Lucho Gatica

Luis Enrique Gatica Silva (11 August 1928 – 13 November 2018),[1] better known as Lucho Gatica was a Chilean bolero singer, film actor, and television host known as "the King of Bolero". He is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential exponents of the bolero and one of the most popular of all time worldwide.[2] It is estimated that Gatica released more than 90 recordings. He toured a vast portion of the world, having performed in concerts in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He was the uncle of the record producer Humberto Gatica.

Lucho Gatica was born in Rancagua. He attended school at Instituto O'Higgins. He and his brother Arturo were struggling singers before they released their first album, in 1949, when Gatica was 21 years old.

Chileans generally experienced a change in their taste in music during the 1950s, when bolero music overtook tango as Chileans' preferred music genre for some time. Singers like Cuba's Olga Guillot, and Argentinian Leo Marini and Mexican Elvira Ríos, among others, were very popular during that time. So were Xavier Cugat and his orchestra, which included Puerto Rican Bobby Capó. These singers would influence Gatica.

Gatica's first record, 1951's "Me Importas Tú" (You Matter to Me) became a mega hit across Latin America, opening many doors for Gatica. He followed that with 1952's "Contigo en la Distancia" (With You in the Distance). Gatica recorded his version of Consuelo Velázquez's "Bésame Mucho" (Kiss Me a Lot) in 1953, a year in which he produced two more albums, Las Muchachas de la Plaza España (The Girls from Spain Square) and Sinceridad (Sincerity). The following year his hit "Sinceridad" was released.[3]

By 1957, Gatica moved to Mexico, a country that would be of great importance in his life. In Mexico, he released No me Platiques Más (Don't Talk to me Anymore), Tú me Acostumbraste (You Accustomed Me) and Voy a Apagar la Luz (I'm Turning the Lights Off), which was released in 1959.

In 1956, Gatica's songs were recorded in North America on LP albums for the first time by Capitol Records ('Capitol of the World' series). Three albums were released within 14 months by Capitol. The third one in that group with Capitol was El Gran Gatica, which featured such songs as "Somos" ("We Are"), "Sabrá Dios" ("God Will Know"), and Si me Comprendieras ("If You Understood Me"). One of the three Lucho Gatica albums released in 1958 was a greatest hits compilation; the third was named Envenenados (Poisoned). He also recorded a song entitled "Encadenados" (Chained [We Are]).

Gatica had important changes in his personal life after arriving in Mexico for the first time. He decided to become a permanent resident of that North American country, and married Puerto Rican actress Mapita Cortés, who had been a celebrity in Mexico (and Puerto Rico) for some years, and who also resided in Mexico. The couple had two sons named Luis and Alfredo. Luis went on to become a telenovela and rock star during the 1980s and Alfredo (Alfie) became a music entrepreneur. Gatica remarried an American woman and had one daughter named Lily, as well. One of Gatica's last known releases was 1963's Recuerdos de Amor (Memories of Love). He had seven children.[citation needed]

In 2001, Gatica was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame.[4] In the same year, his renditions of "La Barca" and "El Reloj" were inducted into the Latin Grammy Hall of Fame.[5] Gatica himself was one of the recipients of the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.[6] He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording in 2008.[7]

Gatica died in Mexico on 13 November 2018[1] from pneumonia.


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