(Vea "Read full article" abajo para la version en espanol.)
Just as the stars of Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck were shining brightly in the late 1960s, another dark, handsome, slender singer came onto the scene to challenge them for their audience. Did American women scream at him, throw him their undergarments and rip off his shirt? No, for a long time, they didn't even buy his tickets! Why? Julio Iglesias had the nerve to be Spanish and not sing a word of English.
This liability for entering the U.S. market did not deter Julio Iglesias from conquering every other nation that had radio stations and record players. What almost kept him from becoming the heartthrob of millions was, first of all, the law studies that he hoped would make him a diplomat, and second, his soccer career, which was outstanding enough for him to earn the goalie job for Real Madrid (where David Beckham plays).
When he was 22, Iglesias nearly died in an auto accident that ended his soccer career and made him look elsewhere for his livelihood. During his two-year convalescence from partial paralysis, Iglesias wrote poetry and eventually began to add guitar accompaniment to the lyrics. Suddenly, he was a singer/songwriter, one with a bagful of songs that questioned Fate's intervention in his life.
With this idea in mind, Iglesias entered the 1968 Benidorm song festival, Spain's most prestigious music contest. His original composition, 'La vida sigue igual,' won the contest, and soon he was signed to Columbia Records and recording the song, which reached Number One in Spain and Latin America. By 1970, he was a music icon all over Europe, with festival appearances in Germany, France, Luxembourg and Japan, as well as in Latin America. He represented Spain in the 1970 Eurovision Song contest, though he did not win. He did, however, cement his status as Spain's principal pop singer.
The 1970s were kind to Julio Iglesias: Apart from a string of Number One singles in Spain and Latin America, including 'Canto a Galicia' (1972) and 'Manuela' (1974), he recorded hit albums in Italian and Portuguese, made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1974 and set a record for sales of tickets at Madison Square Garden in 1976. (Finally Americans had discovered him, even if they could not understand him.) In 1977, 100,000 people in Chile bought tickets to see his concert at the National Stadium, where he might well have played soccer, had he not had his accident.
Oh, and he and his wife, the former Isabel Preysler Arrastria, found time to have three children: a daughter, Maria Isabel, and a couple of sons you may have heard of, Julio Jr. and Enrique.
To this point, what had kept Julio Iglesias from dominating the U.S. charts was his lack of English material. He took care of that problem in 1984 when he recorded the album 1100 BEL AIR PLACE, which included his hit duet with Willie Nelson, "To All the Girls I Loved Before." Thanks to Willie's country following, this Adult Contemporary recording topped the country chart. It also went to #5 pop and reached platinum status. Another duet, "All of You" with Diana Ross, charted well later in 1984.
Though he did not reach the U.S. Top 40 after those two singles, Iglesias won the 1987 Grammy for Best Latin Pop Performance for his album, UN HOMBRE SOLO. Since then, he has graced many stages worldwide, sung in several languages, including more in English, and become the principal musical ambassador of Spain. In this sense, Julio Iglesias has come full circle, as he wanted to be a diplomat, and he now reigns supreme as the king of class.
Mientras los cantantes britanicos Tom Jones y Engelbert Humperdinck dominaban la musica de los anos 1960 en los Estados Unidos, otro cantante guapo y elegante surgio para quitarles su publico. Sin embargo, este no conto con el apoyo inmediato de las mujeres estadounidenses, porque este hombre, Julio Iglesias, no cantaba en ingles.
De todos modos, Julio Iglesias llego rapidamente a ser el cantante mas destacado de Espana. Pero, si no fuera por un accidente automovilistico casi fatal, Iglesias habra seguido su carrera de futbolista con el equipo Real Madrid, y no habra cantado ni una nota.
Durante su convalescencia, Julio Iglesias escribio poemas que luego convirtio en canciones. Empezo a ganar premios importantes, y se contrato con Columbia en 1968. De repente, era el cantante mas popular de Espana y Latinoamerica.
Entre los momentos interesantes de su carrera son su visita a Madison Square Garden en Nueva York, donde rompio el record para la venta de boletos, y su concierto en el Estadio Nacional de Chile, donde 100,000 personas vinieron a escucharlo.
Padre de Julio Jr. y Enrique Iglesias, Julio sigue su carrera como embajador de la cancion romantica espanola, y sus conciertos siguen conteniendo la misma magia que ofrecan a su publico desde la incepcion de su carrera musical.
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