Amor Prohibido (song)

title song of American Tejano singer Selena's fourth studio album

"Amor Prohibido"[p] (English: Forbidden Love) is a song by American singer Selena. The song was written by Selena, her brother A.B. Quintanilla III, and Pete Astudillo. It became the lead single from the album of the same name (1994). "Amor Prohibido" is about the relationship between a man and a woman. Their love is put to the test. These include problems over money, and their parents not supporting their relationship because they both come from different places. Some music reviewers believe the song is similar to the Romeo and Juliet story because of its theme of forbidden love.

"Amor Prohibido"
Single by Selena
from the album Amor Prohibido
B-side"Bidi Bidi Bom Bom"
ReleasedApril 13, 1994
LabelEMI Latin
Selena singles chronology
"Donde Quiera Que Estés"
"Amor Prohibido"
"Bidi Bidi Bom Bom"
Music video
"Amor Prohibido" at YouTube

"Amor Prohibido" became one of the most successful singles, along with "No Me Queda Más", of 1994 and 1995. It later became one of Selena's signature songs. The song won awards at the Tejano Music Awards and at the Premio Lo Nuestros in 1994 and for the next three years. "Amor Prohibido" reached number one on the U.S. Hot Latin Songs and number five on the Latin Regional Mexican Airplay charts on Billboard.

The song helped Selena attract larger and younger audiences to her concerts because of its different sounds. Selena chose to explore Latin dance-pop music with the song. She had usually recorded Tejano sounds. Non-Mexicans also started liking Tejano music because of the new sounds in Selena's music. The music video was filmed in Joshua Tree, California. It was released on all the Spanish-language television channels in the United States and Mexico on Valentine's Day. It was later certified gold by AMPROFON, while 500,000 copies were sold in the United States. Several recording artists worldwide, including non-Hispanics, have since made cover versions of "Amor Prohibido".

Background and inspiration


"Amor Prohibido" was written by Selena's brother, A.B. Quintanilla III.[1] A former Selena y Los Dinos backup singer, Pete Astudillo, also helped.[1][2] It was recorded at Q-Productions, a small studio label founded by Selena's father, Abraham Quintanilla, Jr. It was mixed by Brian "Red" Moore, a family friend.[2] "Amor Prohibido" was produced and engineered by Jorge Alberto Pino and Argentine composer and arranger Bebu Silvetti.[2] "Amor Prohibido" was prepared by Joe Ojeda, and Chris Pérez, Selena's husband.[2]

The song was written during Selena's Live! Tour in 1993.[3] It began when Selena began to hum a melody in the tour bus. Her brother and Astudillo began writing down her melody lines. They wanted to write the entire melody into a song.[3] "Amor Prohibido" was based on Selena's grandparents, Mexican immigrants, who were not allowed to be together. Their parents, Selena's great-grandparents, had forbidden them to love each other. This was because they were different from each other. When interviewed about the song, Selena said "Amor Prohibido" meant a lot to her and her family, and that it is one of her favorite songs. "Amor Prohibido" became the most successful single, along with "No Me Queda Mas", of 1994 and 1995.[4][5][6][7]

The song was officially finished after she had won a Grammy Award for "Best Mexican/American Album" for Selena Live! (1993). "Amor Prohibido" had a lot of airplay after it was released as a promotional single on April 13, 1994. It became one of Selena's signature songs, and a fan favorite.[3][8]

Selena promoted "Amor Prohibido" during her Amor Prohibido Tour.[9] Fans in Denver, Colorado were the first crowd to watch Selena perform "Amor Prohibido" at the start of the tour on January 28, 1994.[3]



"Amor Prohibido" is a Spanish-language Tejano pop song mixed with modern Latin pop and South American rhythms.[3] It is set in common time with a moderate beat tempo of 90 beats per minute.

"Amor Prohibido" describes a relationship between a man and a woman. The song's message tells listeners to stick with their partner, no matter what may happen, even if their parents forbid them to love each other.[3] Music critics have compared it to the story of Romeo and Juliet because it is also about forbidden love.[10]

Critical reception


"Amor Prohibido" helped Selena attract bigger crowds to her concerts.[11] Selena also began to attract younger audiences to her music. Selena explored other Latin genres, such as Latin dance-pop with "Amor Prohibido". This new type of sound was given positive feedback by music critics.[11] This helped other non-Mexicans to enjoy Tejano music.[11][12] The song had South American rhythms and sounds.[13] With this new type of sound, more Hispanics became fans of Selena.[12] Most of Selena's songs were written by her brother Quintanilla III.[11] Quintanilla III wrote most of her songs that broke free from "Tejano" and "Tex-Mex" (Texas-Mexico) music.[3][11][13] This led Selena to be named "The Queen of Tejano music", because she was the first and only Tejano artist to ever achieve fame in different styles of music.[3][11][14]

Selena was named the "Top Latin Artist of the '90s" and "Best selling Latin artist of the decade" by Billboard. This was because she had fourteen top-ten singles in the "Hot Latin Songs" chart, including seven number one hits.[15] Music Choice On Demand selected several Selena music videos, including "Amor Prohibido", as a tribute which was watched in over 42 million homes nationwide in 2010.[16] The Daily Vault called "Amor Prohibido" a "seamless track", which made them wonder about Selena's father, Quintanilla Jr, and called him an "over-influential" on Selena.[17] "Amor Prohibido" became one of the most successful singles, along with "No Me Queda Más", of 1994 and 1995.[4][5]

Music video


The music video was filmed in Joshua Tree, California by Tango Productions. It was directed by Cecilia Miniucchi, who directed most of Selena's music videos.[9] Philip Holahan filmed the video, and Clayton Halsey edited the video after it was filmed. Filming began on February 6, 1994. The music video was released on all major Spanish-language television channels in America on Valentine's Day.[9]

The music video begins with Selena running towards an open door in the desert. This symbolizes a new relationship. She then walks outwards from a wall, which shows videos of a couple who are in love. Selena begins singing the song while walking in the desert, with the wind blowing her hair around. She sings of how much she really wants to hear her boyfriend speak. The video then changes scenes to Selena at the open door dancing and singing along with the song. After Selena spins around once, she is seen looking out from a window, seeing herself and her boyfriend dancing. She tells him that their love should not be about money and that they should not worry about what their parents had told them. More love scenes are shown with Selena and her boyfriend laughing and enjoying each other's company. After telling him that their love should be based on how much they love each other, Selena looks at her reflection in a small puddle. While looking out from the window, Selena tells her boyfriend that she is poor and that her love is all she can give to him. The video ends with Selena and her boyfriend running away from the world and going into a new one together.

Track listing

U.S. Promo Single
  1. Amor Prohibido - 2:50
Mexico Promo Single
  1. Amor Prohibido - 2:50

Credits and personnel



Charts, Awards and Certifications


Certifications and sales

Country Provider Certifications
Mexico[25] AMPROFON Gold (30,000)
Mexico[25] AMPROFON Platinum (60,000 downloads)[A]
United States[26] RIAA No certification issued (500,000)[B]


Artist Album Year
Yolanda Duke[27] Familia RMM Recordando a Selena 1996
Shakira[28] 2002
Thalía[29] El Sexto Sentido 2005
Meiju Suvas (Finnish)[30] 2006
  • [p] ^ "Amor Prohibito" is pronounced /ah-Moor pro-ee-Bee-Toe/ with a silent "h".[31]
  • A ^ The certification is for digital downloads and not for the number of shipments or copies the single sold in that country.
  • B ^ "Amor Prohibido" sold 200,000 copies in late-1994[32] and in late-1995 the single had sold 400,000 copies in the United States.[33] As of 2005, "Amor Prohibido" has sold more than 500,000 copies.[26] According to Billboard, singles who have reached 500,000 copies are certified Gold, however, RIAA failed to provide a certification.[34]
  • C ^ Duet version with Selena and Mexican singer Samo.[35]


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  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 EMI Telvisia (1994) Selena – Amor Prohibido (Liner Notes) EMI Records
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 John Lannert and Edward James Olmos. "Selena Remembered". Corpus Christi. 127 minutes in. Q-Productions. N/A. Her Life... Her Music... Her Dream {{cite episode}}: Missing or empty |series= (help)
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Topping The Charts Year By Year". Billboard. Vol. 110, no. 48. Prometheus Global Media. 28 November 1998. p. LMQ3. Retrieved 3 March 2010.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Rivas, Jorge (31 March 2011). "Remembering Selena's Trailblazing Music". Colorlines. Archived from the original on 4 April 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  6. "Selena, a 13 años de su muerte". Vanguardia. 31 March 2008. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  7. Pérez Dávila, Angie (31 March 2005). "A 10 años de la muerte de Selena". Noticieros Televisa. Archived from the original on 11 October 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  8. Burr, Ramiro (7 June 1995). "Pura Vida honors Perez and Selena". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Dick Arlett and Dale Dreher (1997). "Selena: The Final Notes". 60 minutes in. Canada TV. {{cite episode}}: Missing or empty |series= (help)
  10. Morales, Ed (2003). The Latin beat : the rhythms and roots of Latin music from bossa nova to salsa and beyond (1st. ed.). Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306810182.[permanent dead link]
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Isbell Walker, Donna (26 March 2005). "Fusion of styles remains part of Selena's appeal". The Greenville News. Retrieved 17 October 2011.[permanent dead link] (subscription required)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Dale Dreher, Dick Arlett (14 November 1995). "Selena: Final Notes". Final Notes. Season 1. 60 minutes in.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Tarradell, Mario (25 May 1997). "Astudillo turns Tejano rhythm-side out". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  14. "Latin pop and rock groups performing at Dixon May Fair". Daily Democrat. 8 May 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  15. Mayfield, Geoff (25 December 1999). "Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade". Billboard. Vol. 111, no. 52. Prometheus Global Media. p. YE-16–18. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
  16. "This Week In Arts". Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
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  19. "Amor Prohibido > Latin Regional Mexican Airplay > Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  20. "Amor Prohibido awarded "Pop Ballad of the Year" and "Regional Mexican Song of The Year" by Lo Nuestro". Univision. Archived from the original on 5 August 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 "Tejano Music Awards Past Award Winners". Texas Talent Association. Archived from the original on 30 September 2000. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  22. "History: BMI and Latin Music". BMI. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  23. "Top Latin Stars to be Honored at 8th Annual BMI Latin Awards". BMI. 19 April 2001. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  24. Burr, Ramiro (18 May 1996). "Pete Astudillo Leads BMI Latin Music Awards". Billboard. Vol. 108, no. 20. p. 124. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Ruiz, Geraldo (1995). Selena: The Last Song. Warner Pub Service/El Diario Books. ISBN 978-1-887599-01-6. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
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  27. Burr, Ramiro (26 May 1996). "Shakira shaking up Latin charts". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  28. Presenters: Adal Ramones (19 February 2009). "Otro rollo". Otro rollo. Puebla, Mexico. Univision.
  29. Burr, Ramiro (24 July 2005). "Latin Notes; Thalia follows her inner voice". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  30. "Kielletty Rakkaus by Meiju Suvas". NME magazine. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  31. "How to pronounce Prohibido". Feb 2019. Retrieved 1 Feb 2019.
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  34. Grein, Paul (14 May 1989). "New Golden Rule: 500,000 Sales Mark for All Singles". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  35. "Amor Prohibido > Latin Pop Songs > Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 16 March 2012.

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