The iconic symbol of Mexican music is 81 – The Hollywood Reporter

Vicente Fernández, the pinnacle of Mexican ranchera music, whose powerful voice has shaped the lives of generations of fans across Latin America, died Sunday morning at a hospital in Guadalajara, family. family confirmed.

It was caused by complications after surgery to traumatize the cervical spine after a bad fall last August. Fernández has remained hospitalized since then, in a stable but serious condition. Over the past 24 hours, his condition has deteriorated, according to official posts from the medical team on his official Instagram account. He was 81 years old.

Instantly recognizable with his elegant charro outfit and hat, bold mustache, and bright smile, Fernández is only 5 feet 7 inches tall but has the stature and build of a giant. His concerts have become legendary, lasting for hours at a time depending on the whim of the audience. Always accompanied by his mariachi, Fernández is a great musical companion, making grown men cry with stories of his broken heart and making women throw themselves (or their undergarments) on him on stage, even as a septuagenarian.

Fernández’s death was not just a death. It was also the end of an era of extraordinary Mexican music and legendary performers and composers – Javier Solís, Pedro Infante, Antonio Aguilar, José Alfredo Jiménez, Jorge Negrete – of which Fernández was the youngest. .

On the chart, no other traditional Mexican accent is as successful or recognizable. A non-stop recording and touring artist, Fernández has had over 50 albums and peaked at #5 on BillboardsRanking of the Greatest Latin Artists of All Time by Billboardstop Latin Album chart, more than any other Mexican group in the region. He put 61 songs on BillboardsPopular Latin Songs Chart,
including 20 top 10.

In the touring arena, Fernández has been relentless in his efforts. As recently as 2014, he landed in 2nd place on BillboardsTotal weekly tour with $7.3 million in sales from 12 sold-out concerts at Mexico City’s Auditorio Nacional. His 2014 show runs, including US arenas, are said to be his farewell tour. Fernandez will play his final tour show of 2016 at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico.

Fernandez is also an actor who has starred in more than 30 films, emulating the career of his hero Pedro Infante.

However, aside from chart success, Fernández is Mexican music.

“Mi’ja, I’ve always said that,” he said Billboards in an interview at his legendary ranch in Guadalajara in 2012. “A singer can sing anything. But me, my life is Mexican music. For me, wearing the charro costume is a source of pride and a huge responsibility. The charro outfit goes hand in hand with the personality that Vicente Fernández has come up with. Without the charro costume, I don’t feel like I am.”

Fernández’s legacy has been cemented in the public consciousness of all of Latin America, where he is indelibly identified with the hit “El Rey,” written and recorded originally by José Alfredo Jiménez, but forever preserved in Fernández’s voice after he recorded it in 1991.

In addition to the recordings, there is also the family. Fernández is the father of Alejandro Fernández, another famous figure in Mexican music who is known for being the first Mexican music star to also make an equally successful career in pop music. Alejandro Fernández’s son, in turn, recently started his own singing career. In one of Fernández’s last public presentations, he sang with his son and grandson at the 2019 Latin Grammy Awards in one of the most breathtaking and moving performances in history. of the awards, with all three men wearing their traditional charro costumes and hats and performing classics like “Volver Volver.”

Although Fernández’s voice is an extraordinary instrument, and although he can sing pop with ease, he has never departed from traditional Mexican music. That’s the case, even when he’s recording with other artists, which he usually does.

“Everyone who comes to sing with me has to sing ranchero,” he said Billboards. “Roberto Carlos had to sing ranchero, Vicki Carr had to record ranchero. Celia Cruz enters the field with a mariachi. I accept recording with everyone, as long as with mariachi. “

Vicente “Chente” Fernández was born on February 17, 1940, on a farm in the town of Huentitán El Alto, Jalisco, Mexico. His father, Ramón Fernández, was a rancher and dreamed that his son would follow in his footsteps. But Fernández fell in love with music, and after getting his first guitar at the age of eight, he never looked back. He went to every Pedro Infante movie as a child and from the age of 6 or 7, he declared to his mother that he wanted to be like that when he grew up.

Ironically, Fernández ended up becoming the rancher his father wanted, buying a plot of land in Guadalajara in 1980 and gradually expanding it to 20,000 hectares, where he lived until he was hospitalized. Named Los Tres Potrillos (The Three Colts) after Fernández’s three sons (Vicente, Alejandro, and Gerardo), the ranch features cattle, stables, and many farm animals, including ponies. his favorite, bred and raised by him with such fierce protection that he built a room of glass so that he could see the ponies being born, no matter the time day or night.

Yet despite those luxuries, Los Tres Potrillos is a working farm with a rustic feel befitting Fernández’s background as the son of a rancher who rose from the ground up in the right place. literal meaning. Fernández’s family is not wealthy, and he has no connections in the industry. But his work ethic, which remained intact until his death, was widely known.

A relentless performer, Fernández honed his skills at bars and cantinas, until 1966, after the death of Javier Solís, when Discos CBS – a subsidiary of CBS Records in Mexico – signed first recording contract with him. Fernández, a loyal celebrity, remained with the label through the transition to becoming Sony Music. He recorded with them until the day he died. He also remained married to his wife, María del Refugio “Cuca” Abarca Villasenor (whom he called Cuquita), from 1963 until his death.

Despite his illustrious career, Fernández has, of course, had setbacks and tragedies. Most notably, his son, Vicente Fernandez Jr., was kidnapped for ransom in 1998 and his two fingers were amputated while in custody and sent back to his family.

Fernández is survived by his wife and four children: Vicente Jr., Alejandro, Gerardo and daughter Alejandra Fernandez.

This story first appeared on Billboard.com.

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