of recording the song. She informed him that "what you got there is what you got" and left to go shopping.[2] A.B. approached Pérez and asked if he would be interested in working with Vela on "Ya No", a song he had written.[2] The band was scheduled to record the album the following day. Pérez found his behavior nothing out of the ordinary and worked on the song with Vela throughout the night "coming up with drum sounds and programing the pattern for it," finalizing its structure before sunrise.[2] Despite A.B.'s assistance, Pérez was dumbfounded that he was given creative control over the track. He added electric guitar riffs and complemented it with his own musical style.[2]

"Fotos y Recuerdos"
Chrissie Hynde had prevented the release of Amor Prohibido until a translation of "Fotos y Recuerdos" were provided to her.[2] Perone found the song to have removed "Back on the Chain Gang"'s lyrical content but found it to have retained its musical foundation.[12]

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Selena suggested the idea of writing and recording a track based on a story about her grandparents titled "Amor Prohibido". She explained it to A.B. who began co-writing it with Astudillo and herself.[2] Pérez wrote that during its recording session:

[T]here was a noticeable difference between her voice on ["Amor Prohibido"] and [the songs on] Entre a Mi Mundo, especially. I can't say that it was an improvement, exactly, because I always thought that Selena's voice sounded incredible. It's just that her voice was richer and more mature than before, and her singing was more emotional and powerful as a result.[13]

While recording the song, Selena had ad-libbed "oh baby". Her brother believed that the recording would "not have been the same if she had not added the 'oh baby' part."[14]

During a New York trip, A.B. heard the Pretenders' 1983 single "Back on the Chain Gang" on the radio.[2] He was concerned over the lack of material the band had to record for the album.[2] The idea of reworking "Back on the Chain Gang" into a Spanish-language cumbia song captivated him and he asked Vela to write its translation.[2] After discovering that Selena had sampled her song, Pretenders' vocalist Chrissie Hynde prevented the band from releasing Amor Prohibido because of her copyrights and demanded a translation from Vela before she approved a rights agreement.[2] At the time of Hynde's refusal, the band had $475,000 (1994 USD) of pre-sale copies in a warehouse that included "Fotos y Recuerdos".[4] Noticing it was the shortest track on Amor Prohibido, musicologist James Perone felt that "Fotos y Recuerdos" had "stripped some of the edge off of Hynde's text but retained the basic premise of ["Back on the Chain Gang"]".[15] Perone complemented A.B.'s arrangement as "an example of [his] universal Latin approach."[15]


Amor Prohibido contains a more diverse collection of musical styles than Selena's previous work, ranging from ranchera to hip-hop music.[16][17] Music critics believe it is an album of various genres[18] accessible to both traditional and contemporary Latin music fans.[19] According to American musicologist Frank Hoffman in the Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound, the album "demonstrated the band's wide range of styles."[20] Its content includes musical influences from: salsa, funk, R&B,[21] a fusion of reggae and dancehall,[22] rock, polka, conjunto,[23] flamenco, mariachi,[24] and Tejano cumbia.[25] The latter genre is used heavily throughout Amor Prohibido. Author Ed Morales noticed it was a reproduction of the "cumbia sound" that Tejano band La Mafia had already established in the Tejano market,[26] though author Donald Clarke found Selena's delivery to be more of a modernized synthesizer-rich sound.[27] Musicologist Matt Doeden found the album had "a new sound" that was "designed to appeal to a wider audience."[21] Perone found the mixture of compositions on the album to be rock and dance music.[12] Overall, Amor Prohibido is a Tejano recording,[26] encased in an "authentically Tejano sound",[28] which uses a minimalist style that was quintessential in early 1990s Tejano music.[26]

Songs, such as "Tus Desprecios", about dysfunctional and volatile relationships has a storyline typical of mariachi recordings.[17] It used a conjunto (small band) style, where Tejano music originated, and included a "trilling" accordion which serves as its signature base.[6] Perone wrote that the song "exhibit[s] the ease" of Selena's transition from "middle-of-the-road pop ballad to Latin dance music to [Tejano] style."[17] Another track, "No Me Queda Más" uses the identical style of ranchera songs, with the female singer agonizing over the end of a relationship.[29][30] Its lyrics explore unrequited love; when the singer's lover leaves her for another woman, she wishes them "nothing but happiness" nevertheless.[30][31] Her "powerful" and "emotive" overdubbed vocals were found to be "low [and] sober", sung in a "desperate" and "sentimental" way.[30][31][32]

"Bidi Bidi Bom Bom"
A 20 second sample of "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", which uses "richer" scoring, less-driven synthesizers, and treble-heavy arrangements than the first four songs on Amor Prohibido.[12]

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Joe Nick Patoski, an author and contributor to The New York Times, felt that "Fotos y Recuerdos" used the same melody as the Pretenders' new wave sound. He also noticed that Pérez's guitar-lead emulated the style of the Pretenders James Honeyman-Scott.[33] The rock and house music[20] track features a synth-driven violin, ostinatish-percussion, and a steel drum under a cumbia beat.[15][30][34] Perone found the song to have "small hints" of music found in Jamaica, Cuba, and Trinidad and Tobago.[15] Patoski believed "Techno Cumbia" contained the "most popular rhythm [at the time] coursing through the Latin music world."[6] Patoski noted that the track "honored" it by "updating it with vocal samples, second line drumming from New Orleans, and horn charts inspired by soca from the Caribbean."[6] "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", which also draws on music from the Caribbean, uses "richer" scoring, less-driven synthesizers, and treble-heavy arrangements than the first four songs on Amor Prohibido.[12] Infused with cumbia and reggae,[35] its onomatopoeic title suggests the sound of a heart palpitating when a person longs to be the protagonist's object of affection.[25] "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" is musically similar to "El Chico del Apartamento 512"; Perone called them recurring themes where the protagonist is "attracted to a young man".[12] The song's hook is more accessible to listeners with limited Spanish than that of "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom".[12] In "El Chico del Apartamento 512", the protagonist is hit on by several men she has no interest in, except for the song's "boy in apartment 512". She finds enough courage to knock on his door to find it answered by a woman who asks if she is searching for her brother.[12] Perone found its lyrics to be "lighthearted" and a relief from the tracks featuring heartbreak and despair.[12]

"Amor Prohibido"
15-second sample of "Amor Prohibido" in which the lyrics of forbidden love between two people of different social classes can be heard; critics found its lyrics to be ambiguous and the LGBT community interpreted them to be about prohibited love between same-sex couples.[36][37]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Lyrically, the title track "Amor Prohibido", speaks of social division between a poverty-stricken female who falls in love with a man from the opposite social class.[31] Its lyrics have been analyzed by authors, musicologists, and critics, who found them relevant to issues facing the LGBT community.[36][37] They are ambiguous and have been interpreted to be about prohibited romance between same-sex couples,[37][38] a look into modern society's views of romantic relationships,[26][39] and to Romeo & Juliet.[40] In "Cobarde", the protagonist recognizes that her lover cheated on her and notices how he is unable to face her after feeling guilty about his behavior. She repeatedly calls him a "coward".[12] Two other tracks, "Ya No" and "Si Una Vez", delve into heartaches of failed relationships with the protagonist in the former song angrily refusing to take back a cheating partner.[12]

Release and promotion

Amor Prohibido was released in the United States on March 13, 1994.[41] It was released following a recording contract with EMI Latin's pop division SBK Records to crossover into mainstream American pop music in November 1993.[42] After this news reached Billboard magazine, Amor Prohibido was given a spotlight feature in its album reviews which called its release a continuation of her "torrid streak."[23] The band gave Argentine arranger Bebu Silvetti "No Me Queda Más" to be reworked into a pop-style track,[11] and EMI Latin's president Jose Behar asked Silvetti to "sweeten" the song to boost its airplay and chart performance.[43] Silvetti completed the project by August 13, 1994 and Amor Prohibido was re-released with a red sticker indicating that it included a "new version" of the song.[44] In a Billboard interview Behar said that the song was "internalized" without affecting the originality of its recording.[43] During the twenty-year celebration of Selena releasing music, Amor Prohibido was repackaged and was made available for physical and digital purchase on September 22, 2002.[44] The limited edition version included Selena's duet with the Barrio Boyzz on their 1994 single "Donde Quiera Que Estés", music videos for "Amor Prohibido" and "No Me Queda Más", as well as spoken liner notes containing commentary and recollections of each track provided by the singer's family, friends, and her band.[44]

After recording "Donde Quiera Que Estés", Selena went on a mini-tour with the Barrio Boyzz that enabled her to visit New York City, Argentina, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Central America, where she was not well known.[45][46] Selena made several appearances on television and in live shows to promote Amor Prohibido. Most notably, her performance at the Houston Astrodome on February 26, 1995, has been called one of her best.[47] It was highly praised by critics for breaking attendance records set by country music musicians Vince Gill, Reba Mcentire, and George Strait, at 65,000.[48][49] Her performance in the Astrodome was emulated by Jennifer Lopez in her role as the singer in the 1997 biopic about Selena.[50] Her concert at the Calle Ocho Festival in Miami, broke attendance records with an estimated 100,000 in attendance.[48][51] Her performance on a November 1994 episode of Sabado Gigante was ranked among the most memorable moments in the show's 53-year history.[52] Selena performed "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", "No Me Queda Más", "El Chico del Apartamento 512", and "Si Una Vez" on the Johnny Canales Show, which was later released as part of the host's "favorite songs" on DVD.[53] Selena's performance of "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" on July 31, 1994, at Six Flags AstroWorld was the subject of a video released by the Houston Chronicle for their segment "On This Forgotten Day".[54] Ramiro Burr, of Billboard, called the singer's tour for her album a "tour de force".[55] Selena was named "one of Latin music's most successful touring acts" for her Amor Prohibido tour.[56]


Tracks released from the album continued the singer's streak of US number one singles. The title track, "Amor Prohibido", was the album's lead single released on April 13, 1994.[57] It peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart the week ending June 11 – her first as a solo artist – and remained atop the chart for nine consecutive weeks becoming the most successful US Latin single of 1994.[58][59] "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" followed in July, reaching the top of the chart in its eleventh week on October 29. It remained at number one for four consecutive weeks.[60] "No Me Queda Más" was released in November peaking at number one for seven nonconsecutive weeks.[61] The single fared much better in 1995, remaining entrenched in the top ten on the Hot Latin Songs chart for twelve consecutive weeks,[62] earning it the title of Billboard's most successful US Latin single that year.[58] The album's final single "Fotos y Recuerdos", released in January 1995, peaked at number one following the shooting death of Selena on March 31, 1995.[63] At the time of her death, the song was at number four[64] and it remained atop the Hot Latin Songs chart for seven weeks.[65] It finished 1995 as the second most performed track in the US.[58]

Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News believes that the singles from Amor Prohibido elevated Selena to success on Latin radio whose listeners had not previously taken the singer seriously.[66] "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" was ranked number 54 on the Dallas Observer's list of the Best Texas Songs of All-time.[67] It was listed as an honorable mention on Billboard's top ten list of best Tejano songs of all-time, while "No Me Queda Más" ranked ninth.[68] Lisa Leal of KVTV said that "No Me Queda Más" and "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", continue to be popular with fans and are Spanish-language counterparts of the Beatles' 1965 single, "Yesterday", in fan popularity.[69] Author Kristine Burns believes that the two aforementioned singles aided the growth of Selena's fan base.[70] "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" was the most-played song from Amor Prohibido on Mexican radio,[29] while its titular single "Amor Prohibido" remains popular in Spanish-speaking countries.[71] Three tracks on Amor Prohibido ranked among Billboard's Greatest Hot Latin Songs of All-Time list in 2016, including "No Me Queda Más" at number 13, "Fotos y Recuerdos" at number 29, and "Amor Prohibido" at number 46.[72] The majority of the recordings found on Amor Prohibido have been named Selena's signature songs including the title track, [73] "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom",[31] "Fotos y Recuerdos",[74] and "Si Una Vez".[73]

Commercial performance

Amor Prohibido debuted at number three on the US Billboard Top Latin Albums chart the week ending April 9, 1994.[75] The following week it rose to number two and received "greatest gainer" honors that week.[75] It peaked at number one in its tenth week, becoming the second album to place first on the newly formed Top Latin Albums chart displacing Cuban singer Gloria Estefan's Mi Tierra from the top spot.[76] Sales were so vigorous it nearly entered the US Billboard 200. It became the first Tejano record to peak at number one on the Top Latin Albums chart.[77] The event marked Selena as the "hottest artist in the Latino market."[77] The following week, the album entered the Billboard 200 chart at number 183, becoming the first record by a non-crossover act to do so since Mexican singer Luis Miguel's album Aries (1993).[78] Amor Prohibido and Mi Tierra switched back and forth between the first and second positions on the Top Latin Albums chart for five consecutive weeks.[79] On July 16, the album debuted at number 18 on the US Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart and ranked number one in the South Central United States region.[80] By May 1995, Amor Prohibido had outsold other competing Tejano albums and lead the list of best-selling Tejano records of 1995.[81] Within 19 weeks of its release the album outsold her previous recordings.[82]

After 48 weeks at number one on the US Billboard Regional Mexican Albums chart, Amor Prohibido was displaced by Bronco's Rompiendo Barreras.[83] Before Selena was murdered in March 1995, the album remained in the top five on the Top Latin Albums chart for 53 consecutive weeks.[84] Album sales in the four weeks preceding her death were slightly above 2,000 units a week.[85] In the week immediately before her death, Amor Prohibido sold 1,700 units.[86] Media attention had helped increased sales of Amor Prohibido as well as her back catalogue.[84] It was the most requested album by people in music stores looking for her work in the hours immediately after her death.[87] The album reached number one for the fifth time on April 15, 1995, with sales of 12,040 units - a 580% increase over the previous week.[84] It subsequently re-entered the Billboard 200 chart at number 92 and at number one on the Regional Mexican Albums chart.[84] The album sold an additional 28,238 units (a 136% increase) and rose to number 36 on the Billboard 200 chart.[85] It peaked at number 29 during its fifth week on the Billboard 200.[88] Amor Prohibido remained at number one on the Top Latin Albums chart for 16 weeks following her death until the planned release of her crossover album Dreaming of You replaced it on August 5.[89] The album remained behind Dreaming of You for seven weeks.[90] After 98 weeks the album dropped from the top five on the Top Latin Albums chart,[91] though it remained within the top ten for 12 additional weeks,[92] a record it still holds.[93] It also holds the record for most weeks at number one on the Regional Mexican Albums chart at 96 weeks, and is the only album to reach number one in three different calendar years.[94]

It finished 1994 as the fourth best-selling US Latin album and the best-selling regional Mexican album.[60] In 1995, it ranked second to Dreaming of You for the best-selling Latin album, but was the best-selling regional Mexican recording.[95] Amor Prohibido remained the best-selling regional Mexican album in 1996, while the record became the ninth best-selling Latin album of that year.[96] It also ranked as the second best-selling catalog Latin album of 1997,[97] while in 1998 it placed third.[98] Billboard's revised catalog criteria made it ineligible for the Top Latin Albums chart on January 18, 1997. It was removed from the list and began charting on the newly formed Latin Catalog Albums chart positioned at number two.[99] Since 1997, the album has spent 13 nonconsecutive weeks at number one on the Top Latin Catalog Albums chart including three weeks in 2010.[100] By November 1994, the album had sold 200,000 units in the US. A report showed the singer was one of the top-selling acts in Mexico.[101] It became the second Tejano album to reach year-end sales of 500,000 copies. This had only been accomplished by La Mafia previously.[102] Despite this, Nielsen Soundscan reported that the recording actually sold 184,000 units by April 1995.[84] According to Behar, the sales figures Nielsen SoundScan provided did not include sales in small shops specializing in Latin music.[103][104] That May, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the album gold, for shipments of 500,000 units.[105] Within three weeks, it was certified platinum for increments of one million shipped units.[106] Amor Prohibido became the first Tejano record to receive a platinum certification.[86] By June 1995, it had sold 1.5 million units in the US.[107] As of February 2010, the album has been certified double diamond (Latin), denoting shipments of two million units.[108] It is tied at second, behind her album Dreaming of You, for best-selling Latin album of all-time in the US with 2.5 million copies sold worldwide.[109] Amor Prohibido ranks as the best-selling Tejano album of all-time.[86][110]

Critical reception


Professional ratings
Review scores
Entertainment WeeklyB[113]
The MonitorA[114]

The vast majority of contemporary reviews were positive and the album received widespread critical acclaim. Music critics found it to have been Selena's best work,[26][115] calling it her band's "crowning achievement."[116] Other critics, such as Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine and American musicologist James Perone, panned the album initially before coming to view Amor Prohibido positively. Erlewine wrote that Amor Prohibido was "slightly uneven" and noted how Selena was successful at "[putting] across the weaker material" and later writing that it is "her strongest album" which he called "a more consistent release [than Dreaming of You]." He added that it was an "effective introduction" which highlighted "why she was so beloved by Tejano fans."[41] Perone found the sound on Amor Prohibido to be dated though it provided "ample evidence" of the singer's success.[12]

In a September 1994 review in The New York Times, writer Peter Watrous called the album's music modern and found it in "no way alienated its country, working-class constituency."[117] Joe Nick Patoski, also from The New York Times, praised the album as being a "watershed" of a recording that is consistent with that of "a supergroup" and believed it hit "all the right bases."[6] He found it to have "rocked, sizzled, and simmered" and noticed Selena's vocals had "a sense of balance."[6] Finding her sound "distinctive", with production perfected by A.B., Daisann McLane of Rolling Stone magazine believed the "Selena sound" A.B. created would have made the singer dominant on the music charts had it not been for her death.[22] Author Ed Morales found the music on Amor Prohibido a "subtle evolution" but was disappointed, feeling that it was leading up to her best work which she did not to live to produce.[26]

Other reviews called the work the singer's: "blockbuster album",[118][119] her signature album,[120] a "career-defining" release,[121] her "most interesting" and "sleekest" record,[112][113] a "desert island album" for fans,[122] calling it a "notch up" in her career,[123] a "victory" recording,[124] and an "overnight sensation".[110] A Billboard review found the album's sound to be transparent for those unfamiliar with its musical diversity, saying: "you couldn't resist."[24] Ramiro Burr, of the San Antonio Express-News found Amor Prohibido to be the band's "creative peak" and noted its "pop potential."[116] This was echoed by author Matt Doeden, who found the recording exhibited Selena's potential to become the genre's first pop musician.[21]


At the time of its release, Amor Prohibido was regarded as "highly popular" in Hispanic communities.[12] It exemplified the "generational split" within the Tejano market at the time. Musicians found the era to be "more sophisticated" and noticed that it was unnecessary to explore their roots to have successful recordings.[6] With Amor Prohibido, Selena catapulted Tejano music to "an unprecedented level of mainstream success" and brought it to areas unfamiliar with the genre.[24][47][125] The album popularized Tejano music among a younger and wider audience than at any other time in the genre's history,[126][127] while its sales were "unprecedented".[6] Amor Prohibido was the first record many young Hispanic females bought "with lyrics in the language [their] blood is rooted in."[128]

After the album's release, Selena was considered "bigger than Tejano itself", and broke barriers in the Latin music market.[125] Critics felt the recording elevated Selena to being a leading female in the Latin music sector.[101] It established her as a leading performer among young singers who were crossing over into the mainstream market.[129] Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News, believed Selena "conquered the Latin pop landscape",[130] while Herón Márquez called it a "landmark success".[131] In a November 1994 Billboard issue, it was named, among other Latin recordings, as an example to show that American Latinos were able to sell albums in English-speaking markets across the US that had historically overlooked Latin music.[101]

The album appeared on Tom Moon's list of the 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die: A Listener's Life List (2008).[132] The Seattle Post-Intelligencer included Amor Prohibido on its list of the best produced albums of 1994,[133] while the Houston Press placed it on its list of the best Texas albums of the past 30 years.[134] BuzzFeed ranked Amor Prohibido number 22 on its list of the 35 Old-School Latino Albums You Probably Forgot About.[135] Billboard magazine ranked Amor Prohibido among the most essential Latin recordings of the past 50 years,[24] and included it on its list of the top 100 albums of all-time.[136]


Selena dominated the 1995 Tejano Music Awards, winning every category in which she was eligible.[137] Amor Prohibido won the Tejano Music Award for Album of the Year — Orchestra,[137] while the title track won Record of the Year and Single of the Year.[138] "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" was Song of the Year, while "Techno Cumbia" received the award for Best Crossover Song.[138] Amor Prohibido received a nomination for Best Mexican-American Album at the 37th Annual Grammy Awards.[137] At the Premio Lo Nuestro 1995, the album won Best Regional Mexican Album and its titular single won Regional Mexican Song of the Year.[102] At the second annual Billboard Latin Music Awards in 1995, it won Regional Mexican Album of the Year, Female and its namesake song won Regional Mexican Song of the Year while "No Me Queda Más" received the award for Music Video of the Year.[16]

Track listing

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Amor Prohibido.[2]

No. TitleWriter(s)Producer(s) Length
1. "Amor Prohibido"  
2. "No Me Queda Más"  Ricky Vela
  • A.B.
  • Silvetti
3. "Cobarde"  José Luis BorregoBorrego 2:50
4. "Fotos y Recuerdos"  A.B. 2:33
5. "El Chico Del Apartamento 512"  
  • A.B.
  • Vela
A.B. 3:28
6. "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom"  
  • Selena
  • Astudillo
  • A.B.
A.B. 3:25
7. "Techno Cumbia"  
  • A.B.
  • Astudillo
A.B. 3:43
8. "Tus Desprecios"  
  • A.B.
  • Vela
A.B. 3:24
9. "Si Una Vez"  
  • A.B.
  • Astudillo
A.B. 2:42
10. "Ya No"  
  • A.B.
  • Vela
A.B. 3:56
Total length:

Credits and personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Amor Prohibido.[2]

Vocal credits
  • Selena – vocals, background vocals, composer
  • Stephanie Lynn, Rick Alvarez, "Rock 'n' Roll" James – background vocals

Visuals and imagery
  • Lisette Lorenzo art direction
  • Maurice Rinaldi – photography


  • Johnny Saenz – accordion
  • Rafael Gasca – trumpet
  • Rene Gasca – trumpet
  • Gilbert Garza – trombone

Technical and production credits

  • A.B. – composer, producer, programming, mixing, arranger
  • Jorge A. Pino – executive producer
  • Brian "Red" Moore engineer, mixing
  • Nir Seroussi – editing
  • Guillermo J. Page – reissue producer
  • Bebu Silvetti – arranger, producer


Weekly charts

Chart (1994–95) Peak
US Billboard 200[139] 29
US Top Latin Albums[76] 1
US Regional Mexican Albums[84] 1

Quarterly charts

Chart (1997) Peak
US Regional Mexican Catalog Albums[140] 1

Year-end charts

Chart (1994) Position
US Top Latin Albums[60] 4
US Regional Mexican Albums[60] 1
Chart (1995) Position
US Billboard 200[95] 164
US Top Latin Albums[95] 2
US Regional Mexican Albums[95] 1
Chart (1996) Position
US Top Latin Albums[96] 6
US Regional Mexican Albums[96] 1
Chart (1997) Position
US Latin Catalog Albums[97] 2
Chart (1998) Position
US Latin Catalog Albums[98] 3

Certifications and sales

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Mexico 400,000[63]
United States (RIAA)[108] 2× Diamond (Latin) 2,500,000[109]

^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also


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  113. 1 2 Browne 1995.
  114. LaFollette 2016.
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  116. 1 2 Burr 1999, p. 189.
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  120. Bruns 2008, p. 465.
  121. Guerra 2005.
  122. Steib 2015, p. 46.
  123. Jackson 2014, p. 19.
  124. Robb 2000, p. 82.
  125. 1 2 Schone 1995.
  126. Miguel 2002, p. 110.
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  128. Parédez 2009, p. 101.
  129. Burns 2002, p. 465.
  130. Tarradell 2005.
  131. Márquez 2001, p. 88.
  132. Moon 2008, p. 990.
  133. McNerthney 2013.
  134. Torres 2012.
  135. Briceño 2014.
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External links

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