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Legendary Song ‘El Cantante’ by Héctor Lavoe Inducted into Library of Congress Recording Registry

Washington D.C. – The song “The singer” immortalized by salsa legend Hector Lavoe has been incorporated into the official registry of the Library of Congress United States.

The National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress will announce today, Tuesday, that the recording of the song, written by Rubén Blades, is part of the 2024 class of musical treasures in the United States.

“We have selected audio treasures worthy of preservation with our partners this year, including a wide range of music from the last 100 years, as well as comedy. “We have been delighted to receive a record number of public nominations (2,889) and welcome public input on what we should preserve next,” indicated Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress.

The selected group includes the songs “Eternal love”, performed by the Mexican Juan Gabriel; “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, Bobby McFerrin (1988); “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, de Gene Autry (1949); y “Ain’t No Sunshine”, Bill Withers (1971).

Also, the albums “Arrival” by ABBA, which includes “Dancing Queen”; “The Cars,” “The Cars” (1978); the comedy “This is a Recording,” Lily Tomlin; “Ready to Die”, The Notorious BIG (1994); and “Wide Open Spaces,” The Chicks (1998).

The Library of Congress recalled that the song “The singer” –which has since identified Lavoe’s career-, debuted on the album “Comedia”, by Fania Records and which gave title to the 2006 film in which the “Singer of the Singers”, also known as “The Voice”, was played by Marc Anthony, with Jennifer Lopez as co-star.

His life, also marked by drug problems and personal tragedies, inspired the theatrical production “Who killed Héctor Lavoe?”.

“Many people always stop me on the street and comment: ‘Hey Hector! You’re done, always with women and at parties.’ And no one asks if I’m suffering or if I’m crying, if I have a pain that hurts very deeply. “I am the singer because my thing is to sing and the public pays to hear me,” says a verse of the song “El Cantante.”

Lavoe was born on September 22, 1946, in Ponce. He died on June 29, 1993.

He had his first professional experience with the orchestra of percussionist Francisco “Kako” Bastar, according to the National Foundation for Popular Culture. But, Lavoe became famous with the orchestra of his compatriot Willie Colón, trombonist and arranger.

“Héctor, with his street and challenging style, would be the perfect complement to Colón’s music, strident and daring for purists in the fusion of rhythms,” indicates a biography published by the National Foundation for Popular Cultural.

Lavoe was the voice of the Colón orchestra from 1967 to 1973, with which he recorded albums such as “La gran fuga”, “Cosa nostra”, “Lo mato”, “El Judgment” and the two volumes of the legendary “Christmas Assault”. ”. After leaving on her own, Colón helped her with other productions, including “Comedy.” Colón was also reportedly the one who convinced Blades to give the song to Lavoe.

In the midst of his drug problems and personal tragedies, Lavoe attempted suicide in 1988 by jumping from the tenth floor of a Condado hotel in San Juan, an event that left him incapacitated.

Regarding the selection of “Amor Eterno”, Iván Gabriel Aguilera pointed out that his father “always said that as long as the public, the people, continue singing my music, Juan Gabriel will never die, and it is nice to see that is happening here.” .

Other songs incorporated into the Registry are: “Clarinet Marmalade”, by Lieutenant James Reeese, of the 369th US Infantry Band (1919); “Kauhavan Polkka,” by Viola Turpeinen and John Rosendahl (1928); “Rose Room,” from the Benny Goodman Sextet with Charlie Christian (1939); “Tennessee Waltz,” Patti Page (1950); “Rocket ’88′”, by Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats (1951); “Catch a Falling Star” / “Magic Moments”, Perry Como (1957); “Chances Are,” by Johnny Mathis (1957); La-Di-La-Di”, Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick (MC Ricky D) (1985).

While, the other selected albums are: “Wisconsin Folksong Collection” (1937-1946); “The Sidewinder,” Lee Morgan (1964); “Surrealistic Pillow” (1967); “JD Crowe & The New South”, JD Crowe &The New South (1975); “Parallel Lines,” Blondie (1978); “Pieces of Africa,” Kronos Quartet (1992); and “Dookie,” Green Day (1994).

In total, the registry now has 650 recordings, including songs, albums and audios.

In 2023, Daddy Yankee’s hit “Gasolina,” which opened the doors to the international market for reggaeton music, was also inducted into the National Recording Registry. A year before, the also famous song by Puerto Rican star Ricky Martin was incorporated, “Livin’ la Vida Loca”, composed by Draco Rosa.

Of the Puerto Rican artists, previously included were the album “Azúcar Pa’ Ti”, by Eddie Palmieri (1965); “Lamento Borincano”, by Rafael Hernández, performed by Canario (Manuel Jiménez) and his group; and the album “Dance Mania”, by Tito Puente (1958).

There are other recordings linked to Puerto Rico that are part of that record, such as the album “Live at Yankee Stadium”, by the Fania All Stars (1975); and the original cast of the musical “West Side Story” (1957), which included Chita Rivera.

The 25 recordings selected for the 2024 class of the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry: (in chronological order).

“Clarinet Marmalade” – teniente coronel James Reese Europe’s 369th U.S. Infantry Band (1919)

“Kauhavan’s Polka” – Viola Turpeinen and John Rosendahl (1928)

Wisconsin Folksong Collection (1937-1946)

“Rose Room” – Benny Goodman Sextet with Charlie Christian (1939)

“Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” – Gene Autry (1949)

“Tennessee Waltz” – Patti Page (1950)

“Rocket ‘88′” – Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats (1951)

“Catch a Falling Star” / “Magic Moments” – Perry Como (1957)

“Chances Are” – Johnny Mathis (1957)

“The Sidewinder” – Lee Morgan (1964)

“Surrealistic Pillow” – Jefferson Airplane (1967)

“Ain’t No Sunshine” – Bill Withers (1971)

“This is a Recording” – Lily Tomlin (1971)

“J.D. Crowe & the New South” – J.D. Crowe & the New South (1975)

“Arrival” – ABBA (1976)

“The Singer” – Héctor Lavoe (1978)

“The Cars” – The Cars (1978)

“Parallel Lines” – Blondie (1978)

“La-Di-Da-Di” – Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick (1985)

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – Bobby McFerrin (1988)

“Eternal Love” – Juan Gabriel (1990)

“Pieces of Africa” – Kronos Quartet (1992)

“Dookie” – Green Day (1994)

“Ready to Die” – The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)

“Wide Open Spaces” – The Chicks (1998)

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