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José José

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Subject: List of number-one Billboard Latin Pop Albums from the 1980s, Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album, Lo Pasado, Pasado, List of number-one Billboard Top Latin Songs from the 1980s, Billboard Top Latin Songs Year-End Chart
Collection: 1948 Births, Bossa Nova Musicians, Bossa Nova Singers, Hispanic and Latino American Male Actors, Jazz Double-Bassists, Jazz Musicians, Jazz Singers, Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Winners, Latin Pop Singers, Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Honorees, Living People, Male Actors from Mexico City, Mexican Expatriates in the United States, Mexican Jazz Musicians, Mexican Male Film Actors, Mexican Male Singers, Mexican Musicians, Mexican People of Spanish Descent, Mexican Pop Singers, Musicians from Mexico City, Singers from Mexico City, Spanish-Language Singers
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José José

José José
José on stage in 2000
Background information
Birth name José Rómulo Sosa Ortiz
Also known as El Príncipe de la Canción
(The Prince of Song)
Pepe Sosa
Born (1948-02-17) February 17, 1948
Mexico City México
Genres romantic ballad, bolero, Latin pop, bossa nova, jazz
Occupation(s) Singer, musician, songwriter, record producer, actor
Instruments Vocals, bass, double bass, guitar, piano
Years active 1963–present
Labels RCA Victor
Ariola Records
Sony BMG
Associated acts Armando Manzanero, Camilo Sesto, Cristian Castro, José Feliciano, Juan Gabriel, Lani Hall, Manuel Alejandro, Marco Antonio Muñiz, Paul Anka, Raúl di Blasio, Reyli, Yanni

José Rómulo Sosa Ortiz (born February 17, 1948), known by his stage name José José, is a Mexican singer, musician and occasional actor.[1] Born and raised in Mexico City into a family of musicians, José began his musical career in his early teens playing guitar and singing in serenades. He later joined a jazz and bossa nova trio where he sang and played bass and double bass. José found success as a solo artist in the early 1970s. Demonstrating his vocal ability with a stunning performance of the song "El Triste" in a Latin music festival held in Mexico City in 1970, he climbed the Latin charts during the decade. Having achieved recognition as a balladeer, his singing garnered universal critical acclaim from musical peers and media.

In the 1980s, after signing with Gavilán o Paloma and Perdóname Todo.

Also known in the entertainment world as "El Príncipe de la Canción" (The Prince of Song), his performance and vocal style have influenced many Latin pop artists in a career that has spanned more than four decades.[3][4][5] Due to his vocals and popularity, José José is considered by the audience and the media as an icon of Latin pop music and one of the most emblematic Mexican singers ever.[6][7][8]


  • Early life 1
  • Early career 2
  • The 1970s: "El Triste", consolidation as star, Ariola Records 3
  • 1980s: International stardom, Secretos, Mexico's top singer 4
  • The 1990s: "Amnesia", 40 y 20, rehab, decline 5
  • 2000s: Loss of voice, movies and TV, Sony BMG concept albums 6
  • Personal life 7
    • Relationships, marriages and family 7.1
    • Alcoholism 7.2
    • Health issues 7.3
    • Financial problems 7.4
  • Artistry and image 8
    • Vocals 8.1
  • Legacy 9
    • Tributes 9.1
  • Filmography 10
  • Discography 11
    • Gold and Platinum albums 11.1
    • Compilations & boxed sets 11.2
  • Films 12
  • Duets 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15

Early life

José Rómulo Sosa Ortiz was born on February 17, 1948 in Azcapotzalco, Mexico City. He was raised into a Roman Catholic family of gifted musicians. His father, José Sosa Esquivel, was an operatic tenor (tenor comprimario) and his mother, Margarita Ortiz, was a classical pianist. They never achieved relative large success, and when José began to show interest in singing, they tried to discourage him claiming that it was too difficult to achieve success in show business. In 1963, when he was fifteen years old his mother gave him his first piano. The same year, his reportedly alcoholic father abandoned the family forcing José to work to help his mother and younger brother.

Early career

In his early teens, José began his attempts to become a singer. He started his career with serenades. Later, José co-founded a bossa nova and jazz trio called "Los PEG", where he sang and played bass and double bass. The band played at the major jazz venues of Mexico City, where musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, Erroll Garner, Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto used to play.[9]

Searching for a solo career, in 1967 he signed a small contract of two singles under the name of "Pepe Sosa". As Pepe Sosa he released the songs "El mundo" (Jimmy Fontana's "Il Mondo") and "Ma Vie" without success. José returned to serenades and to play with "Los PEG" in night clubs. He left "Los PEG", took the artistic name "José José" (in honor of his father, who had recently died of alcoholism; he joined his first name "José" and the first name of his father "José", from whom he says, had inherited the voice), signed a contract with RCA Victor and recorded his first album: José José (also known as Cuidado). The album featured songs by Rubén Fuentes and Armando Manzanero and had the participation of arranger Mario Patrón, who was considered the best jazz musician of Mexico and Brazilian percussionist Mayuto Correa, who was in Mexico City playing with bossa nova stars João Gilberto, Carlos Lira, Leny Andrade and Tamba Trio. The sound of the album is a combination of boleros and romantic ballads with an influence of jazz and bossa nova. Because of the quality his debut album was praised by the critics but did not achieve much popularity.[10]

By the late 1960s his fame began to rise as he was featured on several TV shows performing his songs live. With songs such as "Una mañana" and "Cuidado", José started to get attention from the audience and the media.

The 1970s: "El Triste", consolidation as star, Ariola Records

He released the song "La nave del olvido" that became his first big hit in Mexico and Latin America,[10] and recorded his second album: La Nave Del Olvido. José's big break came on March 25, 1970, when he represented Mexico in an international song festival, the "II Festival de la Canción Latina" (Latin Song Festival II, predecessor of the OTI Festival) with an amazing performance of the song "El Triste". The performance of the song was so impressive that caused tears, standing ovations and cheers from Angélica María, Alberto Vázquez, Marco Antonio Muñiz, the judges and the spectators in the Teatro Ferrocarrilero in Mexico City. The fact that José José got the third place shocked the audience.[11] After the hit of "El Triste", his popular romantic ballad style mixed with a unique voice made him the star of stars in Mexico. He began his first international tour through Los Angeles, Miami, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil and Argentina. He played leading roles in such small films as Sueño de amor and La carrera del millón. José performed seasons at the Hollywood Palladium and the Hollywood Bowl.

During the early 1970s, José José became one of the best known romantic ballad singers in Latin America. He was featured constantly on the most popular Mexican television shows, where he used to sing live with icons of the Hispanic music such as Pedro Vargas and Carlos Lico. In 1974, he performed a season in the Casino Royale & Hotel of Las Vegas. The same year he was invited by Frank Sinatra to record a duet and an album under Reprise Records. It was not possible because of the exclusivity agreement that José had with RCA Victor.

He made a large number of international hits and toured Latin America several times during the early to mid-1970s. His main hits were: "Del altar a la tumba", "Buscando una sonrisa", "De pueblo en pueblo", "Soy como quieras tú" (Mina's "Sono, come tu mi vuoi"), "Cuando tu me quieras", "Hasta que vuelvas", "Candilejas" (Charles Chaplin's "Terry's Theme"), "Paloma 'Cada mañana que te vas'", "Sentimientos", "Vive", "Dejame conocerte" (Paul Anka's "Let Me Get To Know You"), "Divina Ilusión" and "Sabrás que te quiero". "El Príncipe" (The Prince) is the song that earned him the nickname "El Príncipe de la canción" (The Prince of the song).

In 1977, José signed a contract with Ariola Records (Today part of Sony BMG). He recorded the album Reencuentro in London under the new record label. Reencuentro released the hits " El amar y el querer" and "Gavilán o paloma" that got him to the top of the lists of popularity. During 1978 and 1979, he achieved enormous success with the albums Volcán, Lo Pasado, Pasado and Si Me Dejas Ahora. His main hits were "O tú o yo", "Farolero", "Volcán", "Lo que un dia fué no será", "Lo pasado, pasado", "Si me dejas ahora", "Te quiero tal como eres" (written by Billy Joel) and the hit ballad "Almohada".

1980s: International stardom, Secretos, Mexico's top singer

In 1980, José released the album Amor Amor, recorded in Los Angeles, California. Amor Amor released the singles "Insaciable amante", "No me digas que te vas", "Amor Amor" and the classic bolero "No me platiques mas". He later recorded the album Romántico; in this album, he recorded with success the classic boleros with a touch of romantic ballad, bringing back the bolero to mainstream. In 1991, Luis Miguel retook the concept with great success in his album Romance. In 1981, the production Gracias was released. The songs "Me basta" and "Preso" were the main hits of the album. José released the highly successful record Mi Vida in 1982. The album featured the hits: "Desesperado" and "Mi vida" (an autobiographic song written by his future partner Rafael Pérez-Botija). José co-produced his albums and wrote songs like "Si alguna vez" and "Amor para los dos". He did a duet with Lani Hall on the hit "Te quiero así". José's performance was sold-out for seven days in a row at the National Auditorium and a month in the popular night club "El Patio". He recorded the Spanish version of the hit "New York, New York", as a gift to Frank Sinatra, who several years before had invited him to do a duet, but due to differences with the record labels, it could not be performed.[12]

In 1983, José released what proved to be by far the biggest album of his career: Secretos. The album was recorded in Spain and was written and produced by Manuel Alejandro. It was his first album that released a video for each song. Its main hits were "Lo dudo", "El amor acaba", "Lagrimas", "He renunciado a ti", and "A esa". Secretos was nominated for Best Latin Pop Performance in the Grammy Awards of 1985. It has sold over 7 million units until today. Following the hit of Secretos, José continued with international success. He released the album Reflexiones in 1984. The production was written, produced and arranged by Rafael Pérez-Botija.[13] The songs "Payaso", "Seré", "Tu ganas", "De hombre a hombre" and "¿Y qué?" were the main hits. Reflexiones sold over 2 million copies worldwide,[14] became his first number-one set on the Billboard Latin Pop Albums and was nominated for Best Latin Pop Performance in the 1986 Grammy Awards. Later, José José joined José Feliciano to release a duet that became a major hit for both singers: "Por ella". Their song was also nominated for Best Latin Pop Performance in the Grammy Awards of 1986.

In 1985, José José joined performers such as

External links

  1. ^ a b c d
  2. ^ a b "José José". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  3. ^ "Columnistas - personajes". La Quinta Columna. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  4. ^ "JOSÉ JOSÉ ~ Sony Music México". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  5. ^ a b [7]
  6. ^ "José José "Esta es mi Vida" LANZAMIENTO". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  7. ^ El Siglo de Torreón (2003-07-26). "José José reflexiona sobre la muerte de Celia Cruz / Espectáculos". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  8. ^ [8]
  9. ^ "ORONOTICIAS José José en Platica poblano mientras yo te ganó 1/2". YouTube. 2009-01-26. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g SeleccionesInterview with
  11. ^ Video on YouTube
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Reflexiones - Credits". Allmusic. Macromedia Corporation. 1985-06-29. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b c "Album Review: Promesas". Allmusic. Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  18. ^ [9]
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Soy Así - José José". Billboard. Nielsen Business, Inc. 1987-11-28. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  21. ^ "Mi Hembra - José José". Billboard. Nielsen Business, Inc. 1988-03-19. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  22. ^ "Salúdamela Mucho - José José". Billboard. Nielsen Business, Inc. 1988-04-09. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  23. ^ "Vergüenza Me Da Quererte - José José". Billboard. Nielsen Business, Inc. 1988-06-25. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Valle, Victor (1988-09-12). "Jose Jose Is Affable but Passe in Greek Show". 
  26. ^ Lopetegui, Enrique (1994-10-11). "Pop Music Review : Jose Jose Gets a Hero's Welcome". Los Angeles Times. 
  27. ^ Perdóname TodoProfile of the film
  28. ^ Lopetegui, Enrique (1995-12-27). "Balladeer Revives His Career--and Health : Pop music: Alcohol nearly ruined Jose Jose's life, but after rehabilitation and three albums, he's back as one of Mexico's premier romantic singers". Los Angeles Times. 
  29. ^ "At the Casinos". The New York Times. 1997-06-15. 
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ Por El Universal (2008-11-15). "Pianista internacional Yanni apoya a José José [Música] - 15/11/2008 | Periódico Zócalo". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  34. ^ "Esta es mi vida libro de José José". 2008-10-28. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  35. ^
  36. ^ "La fragancia de José José". Celestrellas. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  37. ^ [10]
  38. ^ marzo 2, 2011 (1999-02-22). José José y sus Amigos" en la Angelópolis""". Puebla en Vivo. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  39. ^ a b Holguín, Martín (2006-03-01). "Todo Quedó en el Ayer: José José". Selecciones (in Spanish). Reader's Digest México. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  40. ^
  41. ^ Por Carole Joseph (27 July 2007). "José José se recupera de parálisis facial". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  42. ^ "El cantante presenta libro en la FIL, José José, sin filtros :: El Informador". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  43. ^ "¿Por qué José José cayó en el alcoholismo?". Diario Las Americas. 2010-08-02. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  44. ^ "EspectĂĄculos". El Universal. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  45. ^ "Confesiones de un príncipe - Univision TV". 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  46. ^ "Confesiones de un príncipe - Univision TV". 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  47. ^ "José José operado por médico nicaragüense". 2012-10-09. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  48. ^ José's battle with alcoholism
  49. ^ 18 de noviembre, 2008 - 12:00 PM EDT. "La esposa de José José sufre derrame cerebral". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  50. ^ "Busca José José salir a flote de deudas - Famosos - Gente E". Terra. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  51. ^ tuvo-que-rematar-la-lujosa-mansion-que-tenia-en-miami.php
  52. ^ """José José: "Soy millonario en amigos. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  53. ^ [11]
  54. ^ a b c "La Quinta Columna - Columnistas - personajes". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  55. ^ Excerpt from
  56. ^ "Batanga - Latin Music Internet Radio". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  57. ^ "Cristian Castro Kodak Theater - Cristian Castro Kodak Theater Hollywood Tickets". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  58. ^ El Siglo de Torreón (2004-05-19). "Vicente Fernández abre su corazón / Espectáculos". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  59. ^ "Alejandro Fernandez - Frases, dichos, pensamientos, hechos, galeria de fotos, discos, letras de canciones". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  60. ^ "EspectĂĄculos - Mijares honra al `PrĂncipe`". El Universal. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  61. ^ Marc Anthony (2009-09-14). "Exclusive: Marc Anthony 'Iconos' Album Premiere". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  62. ^ Lannert, John (May 3, 1997). "Balladeer José José Enters Billboard's Latin Music Hall of Fame". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 109 (18): 26. Retrieved April 11, 2014. 
  63. ^ "Lo Nuestro 2002 - Historia de Premio lo Nuestro - Univision - Página 2". Univision. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  64. ^ Eduardo André Arenas (2005-11-01). "Latin GRAMMY® Awards!: José José". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  65. ^ Billboard - Google Libros. 2003-11-29. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  66. ^ "Ultimas Noticias de Música Latina e Internacional - Univision Música". 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  67. ^ "LatinGrammy celebra Jose Jose - Univision 23". 2008-09-15. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  68. ^ "Homenajean a José José con una estatua en el barrio donde se crió". Terra. 2007-05-19. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  69. ^ "Picture 35 of 68 - Jose Jose - Jose Jose Honored by the Las Vegas Walk of Stars With a Celebrity Star and Booksigning at the Rio in Las Vegas on November 20, 2008". 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  70. ^ "Baladista mexicano José José recibe estrella en Hollywood". Terra. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  71. ^ "Mexican singer Jose Jose gets star on walk". USA Today. 2004-02-11. 
  72. ^ [12]
  73. ^ Jeffries, David (2011-11-01). "La Historia Continúa: Viva El Príncipe, Vol. 2 - Cristian Castro : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  74. ^ Aguila, Justino (2011-11-21). "Backbeat: Cristian Castro Celebrates Jose Jose Tribute Album, 'Mi Amigo el Principe,' at Las Vegas Release Party". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  75. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "Amar y Querer: Homenaje a Las Grandes Canciones - Kalimba : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 



  • Buscando Una Sonrisa (1971)
  • Sueño De Amor (1972)
  • La Carrera Del Millon (1973)
  • Gavilán o Paloma (1985)
  • Sabor A Mi (1988)
  • Perdóname Todo (1995)
  • Sueño (2005)
  • Double Tap (2006)
  • Melate El Corazon (2009)


  • 2010 José José Ranchero
  • 2009 José José Para Ti
  • 2009 José José y Sus Amigos con Amor
  • 2009 Secretos Intimos Del Amor
  • 2009 Lo Essential De José José (Televisa 3CD/DVD)
  • 2008 Brillantes- José José
  • 2008 Tres Voces (Yusmani Garcia)(Al-gill Pedro)
  • 2008 El Principe y El Bolero
  • 2007 Mis Duetos [5 Track DVD]
  • 2007 Mis Duetos [Norte CD/DVD]
  • 2007 Mis Duetos [Televisa CD/DVD]
  • 2007 Mis Duetos [DVD]
  • 2007 Serie Herencia Vol. 2
  • 2007 Serie Herencia Vol. 1
  • 2007 Mi Historia, Vol. 2
  • 2007 Mi Historia, Vol. 1
  • 2005 Las Número 1: José José (Televisa CD/DVD)
  • 2005 Lo Mejor en Trios
  • 2005 20 Éxitos Originales
  • 2005 José José y 8 Grandes Idolos de la Balada Romántica: 100 Años de Musica
  • 2005 Lo Essential José José
  • 2005 20 Inolvidables
  • 2004 The Best of José José
  • 2004 José José
  • 2003 Los Grandes De La Balada
  • 2003 Definiendo Jose
  • 2003 40 Aniversario, Vol. 4
  • 2003 40 Aniversario, Vol. 3
  • 2003 40 Aniversario, Vol. 2
  • 2003 40 Aniversario, Vol. 1
  • 2003 El Principe Con Trio, Vol. 2
  • 2003 El Principe Con Trio, Vol. 1
  • 2002 Coleccion RCA: 100 Anos de Musica
  • 2002 Lo Inolvidable de José José
  • 2002 Todo Exitos de José José
  • 2000 Lo Mejor de los Grandes, Vol. 2
  • 2000 Serie 2000
  • 1999 Coleccion Original
  • 1999 Lo Mejor de Lo Mejor
  • 1998 Serie Retratos
  • 1998 35 Anos de Amor
  • 1998 35 Aniversario, Vol. 7
  • 1998 35 Aniversario, Vol. 6
  • 1998 35 Aniversario, Vol. 5
  • 1998 35 Aniversario, Vol. 4 (1981–85)
  • 1998 35 Aniversario, Vol. 3 (1977–80)
  • 1998 35 Aniversario, Vol. 2 (1972–1976)
  • 1998 35 Aniversario, Vol. 1 (1969–1972)
  • 1997 Romanticos del Siglo
  • 1997 Serie Platino, Vol. 2: 20 Exitos
  • 1996 Lo Mejor de Los 3 Grandes
  • 1996 Serie Platino
  • 1995 Serie Retrato
  • 1994 30 Años de Ser El Principe
  • 1992 Serie 20 Exitos
  • 1992 15 Exitos de Oro
  • 1990 15 Romanticas En La Voz De José José
  • 1990 25 Aniversario, Vol. 2
  • 1990 15 Exitos
  • 1989 Exitos Vol. 2
  • 1988 Romantico Vol. 2
  • 1988 Exitos Vol. 1
  • 1987 Ayer, Hoy, y Siempre
  • 1986 25 Aniversario, Vol. 1
  • 1982 20 Triunfadoras De José José
  • 1981 Romantico Vol. 1
  • 1977 Grandes Exitos de José José
  • 10 Super Exitos de José José
  • Lo Mejor de José José
  • Los Grandes Exitos, Vol. 2

Compilations & boxed sets


Gold and Platinum albums


Films and television
Year Title Role Notes
1972 Buscando una sonrisa Film
1972 Un sueño de amor David Granados Film
1974 La carrera del millón Film
1977 Variedades de media noche Singer TV series, episode: "El principe de la canción"
1983 Los secretos de José José Himself Film
1984 Siempre en domingo Film
1985 Gavilán o Paloma José Sosa "José José" Film
1988 Sabor a mí Film
1995 Perdóname todo Film
2005 Sueño Mystery Musician Film
2006-2007 La fea más bella Erasmo Padilla TV series; Co-lead role
2007 Objetos perdidos Singer TV series; episode: "Objeto 1"


Kalimba recorded in 2009 the album Amar y Querer: Homenaje A Las Grandes Canciones (Love and Desire: A Tribute to the Great Songs) that features some of the most iconic Latin ballads, among them "Amar y querer", "Desesperado", "Volcán" and "El Triste".[75] On May 14, 2010, Marc Anthony released the album Iconos (Icons), which covers Latin ballads from the past, among them "El Triste" and "Almohada".

In 2005 Manuel Mijares released the album Honor a Quien Honor Merece. On November 30, 2010, Cristian Castro released the album Viva el Principe (Long Live the Prince). The album includes a duet with José José on "Lo Pasado, Pasado" and a poem recited by him. Rafael Pérez-Botija is involved with the production of the album. Due to its high sales, Viva el Principe has achieved Gold Certification in Mexico.[72] On November 1, 2011, a follow-up to Viva el Principe was released under the title Mi Amigo El Príncipe (My friend the Prince). The album debuted at number one on Billboard Top Latin Albums and peaked 57 on Billboard 200.[73][74]

Latin artists of rock and hip hop such as Molotov, Jumbo, Julieta Venegas, Beto Cuevas, and Aleks Syntek recorded a tribute album in 1998 called "Volcán: Tributo a José José" (Volcano: Tribute to José José). Every artist recorded one of José's classics such as "Lo Dudo", "El Triste" or "Volcán" in a distinctive fashion. It sold over 500,000 units. After almost fifteen years since its release, on November, 2013, a follow-up to "Volcán: Tributo a José José" was released under the title "Un Tributo 2", featuring performers such as Natalia Lafourcade, Moderatto, Los Claxons, Carla Morrison and Panteón Rococó.


For his contribution to the recording industry, José José has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7036 Hollywood Blvd.[70][71]

In 2007, a bronze statue was unveiled on his honor at the Azcapotzalco area in Mexico City, where he grew up.[68] He was honored by the Las Vegas Walk of Stars with a celebrity star and booksigning at The Rio in Las Vegas on November 20, 2008.[69]

In July 2008, Univision and the Latin Grammy recorded in Miami at the BankUnited Center a special TV tribute to José José, called Latin Grammy Celebra: José José (Latin Grammy Celebrates: José José). Stars such as Marco Antonio Solís, Ana Bárbara, Cristian Castro, Alicia Villarreal, Reyli, Olga Tañon, Luis Fonsi, David Bisbal and Aventura performed some of his greatest hits live, and stars such as Plácido Domingo, Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, Pepe Aguilar, Pedro Fernández, and RBD, showed their admiration with messages and greetings.[66] Univision described José José as: "One of the most beloved singers in Latin music".[67] On April 25, 2013, José was awarded due his career by Billboard at the 2013 Latin Billboard Music Awards.

"People went mute when he walked onstage ... We were just amazed when he came out, stood there and sang a song with such mastery. He was like an angel. It revolutionized my mind, and little by little I understood that that's what I wanted to do."

In 2006, Televisa made a TV homage to José José in Acapulco where singers such as Manoella Torres, Francisco Céspedes, Dulce and Gualberto Castro performed several of his greatest hits live.

In 1997, José was inducted into Billboard's Latin Music Hall of Fame.[62] In 2002 he achieved "El Premio a la Excelencia" (Prize to Excellence) at the Premios Lo Nuestro (Lo Nuestro Awards).[63] The Billboard Magazine awarded him for "Mejor Artista Latino" (Best Latin Artist) and "Mejor Disco Latino" (Best Latin Album) several times. In the Latin Grammy Awards of 2005 he received the "Personalidad del Año" (Person of the Year) by the Latin Grammy Award Recording Association;[64] he has been nominated nine times to the Grammy Award.

The music of José José is widely known in the Hispanic community.[56] A large number of artists have acknowledged José as an influence, including Cristian Castro,[57] Vicente Fernández,[58] Alejandro Fernández,[59] Nelson Ned, Pepe Aguilar, Kalimba, Erik Rubin, Manuel Mijares,[60] Lupita D'Alessio, Diego Verdaguer, Reyli and Marc Anthony.[61]


After recording the song "El Triste" for the 2010 album Iconos, singer Marc Anthony stated that "once you start to sing it you realize the magnitude, of that spectacular voice and special phrasing of José José and his incredible way to perform."[55] In the Latin VH1 show "Las 100 grandiosas canciones de los 1980s en español" (The 100 great songs of the 1980s in Spanish), singer Diego Verdaguer said: "If today he could sing, he would be the greatest of Latin America." José's voice is often considered one of the most influential in Latin pop music.[5]

Over time, because of his alcoholism and his negligence to care his throat, his voice and vocal style changed noticeably. By inheriting the qualities of his father for singing, in his prime he was able to easily reach high and low notes and his intonation was practically perfect.[54] Upon his performance of "El Triste", many critics praised his technical capacity and intensity.[54] He had the ability to sustain long and clear notes.[54]

According to his autobiographic book "Esta es mi vida" (This is my life), professor Guido Picco pointed that José José in his prime was a Leggiero tenor or light lyric tenor.[53] Johnny Mathis has been widely recognized as a major influence on José's vocal style.


Statue of José José in Mexico City

[52] José grew up listening

Artistry and image

José has made public to the media his current financial problems. Despite of being one of the most rented Latin artists for decades, his alcoholism caused him a serious monetary loss. His career declined when he lost his vocal ability, stopping the money income from live presentations and concerts. He claims that during his career he was constantly defrauded by people close to him, including former wife Anel and her brother.[48] On November 2008, his current wife suffered from a cerebral haemorrhage,[49] José stated that the medical bills nearly led him to bankruptcy.[50] He said to TV Notas magazine that he and his family live "day by day" and on February 2014, he sold his $5 million house of Coral Gables.[51]

Financial problems

In 2001, he suffered from a case of emphysema.[44] The effect of alcoholism, the abuse of cortisone and his hiatus hernia, have not only affected his ability to sing, but also to talk.[45] In 2007, he suffered from Bell's palsy. As a result of all these problems he has fought a serious depression over the recent years. He acknowledged this during an interview on the Univision program Don Francisco Presenta..., hosted by Don Francisco.[46] He struggled with a diabetic retinopathy in one of his eyes; he underwent a successful operation.[47] On 2012, he underwent an operation on his stomach due to gastritis. On November 2013, he underwent an operation to remove cataracts of one of his eyes.

In 1987 he underwent an operation at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to remove nodes in his vocal fold as a consequence of the excessive use of cortisone before singing, alcohol and the lack of rest after many of his performances. José would suffer dire consequences from his problem with alcoholism, as his health faltered dearly during the 1990s. He developed diabetes.

José suffered from a severe case of pneumonia in 1972 and his thoracic diaphragm got paralyzed. The disease almost ended with his career. He recovered after months of therapy based on breathing exercises. One of his lungs got permanently damaged.[10]

Health issues

He stated that his addiction was because he "was frail, weak, innocent, ignorant, weak-willed and did not know how to say no".[43] In the early 1970s after the success of "El Triste", he fell into alcoholism but with help of his friends and his family he managed to stop drinking for a while. His ongoing battle against alcoholism continued during the 1970s and 1980s. He attended AA meetings and stopped drinking for periods of time, but fell steadily into the addiction. After his divorce from Anel in 1991 he reached his lowest point, reportedly declaring that he wanted to die drinking. With the help of his friends, family, and other artists, he decided to go to rehab.[10] He went to the Hazelden clinic in Minnesota for rehab. He remains a sober recovering alcoholic.[10]

José has said that he started drinking at the age of fifteen, when his father (an alcoholic) left the house.[42] Due to his alcoholism, he developed a cocaine habit.


José told the magazine Selecciones that from 1985 to 1987, he underwent a serious personal crisis because his life "was spent on airplanes, tour buses and locked in a hotel room".[39] In 1991 he divorced Anel. Several years before he finished his partnership with his manager Manuel Noreña, Anel's brother.[39] In 1995 he married Sara Salazar, his third wife. The same year during a Latin American tour, his third child Sara was born. He lives in Coral Gables, Florida with his wife and youngest daughter.[40][41]

In 1970 he started a relationship with TV hostess, actress and model Ana Elena Noreña, known in the show business as Anel. That year they split and he married Natalia "Kiki" Herrera Calles, a socialite twenty years older. He separated from Herrera and returned with Anel shortly after. He divorced Herrera in 1975[10] and married Anel in 1976. They had two children: their first-born José Francisco (known as José Joél) who was born in 1975, and their daughter Marysol Estrella, born in 1982.[10]

Relationships, marriages and family

Through all of his career, José José has been widely open about his personal life with the press and the audience. He constantly grants interviews and answers questions about his family, friends, alcoholism, financial problems, health issues and other subjects.

Personal life

José is planning a new, untitled album, adding that it will consist of nine unreleased tracks and a melody he used to sing in serenades "Que viva mi tristeza", from songwriter Armando Manzanero.[37] It has not been completed due to his vocal problems. In 2011, he went on a short Mexican tour named "José José y sus amigos" (José José and friends), with singers Dulce, Carlos Cuevas, Celso Piña and Chamin Correa.[38] Since 2012, José has been performing with modest success in several cities of Mexico, South and Central America.

In 2010, he released José José Ranchero, another concept album with some of his greatest hits, separated from the original accompaniment, remastered and accompanied with mariachi, giving to his classics a traditional Mexican sound.[35] The same year, José launched his own perfume, called simply "José José", the profit from the sales are to help women and children sick with HIV/AIDS.[36]

José released Mis Duetos in 2007, an album featuring duets he recorded in the past. However, it featured two new songs, "E-mail me" with his youngest daughter Sara, and "Aunque vivas con él" with pop singer Reyli. In 2008, José recorded an emotive song called "Volver a creer" (Believe again) with the world famous musician Yanni. The song is included in the album Yanni Voces. Yanni stated that he wanted to "help a true legend to fulfill his dream, to sing again".[33] José José was invited by Yanni to sing their song live in Yanni's tour in Mexico. He released his autobiographic book, named "Esta es mi vida" (This is my life).[34]

In the mid-2000s, José appeared briefly as the "Mystery Musician" in the American movie Sueño and played the role of Erasmo Padilla (the father of Leticia "Lety" Padilla) in La Fea Más Bella, a successful Mexican version of the Colombian production Betty la Fea (adapted in the US as Ugly Betty).[31][32] In 2006, José participated as a vocal coach in Televisa's hit show, Cantando por un sueño. In 2007, he won a TVyNovelas Award for best supporting actor due his work in La Fea Más Bella.

In 2001, with a deteriorated voice, he recorded Tenampa. His first album with mariachi and the last one of his career. The album was written and produced completely by Juan Gabriel. The single "Cada vez y cada vez" lasted two weeks on the charts. Tenampa received poor ratings and sold only about 500,000 units.[30] After that, he retired from recording full-length albums. The problem of his voice got worse, and affected not only his ability to sing, but also to speak. In 2003, BMG released a collection of three albums entitled El Principe Con Trio with some of his greatest hits recorded between 1969 and 1983, separated from the original accompaniment, remastered and accompanied with the guitar trio "Los Tres Caballeros", with which these recordings are transformed into boleros. The work of technical excellence, was attended by José's old colleague Rafael Pérez Botija, who directed and composed some of the original recordings. This collection of concept albums again allowed José to achieve success in sales.

José José in 2007

2000s: Loss of voice, movies and TV, Sony BMG concept albums

In 1996, he performed a duet with Paul Anka on "Déjame Conocerte (Let me Get to Know You)" from Anka's Latin album Amigos. In 1997, he performed at the Bally's Atlantic City.[29] His last album of the decade, Distancia, was released in 1998. A video of the single "Ojala que te mueras" was released. On September 1999, he joined fellow countrymen Armando Manzanero, Marco Antonio Muñiz and Argentine pianist Raúl di Blasio for a series of concerts dubbed "Noche Bohemia" (Bohemian Night) at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.

In 1994, after the success achieved ten years back with Secretos, José re-teamed with Manuel Alejandro and released the album Grandeza Mexicana. The title track peaked at number 12 on Billboard Hot Latin Tracks and spent over seven weeks on the charts. He did a duet with his son José Joél in the song "La fuerza de la sangre", second single of the album. In 1995, he played the lead role in the movie Perdóname Todo, a drama about an alcoholic has-been and how he tries to survive against himself and the music business.[27] That same year, his album "Mujeriego" was released. It sold more than 180,000 copies in its first two weeks and reached number 12 on the Billboard Latin charts.[28] The song "Llora corazón" lasted 11 weeks on the charts and peaked at number 6, while the second single, the title track, spent only two weeks on the charts.[1] On May 9, 1996, "Llora corazón" was nominated for Pop Song of the Year in the Lo Nuestro Awards.

On August 1993, to commemorate the allegedly 30th anniversary of José's career, BMG hosted a tribute in the city of Puerto Vallarta. It was called 30 Años de ser el Príncipe (30 years of being the Prince). The tribute included some of the most prestigious artists of Spanish music such as Rocío Dúrcal, Camilo Sesto, Armando Manzanero, Marco Antonio Muñiz and Raúl di Blasio. The tribute coincided with his recent divorce, a serious relapse into alcoholism and a significant loss of vocal abilities. He appeared to be in poor physical shape, too thin and lacking energy. Camilo Sesto even took a break in the middle of the presentation to speak words of encouragement to José. The album was not released until 1994. At that time, José suffered the worst stage of alcoholism of his life. During 1993, he retired from the stage and went into rehab. Upon completion of his rehabilitation, he started seasons in places like the famous "Teatro Blanquita" of Mexico City, and the Gibson Amphitheatre of Los Angeles, among others.[26]

In the early 1990s, José's voice began to deteriorate. It worsened over time and became evident in his live performances. His excessive drinking and the unceasing activity of his career caused his voice to falter.[25]

In 1990, Raúl Velasco made a special TV show to celebrate José's 25th anniversary as a singer. The show, broadcast by Televisa, lasted over five hours and featured special guests such as Armando Manzanero, Libertad Lamarque, Vicente Fernández and Marco Antonio Muñiz. In 1990, he released the hit "Amnesia" of the album En las Buenas... y en las Malas. The single lasted 21 weeks on the charts and peaked at number-one on Billboard Hot Latin Tracks, while his next single "Atrapado", spent 16 weeks and peaked at number 7. In 1992, he released another hit: "40 y 20". From the same titled album, the song speaks about men who fall in love with women that are much younger than them and the way society sees those situations.[1] "40 y 20" lasted over 17 weeks on the charts and peaked at number four. His next single "Eso no más", spent 15 weeks and peaked at number five.

The 1990s: "Amnesia", 40 y 20, rehab, decline

During the 1980s, José José sold out Madison Square Garden, The Dunes and performed several seasons at the Las Vegas Hilton, Greek Theatre, Gibson Amphitheatre and the Tropicana Casino and Resort Atlantic City among others. He was referred to as "Mexico's Top Singer" in his shows. In 1987, he sold out Radio City Music Hall. That same year, José traveled to Israel and performed in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. In 1988, he played the role of the Mexican singer and composer Álvaro Carrillo in the movie Sabor A Mí, co-starring Angelica Aragón.[24] In 1989, José sold out two massive concerts at the Plaza México, gathering over 100,000 people. The album ¿Qué Es El Amor? released the hits "Piel de azucar" and "Como Tú", and José climbed to the top of the lists of popularity. The single "Como tú" lasted ten weeks at number-one on Billboard Hot Latin Tracks.[1]

In 1987, he released the album Soy Así,[19] written and produced by Rafael Pérez-Botija once more.[17] It was nominated for Best Latin Pop Performance in the 1989 Grammy Awards and became his fourth number-one set on the Billboard Latin Pop Albums. Soy Así released four successful singles: the title track reached the number-one position in the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks chart[20] while "Mi Hembra" peaked at number 5,[21] "Salúdamela Mucho" at 22[22] and "Vergüenza Me Da Quererte" reached number 8.[23]

Latin Pop Albums by José. Billboard and became the third number-one set on the Grammy Awards of 1988" were its main hits. It was nominated for Best Latin Pop Performance in the ¿Y Quién Puede Ser? The songs "Corre y ve con él", "Sin saber" and "[17].Paco Cepero guitarist he worked with the Spanish producer and [18] of 1986Siempre Contigo of 1985. In his next album Top Latin Album Latin Pop Albums by José José. He received two Billboard awards: Top Latin Artist and Billboard became the second number-one set on the Promesas. 1987 Grammy Awards Its main hits were "Amantes", "Me vas a echar de menos", "Más" and "Tú me estás volviendo loco". The single "Pruébame" was nominated for Best Latin Pop Performance at the [17] written, produced and arranged by Pérez-Botija.[16],Promesas Later that year, he released the album [15]

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