Twenty-five years ago today, Selena’s longtime dream of crossover success came true – albeit not the way anyone would have ever imagined – with the release of the posthumous album Dreaming of You. The release included English and Spanish tracks and beautifully displayed Selena’s diverse vocal talent, her impressive ability to shine in any genre she encountered, and perhaps, most importantly, introduced the Queen of Tejano to the world.
Not to mention, the album topped charts, broke records, and made history, which included selling 175,000 copies on its first day in the U.S., which was a record at the time for a female artist. Billboard reported that the album hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart on Aug. 5, 1995.
The album included four English-language tracks that Selena had already recorded before her untimely and shocking passing on March 31, 1995, including the title track, “I Could Fall in Love,” “I’m Getting Used to You,” and “Captive Heart.” An additional English duet, intended but not used for the film, “Don Juan DeMarco,” was included that paired Selena with David Byrne of Talking Heads fame on “God’s Child (Baila Conmigo.)”
An insightful article today from E! Online, “Still Dreaming of You: An Oral History of Selena Quintanilla’s Final Album 25 Years Later,” includes interviews including with Selena’s husband, Chris Perez, who gives fans a feeling, from someone closest to the superstar, of just how Selena was handling the monumental task of recording her first mainstream album along with major producers and songwriters and not with her family and band, as she was accustomed. Perez’s valuable comments help fans better understand the pressures Selena faced as well as her growing confidence as she dealt with new producers and songwriters. The other interviews include comments from the album’s producers, including major names Keith Thomas and Guy Roche, and prolific songwriter, Diane Warren. All have different stories of how they met Selena but the common thread is they all succumbed to her humility, charm, and good-natured attitude and became fast friends with the star. One funny story talks about how Selena was in the process of cooking a “Mexican feast” for the studio team and country star Wynonna Judd, who was recording in the nearby studio, mistakenly thought Selena was the chef. But Selena took it in stride and said she would be glad to cook for Wynonna.
In another interview, Byrne of Talking Heads recalls how impressed he was upon hearing how Selena transformed his song, “God’s Child (Baila Conmigo),” with her vocal that “lifted the song to another level.”
Billboard released an article on July 17, “Selena’s ‘Dreaming of You’ Turns 25: Looking Back at the Best Songs (Editor’s Picks),” that highlights the top six songs, as determined by editors. They selected: “I Could Fall in Love,” “Missing My Baby,” “Wherever You Are (Donde Quiera Que Estés),” “El Toro Relajo,” “Tú, Solo Tú,” and “Dreaming of You.”
Remembering Dreaming of You can indeed prove bittersweet because of the circumstances of the posthumous album release and the E! Online article includes the heartbreaking reactions from the studio team who had just met and then, just lost Selena. But to remember Dreaming of You is to also recall how it marked the start of a new wave of Latin music popularity and made Selena a household name in the United States and beyond. Her album’s success only hints at what could have been but leaves her longtime, Tejano fans proud of what she did accomplish and leaves us marveling at the generations she continues to inspire with her timeless legacy.
*On a personal note: I remember when I received my cassette of Dreaming of You as a gift from a friend’s mom when I was 16 and attending a high school journalism workshop at Incarnate Word in San Antonio. I remember the slow, soft, and sad-sounding title track and “I Could Fall in Love” and how at first, these songs were not among my favorites because of the emotions still raw from Selena’s passing. However, I loved and beamed at her soulful, confident delivery on “I’m Getting Used to You” and “Captive Heart,” and thought she commanded the Byrne duet, “God’s Child (Baila Conmigo),” with her fiery, passionate vocal performance. I was also delighted that fans who were just learning about Selena could get to hear her Spanish hits where she mastered an array of genres from cumbia to mariachi. “Dreaming of You” was an album that Selena fans could be so proud and I couldn’t wait for the world to hear her.
Dreaming of You track listing:
- “I Could Fall in Love”
- “Captive Heart”
- “I’m Getting Used to You”
- “God’s Child (Baila Conmigo)” (featuring David Byrne)
- “Dreaming of You”
- “Missing My Baby”
- “Amor Prohibido”
- “Wherever You Are (Donde Quiera Que Estés)” (featuring Barrio Boyzz)
- “Techno Cumbia”
- “El Toro Relajo”
- “Como la Flor”
- “Tú Sólo Tú”
- “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”
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