Who is Juan Gabriel?
Alberto Aguilera Valadez, (January 7, 1950 – August 28, 2016), better known by his stage name Juan Gabriel was a very famous Mexican singer, songwriter and actor. Colloquially nicknamed as Juanga and El Divo de Juárez, Gabriel was well known for his flamboyant style, which broke barriers within the Latin music market. He was famous and believed as one of the best and most prolific Mexican composers and singers of all time history, he has been called a pop icon for them.
All together sold more than 200 million copies of his songs worldwide, Juan Gabriel was among Latin America’s best selling singer-songwriters. His nineteenth studio album released by 1984, Recuerdos, Vol. II, is reportedly the best-selling album of all time in Mexico, with over sixteen million copies sold. During his career, he also wrote around 1,800 songs. Among his most recognized penned songs are “Amor eterno”, “Querida”, “Yo no nací para amar”, “Hasta que te conocí”, “El Noa Noa”, “No tengo dinero“, “Abrázame muy fuerte“, “Te lo pido por favor”, “En esta primavera”, “Pero qué necesidad”, “Te sigo amando”, “Siempre en mi mente, “De mí enamórate“, and “Lo pasado, pasado”, among others; all of them, performed by him and many other artists.
On August 28, 2016, Juan Gabriel died of a heart attack at his own home in Santa Monica, California, while he was on a tour in the United States to attend some shows. Gabriel was posthumously awarded two Latin Grammy Awards for his album Los Dúo, Vol. 2 (the twenty-ninth studio album released by Juan Gabriel on December 11, 2015 which features many artists singing duets with Juan Gabriel. The album won Album of the Year and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album at the 17th Annual Latin Grammy Awards).
After his death, the legendary “divo de Juarez” left a list of songs with which we will always remember his sensitivity, talent, charisma and passion for music. Below, we gathered the very 10 best songs to listen while remembering the eternal Juan Gabriel.
- Abrázame Muy Fuerte
- Hasta Que te Conocí
- Amor Eterno
- El Noa Noa
- Se Me Olvido Otra Vez
- La Frontera
- Siempre en mi mente
- Te lo pido por favor
- Yo te recuerdo
Alberto Aguilera Valadez was born on January 7, 1950, in Parácuaro, Michoacán. He was the son of farmers Gabriel Aguilera Rodríguez and Victoria Valadez Rojas and was the youngest of ten siblings. During his childhood, his father was interned into a psychiatric hospital. For the same, his mother moved to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and he was put in the El Tribunal boarding school where he remained eight years. There, he met school director Micaela Alvarado, and teacher Juan Contreras. Aguilera became very close with his teacher Contreras, then escaped El Tribunal and lived with him for a year when he was 13 also the same year, Aguilera composed his first song. At the age of 14 Aguilera returned to live with his mother in the center of the town. He became interested in a local Methodist Church and met with the sisters Leonor and Beatriz Berúmen, who took him in and to try to sing there. There he sang in the choir and helped by cleaning the church at his leisure time.
In 1965, at the age of 15, Juan debuted on the Notivisa television show Noches Rancheras. The host of the show Raúl Loya gave him the pseudonym Adán Luna. In the program, he sang the song “María la Bandida” by José Alfredo Jiménez. From 1966 to 1968, he started to work as a singer at the Noa-Noa bar to try sing more to take out his creativity. During this period, he wrote the song “El Noa Noa“. He also worked as a singer in other bars in the town. Later, he traveled to Mexico City looking for opportunities at record companies, but he was rejected as still they thought he was amateur. He returned to Juárez, where he continued working as a singer. After all those trying in the bars, church, he tried again to be signed by a record label. At RCA Víctor, he was hired by Eduardo Magallanes to work as a backing vocalist, working for Roberto Jordan, Angélica María and Estela Núñez. As he was getting less amount as salary from the contract, in 1970, he resigned and returned to work in the bars in Juárez.
Everybody was telling him he would have success if he tried again, he returned to Mexico City a third time the next year only to try his singing gift here and there. Not having enough money, Aguilera slept in buses and train stations. One day he was wrongly accused of robbery, and was imprisoned in the Palacio de Lecumberri prison for a year and a half for the same. During this time, he wrote songs (including “Tres Claveles y Un Rosal” and “Me He Quedado Solo“), which helped him to meet Andrés Puentes Vargas, Lecumberri’s prison warden, who introduced him to Mexican singer and actress La Prieta Linda. She helped him, and due to the lack of evidence he was released from prison after a year and half.
He had six children but never married. The mother of his four children (Iván Gabriel, Joan Gabriel, Hans Gabriel and Jean Gabriel) is Laura Salas. Gabriel stated that Salas was not a wife but “the best friend I ever had” (“el mejor amigo de mi vida” in Spanish). Almost a month after his death, the news program Primer Impacto (is a Spanish-language television news program broadcast by Univision in the U.S. and in Mexico weekdays at 5pm ET) discovered that Gabriel had a fifth child, a son named Luis Alberto Aguilera, living in Las Vegas. Father & fifth son maintained a long-distance relationship, primarily communicating through e-mail. The mother of the fifth child is Guadalupe Gonzalez, who worked as Gabriel’s domestic employee. On October 26, 2016, Primer Impacto found the sixth child of Juan Gabriel, named Joao Gabriel who was living in Los Angeles, California. Joao’s mother is Consuelo Rosales, who also worked as Gabriel’s domestic employee. Genetic testing was conducted to assess Gabriel’s parentage of Luis Alberto and Joao, with genetic material provided by Gabriel’s brother Pablo Aguilera. However, all the information about the supposed children has not been legally corroborated being so far but only speculations of the tabloid press.
By 2005, November 14th, Gabriel was injured when he fell from the stage at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, and was hospitalized at Texas Medical Center. He sustained a fractured neck and was forced to stay off tour and bedridden for eight months long.
On August 28, 2016 it was the bad day for spanish singer, reported that Gabriel died from a heart attack earlier that day in Santa Monica, California. Gabriel’s body was cremated; his ashes were laid to rest at a house he owned in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, after receiving tributes from the city and Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.
In a snapshot:
- 1950 -Born in Parácuaro, Michoacán, México
- 1963- He composed his first song
- 1971- He released his first studio album
- 1971- His first hit song came “No Tengo Dinero“
- 1975- He started his acting debut in the film Nobleza ranchera
- 1990- Became the first commercial singer breaking the ground of Mexico
- 2016- Died of a heart attack
La Prieta Linda helped Gabriel at RCA Víctor, where he signed a recording contract. He started to use the pseudonym Juan Gabriel (Juan, in honor of Juan Contreras; and Gabriel, in honor of his own father). In 1971, Juan Gabriel released his first studio album El Alma Joven…, which included the song “No Tengo Dinero“, which became his debut single and his first hit to put him in a new height. El Alma Joven… was certified as gold by the Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas (AMPROFON). In 1972, Juan Gabriel participated at the OTI Festival (was an annual singing competition, held between 1972 and 2000 among active member countries of the Organización de Televisión Iberoamericana (OTI) (English: Iberoamerican Television Organisation). It was preceded in 1969 and 1970 by the Festival Mundial de la Canción Latina, held in Mexico), where he sang the songs “Será Mañana” and “Uno, Dos y Tres (Y Me Dás un Beso)”. The songs were not qualified to represent Mexico and got no points of becoming a festival icon, but they were acclaimed, and later recorded for his second album El Alma Joven II. Releasing El Alma Joven III (1973), Juan Gabriel released his first mariachi album featuring the group Vargas de Tecalitlán. The album, titled Juan Gabriel con el Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán (1974), includes songs like “Se Me Olvidó Otra Vez” and “Lágrimas y Lluvia”. In 1975, he made his acting debut in the film Nobleza ranchera, acting with Sara García and Verónica Castro.
Over fifteen years, Gabriel’s fame grew as he recorded 15 albums and sold 20 million records all over the world. He wrote and recorded over a 1600 songs in a variety of music genre. Gabriel established himself as Mexico’s leading commercial singer-songwriter, penning in many diverse styles such as rancheras with mariachi, ballads, pop, rock, disco, with an incredible string of hits for himself and for leading Latin singers including among many others Lucha Villa, Daniela Romo and Ana Gabriel and international stars Luis Miguel, Rocío Dúrcal and José José who in 1978 achieved international recognition thanks to the Aguilera’s ballad “Lo Pasado, Pasado” (is the title of the studio album released by Mexican singer José José in 1978. The album has the participation of the popular singers/composers Juan Gabriel and José María Napoleón. The first single of the album was the song “Lo pasado, pasado”, that instantly became a hit). His lyrics lines and every word dealt with heartbreak and romantic relationships between all human that became hymns throughout Latin America, Spain, and the United States. In 1984, his song “Querida” (Darling), stayed as a Number One for the whole year on the Mexican Charts that time for a perfect lyrics and music composition, he also gets a Grammy Nomination for “Best Latin Pop Album” for Recuerdos, Vol. II, which includes the single.
His work as an arranger, producer and songwriter throughout the subsequent decades brought him into contact with the leading Latin artists of those days, including Rocío Dúrcal and Isabel Pantoja (She has released more than a dozen albums throughout a career spanning many decades, mostly of copla genre, and is known for her distinctive Andalusian style). In addition to recording numerous hits from his own mind, Gabriel also produced albums for Dúrcal, Lucha Villa, Lola Beltrán and Paul Anka. In 1984, he released Recuerdos, Vol. II which one source says is the best-selling album of all time in Mexico with sales of over eight million copies. In 1990 Gabriel became the first non-classical act to perform at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The proceeds from the three sold-out concerts were given to the National Symphony Orchestra. On July 31, 2000, a telenovela titled Abrázame Muy Fuerte began broadcasting in Mexico. Salvador Mejía, the producer, choose to use the song of the same name as its main theme. “Abrázame Muy Fuerte” ended 2001 as the most successful Latin single of the year. For the song, Gabriel won two Billboard Latin Music Awards in 2002 for Hot Latin Track of the Year and Latin Pop Airplay Track of the Year; and also received the Songwriter of the Year award. The song was ranked as 7th at the Hot Latin Songs 25th Anniversary chart. “Abrázame Muy Fuerte” also was awarded for Pop Song of the Year by 2002 Lo Nuestro Awards.
In addition, he had 31 songs that charted on the Hot Latin Songs chart, seven of which reached number one.
His Film and TV appearances:
- 1965- Noches Rancheras
- 1977- Nobleza Ranchera
- 1978- Del otro lado del puente
- 1979- En esta primavera
- 1980- El Noa Noa
- 1981- Es mi vida
- 2014- Que Le Dijiste A Dios?
- 2016- Hasta Que te Conoci
His famous Albums list:
- 1971- El Alma Joven
- 1972- El Alma Joven Vol.2
- 1973- El Alma Joven Vol.3
- 1974- Juan Gabriel con el Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan
- 1975- 10 Exitos de Juan Gabriel
- 1976- A Mi Guitarra
- 1976- Juan Gabriel con Mariachi Vol.2
- 1977- Te Llegaea Mi Olvido
- 1978- Siempre en Mi Mente
- 1978- Espectacular
- 1978- Mis Ojos Tristes
- 1979- Me Gusta Bailar Contigo
- 1980- Recuerdos
- 1980- Juan Gabriel Con Mariachi
- 1980- Ella
- 1981- Con Tu Amor
- 1982- Cosas de Enamorados
- 1983- Todo
- 1984- Recuerdos, Vol.2
- 1986- Pensamientos
- 1994- Gracias por Esperar
- 1995- El Mexico Que Se Nos Fue
- 1997- Juntos Otra Vez with Rocio Durcal
- 1998- Con la Banda
- 2000- Abrazame Muy Fuerte
- 2003- Inocente de Ti
- 2010- Juan Gabriel
- 2015- Los Duo
- 2015- Los Duo, Vol-2
- 2016- Vestido de Etiqueta por Eduardo Magallanes
Trivia about Juan Gabriel
- He was awarded as a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 7060 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
- He was a six-time Grammy nominee, was inducted into the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame, and received several awards, including ASCAP Songwriter of the Year and Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year which was very valuable for him.
- In 1990, he broke ground by becoming the first commercial singer to present a show at Mexico City’s Palace of Fine Arts, until then the same venue was reserved for classical music. The proceeds from the three sold-out concerts went to support the National Symphony Orchestra.
- He was in prison for a year and a half for misconducting robbery case.
- Juan was Mexico’s one of the leading singer-songwriter and top-selling artist of all time. His biggest hits include “Hasta Que Te Conoci” (“Until I Met You”) and “Amor Eterno” (“Eternal Love”). His song “Querida” (“Dear”) topped Mexico’s charts for an entire year which never happened before.
- He never married but got six children’s.
- Wrote his first song when he was 13, and went on to compose within his lifetime more than 1,500 songs.
- Also produced famous albums for Rocío Dúrcal, Lucha Villa, Lola Beltrán, and Paul Anka.
- He was a multi talented Mexican singer, songwriter, and recording artist.
- His greatest hit, “Querida” (“My Dear”) which stayed at the top of the hits charts for over a year, is still played 30 years later as one of the best song of Mexico.
Broke Gender question with Love
Juan Gabriel broke barriers by his creations and being himself. The impression of positiveness that one felt when he began to record is incredible. That was a new style that quickly developed as part of the music of Mexican Americans who was living in USA, who were winning the fight for their civil rights in there, so it was their very own music. For Juan, the art of creating with what you have, no matter how poor it is or how you are creating it, and making it beautiful is really amazing. It’s an underdog perspective. This is what Juan Gabriel does in his music with incredible grace and most of it, it worked.
On his sexuality, we believe he came from the lineage of the gay poet Salvador Novo, who was also the chronicler of the capital city life of Mexico City. Anyone listened, listen carefully to his poetry, especially the work titled “La cuenta perdida,” which became famous in the musical repertoire of Lola Beltrán, you can find that he is the prodigy of Novo. His lyrics are poetic and romantic. Its opening line is very Juan Gabriel: “Nos volvimos a encontrar después de tanto.”
The unique quality about the singer/poet is that he doesn’t refer to the other person by gender, which means the relationship could be anything in love, male-female, male-male or female-female. That is the beauty of Novo, and now Juan Gabriel has done it, to make beautiful music that is inclusive of all human experiences and emotions that creates an impression of love between hearts only, no matter how you look or what your age might be.
After his death
Millionaire singer Gabriel, whose real name was Alberto Aguilera, died of a heart attack at his house in Santa Monica, California, in August 2016. And since his death at the age of 66, a woman claimed to be No. 7, or No. 5, depending on how they’re counted and lack of enough proof, the lawsuits inclusing one in Broward County didnt go well.
The son of dead Mexican superstar Juan Gabriel designated by a will as his sole heir has started unloading a slew of South Florida properties owned by El Divo De Juarez — while two of his alleged siblings are fighting in court for their piece of the flamboyant singer’s pie so they can earn enough for their livelihood.
The singer of “Amor Eterno” and “Querida” left $30 million worth of assets while died, including more than 30 properties and a lot of cash value in Mexico and several U.S. states, as well as a number of children that sometimes varies.
While his biographies usually consider he had six kids, Gabriel claimed in his will that he only had four. Later 2 more childrens came out of the dark with enough proof while Gabriel might not exactly aware of.
And while the lawsuit is being fought, Ivan (his son) has been busy trying to unload his dad’s four adjacent properties in Southwest Ranches.
According to real estate records, 30.8 acres are for sale at 13900, 13920 and 14080 Stirling Rd. and on the nearby Hancock Road.
Ivan put them up all for sale a year before, individually: 13900 Stirling Rd. is a vacant lot on sale for $2.5 million; 13920 Stirling, with a home with 12 bedrooms and nine bathrooms, is offered for $4.7 million; 14080 Sterling has a smaller house and is on the market for $1 million. There’s no official listing for the vacant Hancock Road property, but it would be sold to a buyer willing to take the entire package from his son Ivan.
Records show Juan Gabriel bought the pastoral plots in the mid-2000s.
In 2013, Juan Gabriel caused some controversy by claiming an agricultural tax exemption for the properties he had in an attempt to lower his property taxes. He based the type of request reserved for farmers and growers by claiming the presence of 15 goats and five cows on the land so they need to have lower taxes.
His exemption was declined that time and the records show, and his estate is now paying more than $100,000 a year in property taxes.
Never told the industry as he is a Gay
Juan Gabriel never ever officially came out as a gay man in public. It was one of the longest open secrets in the entertainment industry from him — a don’t-ask-don’t-tell agreement in which his millions of fans were in complicit always. As a very young performer, he evaded any insinuations about his sexual identity from. But as he got older, he became coy with his response and always tried to answer diplomatically. “Lo que se ve no se pregunta,” he’d say to uncouth interviewers — what one sees doesn’t have to be questioned.
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