“Alma de Acero” by José Alfredo Jiménez, English translation of lyrics

“Soul of Steel” Lyrics
Style: Ranchera
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube

Translation:

Podrás tener mucha suerte,
Podrás andar por el mundo
Destrozando corazones.

You can have lots of luck,
You can travel the world
Destroying hearts.

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“Te Solté La Rienda” by José Alfredo Jiménez, Maná, English translation

“I Let Go of Your Rein” Lyrics
Style: Corrido, ranchera, sometimes a mariachi. This popular Mexican song is an epic “you’ll miss me, but go” breakup song.
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube (José Alfredo Jiménez, Maná, Lupillo Rivera, Vicente Fernandez, and many more)

Translation:

Se me acabó la fuerza
De mi mano izquierda.
Voy a dejarte el mundo
Para ti solita.

I lost the strength
On my left hand.
I am going to leave you the world
For your very own.

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“Cuatro Caminos” by José Alfredo Jiménez, English translation of lyrics

“Four Paths”
Style: Ranchera, mariachi, forsaken love song. A song about picking your life path when you feel lost. The cuatro caminos refers to the four cardinal directions.
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube, Amazon

Translation:

Es imposible que yo te olvide.
Es imposible que yo me vaya.
Por donde quiera que voy te miro.
Ando con otra y por ti suspiro.

It is impossible for me to forget you.
It is impossible for me to leave.
Because wherever I go, I see you.
I am with another and I sigh for you.

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“La Media Vuelta” by José Alfredo Jiménez, English translation of lyrics

“About-Turn”
Style: Ranchera, heartbreak, wavering between denial and acceptance.
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube, Amazon

Translation:

Te vas porque yo quiero que te vayas.
A la hora que yo quiera te detengo.
Yo sé que mi cariño te hace falta
Porque quieras o no yo soy tu dueño.

You leave because I want you to leave.
At whatever time I want, I (can) stop you.
I know that you need my affection,
Because whether you want it or not, I am your boss.

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“Y Todo, ¿Para Qué?” by Intocable, Natalia Lafourcade, and Pedro Reyna Cisneros, English translation

“And All For What?” Lyrics
Style: Pop or ranchera versions, romance song
Songwriter: Pedro Reyna Cisneros
Country: Mexico
Listen @ YouTube to Intocable (ranchera) or Natalia Lafourcade (alt pop)

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“No Me Amenaces” by José Alfredo Jiménez, English translation of lyrics

“Do Not Threaten Me” Lyrics
Style: Ranchera, old heartbreak song. Poor José Alfredo is so heartbroken and the breakup is not even official yet.
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube, Amazon

Translation:

No me amenaces. No me amenaces.
Cuando estes decidida a buscar otra vida,
Pos agarra tu rumbo y vete.

Do not threaten me. Do not threaten me.
When you have decided to seek another life,
Well, take your path and go.

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“El Hijo del Pueblo” by José Alfredo Jiménez, English translation of lyrics

“The Town Son”
Composer: José Alfredo Jiménez
Style: Ranchera about poverty with dignity.
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube

Translation:

Es mi orgullo haber nacido
En el barrio más humilde,
Alejado del bullicio
(Y) de la falsa sociedad.

It is my pride to have been born
In the most humble neighborhood,
Away from the hustle and bustle
(And) from the false society.

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“Paloma Querida” by José Alfredo Jiménez, Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete; English translation of lyrics

“Beloved Dove” Lyrics
Style: Ranchera, love song. A popular old romantic song in Mexico.
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube, Amazon

Translation:

Por el día que llegaste a mi vida,
Paloma querida, me puse a brindar,
Y al sentirme un poquito tomado,
Pensando en tus labios, me dio por cantar.

For the day that you entered into my life,
Beloved dove, I began to toast,
And on feeling a little drunk,
Thinking of your lips, I was inspired to sing.

Me sentí superior a cualquiera,
Y un puño de estrellas, te quise bajar,
Pero al ver que ninguna alcanzaba, [*alt. Y al mirar]
Me dio tanta rabia que quise llorar.

I felt superior to anyone,
And a fistful of stars, I wanted to bring down for you,
But on seeing I could not reach a single one, [*alt. And on seeing]
It made me so furious that I wanted to cry.

Yo no sé lo que valga mi vida,
Pero yo te la quiero entregar, [*alt. vengo a]
Yo no sé si tu amor la reciba,
Pero yo te la vengo a dejar. [*alt. entregar]

I do not know what my life may be worth,
But I want to turn it over to you, [*alt. come to]
I do not know if your love will receive it,
But I come to leave it to you. [*alt. turn it over]

Me encontraste en un negro camino
Como un peregrino sin rumbo y sin fey
Y la luz de tus ojos divinos
Cambiaron mi suerte por dicha y placer.

You found me on a black path
Like a pilgrim aimless and faithless [*lit. Like a pilgrim without route and without faith]
And the light of your divine eyes
Changed my luck by good fortune and pleasure.

Desde entonces yo siento quererte
Con todas las fuerzas que el alma me da
Desde entonces, paloma querida,
Mi pecho he cambiado por un palomar.

Since then I feel I love you
With all the forces that my soul gives me
Since then, beloved dove,
I have exchanged my chest for a dovecote.

Yo no sé lo que valga mi vida,
Pero yo te la quiero entregar, [*alt. vengo a]
Yo no sé si tu amor la reciba,
Pero yo te la vengo a dejar. [*alt. entregar]

I do not know what my life may be worth,
But I want to turn it over to you, [*alt. come to]
I do not know if your love will receive it,
But I come to leave it to you. [*alt. turn it over]

Translation Notes:

Pensando en tus labios, me dio por cantar.

Thinking about your lips, I was inspired to sing.

darse por = to be inspired to, to be inclined to

Me dio tanta rabia que quise llorar

It made me so furious that I wanted to cry
It gave me such fury that I wanted to cry [*literal]

Con todas las fuerzas que el alma me da

With all the forces that my soul gives me
With all the forces that the soul gives me [*literally]

Spanish often uses “the” (el/la) where English would use “my” (mi).

Other Renditions:

Pedro Infante (Mexican singer and actor)


Jorge Negrete (Mexican singer and actor)


Plácido Domingo (Spanish opera singer)

“El Rey” (The King) by José Alfredo Jiménez, English translation of lyrics

“The King”
Composer: José Alfredo Jiménez
StyleRanchera very popular in Mexico. This is one of José Alfredo’s most famous songs.
Country: Mexico
Listen on YouTube: José Alfredo Jiménez (original), Vicente Fernandez, Alejandro Fernández, and now George Strait (possibly because of my translation? I don’t know, but if so, I am very honored!)

Translation:

Yo sé bien que estoy afuera
Pero el día que yo me muera
Sé que tendrás que llorar.
(Llorar y llorar, x2)

I am fully aware that I am out
But the day that I die
I know that you will have to cry.
(Cry and cry, x2)

Dirás que no me quisiste,
Pero vas a estar muy triste
Y así te vas a quedar.

You will say that you did not love me,
But you will be very sad
And that is how you will stay.

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“Tu Recuerdo y Yo” by José Alfredo Jiménez, English translation of lyrics

“Your Memory and Me”
Composer: José Alfredo Jiménez
Style: Ranchera, sad song about reminiscing at a bar about a lost love.
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube

Translation:

Estoy en el rincón de una cantina,
Oyendo una canción que yo pedí.
Me están sirviendo ahorita mi tequila,
Ya va mi pensamiento rumbo a ti.

I am in the corner of a bar,
Listening to a song I myself requested.
They are serving my tequila to me right now,
Already my thoughts are on their way to you.

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