The 24 Best Argentine Tango Songs for Your Playlist

Updated on April 29, 2024

Are you a fan of tango or looking to learn how to dance it? Having a good playlist of tango songs is essential to get you in the mood to dance. In this article, we have compiled a list of the 24 best Argentine tango songs of all time that you can listen to and enjoy. These songs have been selected based on their popularity, attractiveness, and ability to inspire tango dancers.

1. "La Cumparsita" by Gerardo Matos Rodríguez, Orquesta Típica Argentina, Oscar Roma 

Opening the playlist is "La Cumparsita" by Gerardo Matos Rodriguez, one of the most recognizable tango tunes. Gerardo Matos Rodriguez wrote this instrumental composition in 1917, and it vividly embodies the bittersweet nature of tango. 

Haunting bandoneon melodies and driving rhythms effectively portray sorrowful longing. This song actively sets the scene for a vintage black-and-white movie and urges you to actively search for beauty in everyday occurrences. 

Numerous musicians have also extensively covered this song, and it has been actively included in various films and animated series. Because of its cultural significance and popularity, this song is a necessity for an Argentine Tango playlist.

2. "El Choclo" by Ángel Villoldo

Next is the early tango hit "El Choclo" composed by Angel Villoldo in 1903. The upbeat march-like rhythms actively evoke tango's roots in African candombe.

Villoldo specifically sang about corn cob as food in his lyrics. Its catchy melody will actively get stuck in your head as you sing and dance along. "El Choclo" actively pulsates with defiant joy and expresses the Argentine immigrant spirit. 

It should find a place on your Argentine Tango playlist because it actively stands as one of the most popular and iconic tango songs in Argentina and around the world.

3. "Adiós Muchachos" by Agustín Magaldi

Tugging at the heartstrings is "Adiós Muchachos," a nostalgic 1927 tango by Magaldi. The lyrics of the song narrate the story of a man who is actively saying goodbye to his friends and reminiscing about his life. 

Its melody embodies a classic tango with a slow and melancholic rhythm. The vibes of the song are nostalgic and emotional, reflecting the feeling of loss and longing that is often associated with tango music.

"Adiós Muchachos" should be on your Argentine Tango playlist because it is a classic tango that represents the essence of the genre. 

4. "Mi Buenos Aires Querido" by Carlos Gardel

Shifting to a more romantic mood is Carlos Gardel's signature tune "Mi Buenos Aires Querido." This 1934 ode talks about the love and nostalgia the protagonist feels for their beloved city, Buenos Aires. 

The melody of the song is melancholic, with a slow tempo that captures the essence of the tango. Gardel's smooth emotive vocals express sentimental longing for the city's sights and sounds. It is one of Carlos Gardel's most popular songs and reflects on the beauty of Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

The song describes and compares the city to the feelings of love and luck, as well as getting rid of the sorrow present in the city when Gardel returns. This song has a strong emotional impact on listeners, and its lyrics and melody make it a perfect addition to any Argentine Tango playlist.

5. "Por Una Cabeza" by Carlos Gardel

Next is the sultry tango standard "Por Una Cabeza" by Carlos Gardel, featured in the film Scent of a Woman. The 1935 tango showcases Gardel's vocal range over dramatic violin passages. The lyrics use horse racing as a metaphor for a passionate, addictive romance. 

Its melody is complex and has above-average scores in chord complexity, melodic complexity, chord progression novelty, and chord-bass melody. Also, it is easy to dance to because of its slow and clear rhythm, making it a suitable dance number. 

"Por Una Cabeza" should be on your Argentine Tango playlist because it is a classic tango song that embodies the passion, drama, and elegance of the Argentine Tango.

6. Pregonera by Alfredo De Angelis

Director Alfredo De Angelis' "Pregonera" adds a more assertive vintage touch. This lively 1974 tango depicts a flower girl whom the poet admires for her beauty and grace, referring to her as a "fair-haired ivory princess."

The lyrics' heavy melancholy and regret make it challenging to distinguish between a dream and reality. The tune, with its slow and steady rhythm that perfectly matches the tone of the lyrics, evokes a haunting atmosphere. 

Numerous well-known tango singers, such as Carlos Dante and Julio Martel, have performed this song, which has now attained classic status in the genre. Pregonera should be on your Argentine Tango playlist because it is a beautiful and timeless example of the genre.

7. "El Día Que Me Quieras" by Carlos Gardel 

"El Día Que Me Quieras" slows things down with dreamy romance. Carlos Gardel composed this tango with lyrics by Alfredo Le Pera. Gardel first recorded it in New York in 1934 and sang it himself in the 1935 film of the same name.

This song captures the essence of tango as it combines passionate lyrics, an emotive melody, and rhythmic patterns. It also features a slow and romantic tempo that is ideal for dancing the Argentine Tango.

Various artists, such as Luis Miguel, Julio Iglesias, Gloria Estefan, Roberto Carlos, Andrés Calamaro, and Shlomo Idov, who translated the song to Hebrew, have covered "El Día Que Me Quieras." It is widely regarded as one of the most popular songs of the 20th century and one of the best Latin songs of all time.

8. "Uno" by Carlos Gardel

Next is Carlos Gardel's "Uno," released in 1929. This relatively obscure early tango is a hidden gem worth discovering. It has a melancholic and romantic vibe, which is typical of tango music.

The song is often played at milongas (tango dance events) and is a favorite among tango dancers. Also, the slow and sensual rhythm of the song makes it perfect for dancing a close embrace tango.

Its lyrics are poetic and expressive, and convey the sadness and longing that are common themes in tango music. As one of the most iconic songs by Carlos Gardel, Uno is a must-listen for anyone interested in tango music and culture.

9. "Cambalache" by Enrique Santos Discépolo

Adding a cynical twist is Discépolo's classic tango "Cambalache" released in 1934. The song is explicitly critical of the corruption and chaos of the 20th century, particularly during the infamous decade in Argentina, which was characterized by election fraud and corruption.  

This tango was banned by successive dictatorial governments before censorship was relaxed under General Juan Peron. It has become an inextricable part of Argentine culture and is one of the most iconic tango lyrics of all time.

The lively orchestration contrasts ironically with the scathing lyrics. Its melody is also a classic tango, making it a must-have for any Argentine Tango playlist. Feel the frustration of a society in turmoil during tango's Golden Age.

10. "Al Compás del Corazón" by Miguel Caló, Raúl Berón

Miguel Caló and his orchestra recorded "Al Compás del Corazón" in 1942 with Raúl Berón on vocals, marking a transition to a more contemporary style. This mellow 1942 tango seamlessly blends Caló's smooth piano melodies with introspective philosophical lyrics.

This song exudes a romantic and melancholic vibe, characteristic of Argentine tango music. Its melody unfolds slowly and sensually, placing a strong emphasis on the bandoneón, a type of accordion commonly used in tango music.

Raúl Berón's vocals contribute to the song's overall mood with their smooth and emotional delivery. The lyrics contemplate living in step with one's heart and ponder the passage of time. Allow Caló's sublime instrumental and Berón's vocals to transport your mind on a contemplative late-night drive through the city.

11. "Tango Argentino" by "Carlos Gardel 

No tango playlist should omit "Tango Argentino," Carlos Gardel's signature composition from 1929. This song, a slow and melancholic masterpiece, embodies the very essence of Argentine tango. Gardel's soulful voice accompanies a beautiful melody that graces this composition.

The lyrics of the song vividly convey the sadness and longing frequently intertwined with tango music. Carlos Gardel's smooth voice enhances the song's beauty, rendering it an essential addition to any tango playlist.

12. "La Yumba" by Osvaldo Pugliese

Let's introduce the next song, "La Yumba," often hailed as a "powerful" and "passionate" tango, composed by the renowned tango orchestra conductor Osvaldo Pugliese in 1946. This upbeat composition showcases Pugliese's mastery, featuring a robust beat crafted by him alongside vivacious bandoneon melodies.

The inclusion of percussion instruments, such as drums and cymbals, amplifies the song's powerful rhythm. Pugliese's music, known for its strong and dramatic melodies, is certain to captivate its listeners.

La Yumba is an instrumental tango, which means it does not have any lyrics. The title itself is an onomatopoeic phrase, mimicking the sound of cymbals and drums. This classic mid-century piece will undoubtedly set your feet tapping to its pulsating rhythms.

13. "El Motivo" by Aníbal Troilo, Roberto Goyeneche 

Let's slow down for romance once more with Aníbal Troilo's  and Roberto Goyeneche's 1961 tango, "El Motivo." This tango has since earned its place as a classic within the Argentine Tango repertoire. Its poetic and expressive lyrics capture the essence of the tango's melancholic and nostalgic vibe.

The melody of "El Motivo" embraces a slow and mournful tempo, a hallmark of many tango songs. The song prominently features the bandoneón, a type of accordion commonly utilized in tango music, giving it a distinctive sound instantly recognizable as tango.

"El Motivo" stands as a beloved classic among tango enthusiasts worldwide. Its melancholic and nostalgic aura, coupled with its beautiful melody and expressive lyrics, makes it an essential addition to any tango playlist.

14. "La Cachila" by Osvaldo Pugliese

The orchestra led by Osvaldo Pugliese infuses "La Cachila" with a fresh and vibrant touch. This song serves as a prime example of the Golden Age of Tango, spanning from 1925 to 1955. It is a slow tango composition featuring a melancholic and nostalgic melody, placing significant emphasis on the bandoneon, a type of accordion commonly employed in tango music.

This song exerts a profound emotional impact and frequently graces tango dance performances, elevating their intensity. It holds the status of a classic within the genre and has sparked numerous artistic interpretations throughout the years. The song's enduring popularity firmly establishes it as a foundational piece of tango music even in the present day.

Include "La Cachila" on your Argentine Tango playlist because it epitomizes the Golden Age of Tango and enjoys a cherished status within the tango community.

15. "El Tango Es Una Historia" by Roberto Chanel

Switching to a contemporary live recording, we encounter "El Tango Es Una Historia," featuring the charismatic singer Roberto Chanel. This catchy song serves as a tribute to the history of tango and its evolution over time.

It vividly portrays the different styles of tango, spanning from the traditional guardia vieja to the modern tango of the present day. The lyrics also reverently acknowledge the great tango musicians and composers who have significantly contributed to the genre's development over the years.

Roberto Chanel delivers a commanding performance that serves as a masterclass in storytelling through song. The melody, easy to follow and possessing a memorable quality, solidifies its status as a classic tango song. Its historical significance and its tribute to the great tango musicians and composers make it a valuable addition to any collection of tango music.

16. "Otario Que Andás Penando" by Julio Sosa 

This is a classic tango song by Julio Sosa, a renowned tango singer from Uruguay. The song was released in 1931 and has since become a popular tango standard. It is a classic example of the romantic tango style that was popular in the 20th century.

It has a melancholic and romantic vibe, typical of classic tango songs. The song's lyrics tell the story of a man who is heartbroken and betrayed, adding to the song's melancholic vibe.

The song's melody is characterized by its use of minor chords and its slow tempo. The bandoneón plays a prominent role in the song's melody, adding to its emotional intensity. Julio Sosa's catalog is mandatory listening for any tango fan.

17. "Que Me Van a Hablar de Amor" by Julio Sosa

Julio Sosa's "Que Me Van a Hablar de Amor" captures the bittersweet essence of tango. He released this late-career ballad in 1946, featuring Sosa's world-weary voice accompanied by melancholy guitar.

The melody of the song boasts a slow and melancholic pace, placing a strong emphasis on the bandoneón, a traditional tango instrument. Its lyrics delve into reflections on the nature of love and the pain it entails. The song conveys the inevitability of heartbreak and the futility of attempting to avoid it.

This song stands as a testament to the enduring popularity of tango music and its capacity to encapsulate the complexities of the human experience. Allow Sosa's poignant performance to serve as a reminder of the intricate nature of love.

18.  "Caminito" by Carlos Gardel

Juan de Dios Filiberto composed the classic tango song "Caminito" in 1926, with lyrics by Gabino Coria Peñaloza. However, Carlos Gardel popularized it further by recording it in 1927.

"Caminito" is a nostalgic song that skillfully conjures the feeling of longing for a lost love. It features a slow and melancholic melody, characteristic of tango music. The song is performed in a minor key, intensifying its melancholic aura.

Many artists have covered this song throughout the years, cementing its status as a beloved classic among tango enthusiasts worldwide.

19. "Tiempos Viejos" by Francisco Canaro

The English translation of the song's title is "Old Times." The melody of the song maintains a languid and melancholic pace that aligns with the characteristics of tango music.

The lyrics scrutinize the passage of time, the fading of youth, and the loss of innocence. This music lends itself perfectly to a slow and melancholic dance due to its somber tune and eloquent lyrics.

Numerous musicians have recorded this song over the years, and it remains a favorite among tango dancers and enthusiasts. It serves as an outstanding example of tango music's rich history and cultural significance, making it a must-add to your playlist.

20. "Se Lustra Señor" by Alberto Castillo

This song gives off an ironic and nostalgic mood, driven by a strong rhythm that invites you to dance. It is a classic representation of the traditional Argentine tango sound, with a mix of accordion, guitar and bandoneon.

The melody of "Se Lustra Señor" is catchy and haunting, with an emphasis on rhythm. In addition, it combines instrumental and vocal segments, with a chorus that invites you to sing along easily. If you are passionate about traditional Argentine tango, this song definitely deserves to be on your playlist.

21. "La canción más triste" by Alberto Marino

Listen to Alberto Marino's "La canción más triste" for pure emotional impact. The depressing lyrics of loneliness and misery are set to dramatic violin flourishes in this 1947 lament. 

The song's mood is made more depressing by Marino's deep, expressive voice and the song's slow, sorrowful tune. The song is renowned for its capacity to elicit powerful emotions in listeners and is frequently referred to as one of the saddest tango tunes ever recorded.

Deep sadness is captured in Marino's emotive voice, which transcends linguistic boundaries. The song "La canción más triste" should be on your playlist if you enjoy tango music. 

22. "Porque La Quise Tanto" by Mariano Mores, Miguel Montero

This traditional tango tune boasts lyrics penned by Enrique Santos Discépolo and music composed by Mariano Mores. Originally, Hugo Del Carril was slated to perform the song, but it was Miguel Montero who ultimately popularized it.

"Por qué la quise tanto" places a significant emphasis on the bandoneón, a quintessential tango instrument, and delivers a slow, melancholic tango composition. The song's melody stands out for its profound emotional depth, effectively encapsulating the essence of the tango style. 

Its lyrics eloquently portray the complexities and cherished aspects of love, underscoring the genre's prowess in expressing intricate emotions through its music and lyrics. It serves as a perfect example of tango's capabilities. 

23. "La señora del Chalet" by Edmundo Rivero

Edmundo Rivero's song "La señora del Chalet" introduces a cinematic touch. This tango melody delves into the theme of love and embodies the melancholic, nostalgic ambiance characteristic of many tango compositions.

The song draws its foundation from the typical tango rhythm, characterized by a robust beat and a syncopated melody. The minor key in which the song is performed contributes to its melancholic ambiance. Typically, tango music is accompanied by instruments like the bandoneon, guitar, and keyboard.

Rivero, a consummate storyteller through his songs, employs his soft vocals to convey narrative twists and dramatic elements. Immerse yourself in this tango musical narrative.

24. "Antiguo Reloj de Cobre" by Miguel Montero

We conclude our tango journey with Miguel Montero's poetic 1972 reflection titled "Antiguo Reloj de Cobre." This song rapidly gained popularity and many other tango musicians have since covered it. Montero's rendition of the song is renowned for its haunting melody and melancholic lyrics.

The song's melody, although simple, proves highly effective. It relies on a repeating four-bar phrase that resonates throughout the composition. Montero's interpretation of the song includes a beautiful violin solo that enhances the emotional impact.

The lyrics of "Antiguo Reloj de Cobre" narrate the tale of an old copper clock that has ceased to function. This clock serves as a metaphor for lost love and the inexorable passage of time. The lyrics are both poetic and melancholic, encapsulating the essence of tango's theme: love, loss, and nostalgia. Allow the serene sentiments to envelop you as you contemplate the meaning of your own life.

This diverse 24 song collection allows you to immerse yourself in the full drama and passion of tango. Revisit beloved classics as well as discover new favorites, all demonstrating why tango's emotional pull transcends time and language. Whether you listen while cooking dinner, reading, or dancing with a partner, these songs will transport you to a black and white film dream of vintage Buenos Aires. Feel the nostalgia, romance, and saudade as tango's poetry and melodies bring Technicolor to your soul.

What are your favorite tango dancing songs that are not on this list? We would love to know what your favorite tango songs and lyrics are. Add them in the comments section and we will help you create your own personalized tango playlist.