héctor lavoe: mi gente
born héctor juan pérez martínez, september 30, 1946 in ponce, puerto rico; died june 29, 1993 in the bronx, new york city.
\”The first thing he did in New York was visit El Barrio, New York\’s \”Spanish Harlem.\” Héctor was disappointed in the condition of El Barrio which contrasted with his vision of \”fancy Cadillacs, tall marble skyscrapers and tree-lined streets.\” Hector stayed at his sister\’s apartment in The Bronx instead.\”
Lavoe quickly secured his position as lead vocalist with Orquesta New York; Kako All-Stars; and Johnny Pacheco. In 1967, he met and auditioned for Salsa superstar, Willie Colón. \’Pacheco, co-owner of Fania Records and its recording musical director, arranged for Lavoe to record with Willie Colón on his first album El Malo. Willie never officially asked Lavoe to join his band, but after the recording, Willie said to him, \”On Saturday we start at 10 p.m. at El Tropicoro Club.\” \’
Under tutelage of Colón, Lavoe developed a drug habit which was to eventually undermine his success as a functioning entertainer. Despite seeking guidance and assistance through his involvement with Santería, Lavoe continued to be plagued by spiritual and emotional tragedies. He died from complications arising from AIDS in a charity hospital in NYC. His body – and that of his son, who had died six years earlier, in 1987 – was later exhumed from its plot in Saint Raymond\’s Cemetery, the Bronx, and reinterred in his native Ponce at his family\’s request.
This song, perhaps more than any other Lavoe\’s signature, was written by Johnny Pacheco.