We are still reeling over the sudden, unexpected death of Mexican singer-songwriter Juan Gabriel.
A legend in Mexico and around the music world, JuanGa, as he was known, leaves behind SO many adoring fans and an unbelievable body of work that spans decades.
JuanGa was flamboyant and fun, and flew in the face of the machismo culture that swirled around him. He made for a visible ally and role model for the gay community, and WOW — could he write a love song!
It’s nearly impossible to sum up such a career, but we compiled some of the most impactful, fun, and significant moments of the singer’s long time in music (below):
No Tengo Dinero
JuanGa’s very first hit ever was No Tengo Dinero, an ironically fun song about his hard-scrabble roots in Juarez.
It not only introduced him to the larger Mexican public after his days as a night club singer, but it also allowed him to do something VERY fun with the remixed version later in his career (below):
Not only is that one of the more fun music videos of all time to come out of Mexican music, it’s a testament to JuanGa’s ability to appeal to EVERYONE, even, in this case, the machismo of the Kumbia Kings, who collaborated with him on that remix.
Ocho Times Platinum
Gabriel’s biggest album ever was Recuerdos, Vol. II, a 1984 release that sold over eight MILLION copies — which makes it the greatest-selling album in Mexican history to this day!!
Including songs like Recuerdos (below), it made Gabriel a bona fide super star:
But Gabriel was on the map even before that, because of his mixing of music genres and styles — something that, before he did it in force, hadn’t really been tried in Mexican music.
Here, in his 1983 release No Vale La Pena (below), Gabriel seamlessly combines elements of ranchera and norte├â┬▒o music in a way that was truly groundbreaking for the artists of his country:
So technical and precise, and yet, so unique and true to his sound!
Juan Gabriel The Movie Star
Gabriel could really do it all. In 1975, he starred in his first film, Nobleza Ranchera (below):
Spanning mediums from music to film, JuanGa was a star — and a trailblazer — from the very beginning of his time in entertainment!!
Ironically, one of the biggest highlights of the singer’s career was a song he wrote that was arguably made more famous by a different artist!
JuanGa wrote Amor Eterno as a eulogy to his own mother, who passed away just as he was starting to become famous.
And while he nailed it when he performed it, the version sung by the “Queen of Ranchera,” Spanish singer Rocio Durcal, is arguably the most memorable (below):
Have You Ever Seen The Rain?
And finally, his last hit, a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s Have You Ever Seen The Rain? (below):
More than anything, that song — released just a few months before his death — speaks to Gabriel’s incredible ability to cover across all genres, even when he had his own sound and persona so well defined.
True artists can cross over with the best of ’em!!
You were truly a legend, and you will be missed.
[Image via WENN.]