This past February, Epic Records released Gloria Estefan's Greatest Hits, Volume 2. Though they can be lucrative affairs, such compilations are often viewed in secondary terms by artists who cherish the original albums that contained their most popular songs. But that isn't the case with Estefan.
"As an artist, you dream about accumulating enough successful music to someday do just one greatest hits album, but to reach the point where you're releasing your second collection of hits is beyond belief," she says. "I'm so proud and so grateful to have reached this point."
Estefan has plenty of reason to be thankful. The possibility of having two 'greatest hits' albums was the furthest thing from her mind in 1990 when the Latin-pop singer was involved in a near fatal bus accident while traveling with her band in New York. She suffered several broken vertebrae and her career was put on hold for nearly a year.
Prior to the accident, Estefan registered a dozen Top 40 hits in the mere five years since she had started releasing albums, first with the Miami Sound Machine and then as a solo artist. Her 1991 comeback album, Into the Light, continued that hit-making trend and featured the number one single "Coming Out of the Dark."
Her first compilation album, Greatest Hits, followed in 1992. The material on Greatest Hits, Volume 2 collects her most popular English-language songs of the past eight years.
Since 1992, Estefan has released three Spanish-language albums, including last year's Alma Caribeña, which reached number one on the Billboard Latin album chart and picked up a Grammy for Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album this year.
She also recorded an album of covers in 1994 called Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me, which produced several popular singles, including the disco fave "Turn the Beat Around."
The lush, acoustic quality of Alma Caribeña even elicited unwanted comparisons to the acclaimed Buena Vista Social Club album, which featured older musicians playing traditional music from their native Cuba.
"A lot of journalists have been asking me about that," the Cuban-born Estefan told a writer last year. "This has nothing to do with [the Buena Vista Social Club]. For one thing, we've been working on this album for four years. These aren't old songs. These are all new songs. . . . [With this album] we wanted to be more experimental, more free, more modern, with different types of arrangements that didn't depend on one period of time. We have some really interesting fusions."
There's also a fresh quality to Greatest Hits, Volume 2 thanks to its inclusion of three new songs, including the Jon Secada-penned "I Got No Love." "Conga," Miami Sound Machine's first hit single in 1985, has also been transformed into a house track by Estefan's son Nayib. The remixed song has been re-dubbed "Y-Tu-Conga."
"There weren't all the various current types of dance music back when we first did 'Conga,' so there weren't any different versions of the song," Estefan notes. "So, the song was ripe for remixing. Nayib has always thought it should be done, so he decided to go into the studio and give it a try. I think he's done an amazing job of bringing 'Conga' up to date, while retaining the original essence of the song."