In a year where the music world has lost more than a handful of icons, Sunday afternoon brought with it the news of yet another heavyweight gone too soon.
Juan Gabriel, (JuanGa as fans affectionately called him) was one of the most influential Mexican singer-songwriters of our modern times. Impacting the global landscape of Latin music from Mexico to Spain to the U.S.Throughout several decades, JuanGa produced, arranged, and penned some of the biggest songs that spanned across such genres as pop, rock, love ballads and mariachi. He holds the record for Best-Selling album of all time in Mexico (8 million worldwide sales) and penned and composed upward of 2,000 songs during his career.
The news came only days after his last performance at the Forum in Los Angeles.
He was an eccentric, yet very loveable man, with a larger than life persona. His music will undoubtedly continue to inspire, console, and entertain far into the future.
Hasta siempre idolo de idolos (Farewell, icon of icons)
DJ Raul Campos learned about JuanGa’s death just as he began his show Sunday, and sprinkled tributes to the Mexican singing legend throughout his set. Raul also sat down with Press Play’s Madeleine Brand on Monday to talk about Gabriel’s influence on the music industry and on generations of listeners on both sides of the Mexican-American border.
Read more about Juan Gabriel on his LA Times obituary and a personal reflection from KCRW contributor José Galván below.
As we remember Juan Gabriel and the rest of the English speaking world sort of finds out about him, it’s impressive to see the amount of love and adoration online coming from musicians and people whom I wouldn’t of imagined being fans.
Personally, growing up, I think I spent a tremendous amount of time ignoring the music that my parents and family adored. JuanGa’s music was one of them.
Subconsciously, it definitely registered how important he was culturally. And his passing, I think is bringing out those subconscious feelings in all of us who grew up with his music as background in our homes, at family parties, and later at social gatherings; where your dirty little secret was that you knew all the lyrics to his songs.
JuanGa was a teacher of emotion. He demonstrated to a then, very rigid, Mexican society that he was going to be unapologetically flamboyant in sequin suits, express his feelings of love, emotional heartbreak, and joy… and that the masses were going to love him for it.
And so they did. And so we did. And now we mourn and pour back out all that emotion he gave us. Se vale llorar.
Juan Gabriel was Mexico at it’s best.
9/9/16 Editors Note: The below video of Juan duetting with KCRW favorite Natalia Lafourcade is making the rounds…enjoy!