Mexican Icon Juan Gabriel Dies

Juan Gabriel

1950-2016

By The Prophet of Life

When he was 15, Alberto Aguilera Valadez escaped boarding school and struck out on his own to make a name for himself as a singer and songwriter. He went from city to city in Mexico picking up singing gigs at local night spots. He made it to Mexico City where he worked for RCA writing choruses to songs recorded by some of their Latin artists. RCA and other record companies would not sign him to a recording contract however, so he went to Ciudad Juarez and signed his first personal performance contract at a nightclub there for a meager $20.00 a night.  

After years of trying, he finally got a recording contract with RCA Records at age 21 after changing his name to Juan Gabriel. A prolific songwriter, Gabriel wrote over 1,000 songs. He penned songs in a variety of Latin and Mexican musical styles as well as pop and disco. He had many hit songs. He recorded and released dozens of albums. Many other famous Latin singers also recorded and had hits with his songs.

Juan Gabriel refused to record any songs for RCA for 15 years due to a contract dispute regarding his songs. He continued to perform live.  In 1994 he sued BMG Music to regain the publishing rights on his song catalog after BMG Acquired RCA. He won the suit and as a result, returned the rights to over 500 of the songs he wrote. He has been inducted in the Billboard Latin Hall of Fame and has a star on Hollywood Blvd.

Over the years Gabriel has continued performing. He is considered Mexico’s most famous and best-selling singer songwriter. He performed at the Forum in Los Angeles and died of a heart attack the next day. He was just 66.

Copyright Love Force International Publishing Company 2016.

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