Salsa, a favorite Latin type of music which has influences from Africa, Cuba, both Afro-Cuban style and New York jazz style and of course Puerto Rico. Over time from its birth in NYC till now there has been many famous singers and composers that help salsa music to be celebrated not just in this side of the world but all over as well. Over the years people will remember the likes of Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Oscar D’ Leon, La India, Marc Anthony and Gloria Estefan, but there is one person who was forgotten in history and his contribution to salsa is on the same level as what The Beetles were for Rock and Roll; that person was Hector Lavoe. Born as Hector Juan Perez Martinez, Lavoe was a singer and songwriter at a very young age, and by age 17 he dropped out of Juan Morel Campos Public School of Music and moved to New York’s “El Barrio” aka Spanish Harlem in 1963. In 1967, Lavoe met with Willie Colon, salsa musician and bandleader and Johnny Pacheco, Co-Owner of Fania Records. Pacheco asks Lavoe to sing on one track of Colon’s first album titled “El Malo” (The Bad) . From 67-73 Lavoe and Colon ha hit after hit such as :
Aguanile – Santeria influences song.
Mi Gente – A song for the people
Todo Tiene Su Final – A song about how everything will come to an end
El Dia De Mi Suerte – A song that talks about Lavor personal life
During 1973, Willie Colon stopped touring and want to focus more on the production end of music and other business ventures. This gave way to Lavoe the opportunity to become a solo artist and lead his band. From there he had many other hits such as Hacha y Machete, Vieja Carta (old cards) and Plato De Segunda Mesa (plates from the second table), which was his last song before his death in 1993.
There is a song which was like El Dia De Mi Suerte, but on a very personal level that no one never knew about him and many to call it his most significant contribution to salsa and quite possibly the greatest salsa song of all time, El Cantante. The song is excellent; it has a sound like no other salsa song had before it but it is in the lyric is where it shine! The song is about s singer who lives to perform for his fans, people, to anyone at any given time, but after the singer is off stage, he lives a sad, lonely and depressing. It was said that this song was about how he felt at that time of his life.
After his death in 1993, not a lot of people remember him, except friends and family of Lavor. Some current salsa singer tried to remind people about him but to no results, even a film that was about his life staring Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez, but didn’t do him justice at all. Hopefully after reading this and hearing his music maybe you give him a chance.