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Armando Manzanero

Idioma disponível: inglês
Over a 70 year career that ended with his passing in 2020, Armando Manzanero was a globally renowned, award-winning composer, producer, singer, and actor. The Mayan musician is revered as Mexico's premiere composer of love songs and romantic orchestral themes. The former president of Sociedad de Autores y Compositores de México (Mexican Society of Actors and Composers) Manzanero was among the most important composers to emerge from Latin America during the postwar era. Of his 400 charting songs, more than 50 were recorded by an elite cast of international artists -- who included Frank Sinatra, Luis Fonsi, Christina Aguilera, and Shirley Bassey. Some of his best known songs include "Somos Novios" (the Anglicized version, "It's Impossible," is a pop standard that has been recorded dozens of times), as well as "Esta Tarde vi Llover," "Contigo Aprendí," and "Adoro." In addition to his recordings and orchestrations, he was also a hit producer whose hits include helming Luis Miguel's breakthrough boleros album, Romance in 1991. Manzanero was born Armando Manzanero Canche in the Yucatan city of Mérida on December 7, 1935. His father, Santiago Manzanero was also a professional musician. The youngster began studying music at age eight at the School of Fine Arts in his hometown but completed his training in Mexico City. He began composing at 15. His first compostion, "Nunca en el Mundo" (Never in the World), has been recorded in 21 different languages. A year later Manzanero began his professional career as a studio musician and pianist. In 1957 he penned the Angelica María hit "Paso a Pasito" did well enough to get him work as a songwriter and a serial film cue composer. That same year CBS International signed him as its to studio musical director. His ubiquitous presence conducting, arranging, playing, and consulting on sessions made him a first call pianist for Pedro Vargas, Lucho Gatica, and Raphael. A label boss encouraged him to cut his own debut and in 1959, he issued Mi Primera Grabación (My First Record); the record charted in Mexico. He followed with a string of hits including "Contigo Aprendí," "Te Extraño," "Adoro," "No," "Esta Tarde Vi Llover," and "Tengo." In 1965 he took first place at Miami's Festival de la Canción witth the oft-covered smash, "Cuando Estoy Contigo" ("When I'm With You"). Manzanero cut several albums during the 1960s, but it was his songwriting that garnered the most accolades. In 1968, the album José Alfredo Jiménez plays Armando Manzanero: Armando Manzanero plays José Alfredo Jiménez, charted across Latin America. In 1970, Sid Wayne wrote new lyrics to Manzanero's "Somos Novios" (It's Impossible) for Elvis Presley. While he cut it in 1971, it was Perry Como's version in 1972 that went to number one and garnered a Grammy nomination for "Song of the Year." It has been recorded by more than 35 artists. Manzanero's own albums sold well given his smooth baritone singing voice, but his songwriting garnered the most attention and accolades. In 1977 he composed the theme song "Corazón Salvaje" (Wild Heart) for the historic Mexican telenovela of the same title. It went straight to number one. In 1978 he took first place at the Festival de Mallorca in Spain with the song "Señor Amor," and four years later, "Corazón Amigo" won tops honors at the Yamaha Festival. Between 1976's Chelique y Manzanero En Casa (Los Románticos de América) with Chelique Sarabia, and 1988's Mientras Existas Tú, he issued ten consecutive top ten albums and wrote countless chart hits for Latin and Anglo artists. During the 1990s, Manzanero began to focus on becoming a record producer. He scored big in 1991 with Luis Miguel's Romance, that featured the singer performing vintage and modern boleros. But he also helmed sessions by Presuntos Implicados, Amaya, and Juan Navarro. He also cut a string of hit abums during the decade including 1992's Las Canciones Que Quise Escribir and 1993's Entre Amigos for which he was awarded a Lo Nuestro Excellence prize. In 1995 he and Peruvian expatriae singer Tania Libertad issued La Libertad De Manzareno, an orchestral retrospective presentation of his hits. He also cut the instrumental collection El Piano backed by an all star cast of session players that included Japanese tenor sax ace Sadao Watanabe and ubiquitous master percussionist Luis Conte. In 1996, Manzanero wrote theme theme for the popular tenenovela Nada Personalidad. Two years later he scored the e theme and serial music for the series Tentaciones. In 2000 his song "Somos Novios" was performed by Olga Tañón in an episode of the hit U.S TV series Ugly Betty, while the composer was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame. A year later Manzanero issued Duetos for WEA Latina; it featured some of the composer's biggest hits sung by an elite cast that included Tañón, Alejandro Sanz, Lucero, and Miguel Bose, to name a few. He followed the next year with Duetos 2 that offered Manzanero's songs performed by artists including Carmen París, Ana Torroja, and Manu Tenorio. In 2008 he issued Manzanero Big Band Jazz De México, and in 2010 was presented with the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the ASCAP Latin Heritage Award. Four years later he was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Manzanero remained active as a songwriter and performer until the final months of his life --he was planning a Latin American tour in 2021. Armando Manzanero died on December 28, 2020 of complications from the COVID-19 virus. He was 85 years old. On January 9, 2021, Manzanero's 20 Éxitos Originales (originally issued in 2007) entered the Latin Pop Albums chart at number 10.
© Jason Ankeny, Thom Jurek /TiVo
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