Armando Manzanero, one of Mexico’s greatest romantic composers, whose ballads have been performed by Elvis Presley and Christina Aguilera, died Monday in Mexico City.
Mr Manzanero’s family gave his age at 86, although some sources said he was 85.
His death was announced on national television by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and by the Society of Composers and Authors of Mexico, of which Mr. Manzanero was president.
“A great composer, among the best in the country,” and “a socially sensitive man,” said Mr. López Obrador.
Mr. Manzanero had been hospitalized with Covid-19 and placed on a fan a week before her death, but her son, Diego Manzanero, said the cause was cardiac arrest following complications from kidney problems.
Over a career spanning seven decades, Mr. Manzanero wrote more than 400 songs, including hits like “It’s Impossible” and “Adoro” (“I Adore You”). He received a Grammy life success award in 2014. He was also a highly regarded singer and producer.
After touring with several well-known Mexican musical artists early in his career, he recorded his first songs in 1959 and released his first solo album, “A Mi Amor… Con Mi Amor” (“To my love… with my love”), in 1967. He then released dozens of albums, some of which consisted of duets.
In 1971, Mr. Manzanero received a Grammy Nomination for song of the year for “It’s Impossible”, a translation of his 1968 song “Somos Novios”, sung by Perry Como. The song, with a lush melody and syrupy lyrics, has remained popular. Elvis Presley recorded, as did Andrea Bocelli, in one duet with Mrs. Aguilera.
Luis Miguel sang several of Mr. Manzanero’s songs for his album “Romances”, released in 1997. A worldwide success, the album was credited with giving new popularity to Latin romance music, which had fallen out of favor. to some extent with the rise of Latin pop in the 80s and 90s.
Often deceptively simple but imbued with tenderness and passion, Mr. Manzanero’s love songs have resonated for decades across cultures and languages.
“A song has to be written with sincerity,” he told Billboard magazine in 2003. “It cannot be written with the desire for instant success or fleeting success.” On the contrary, he says, it should be written to last.
“It’s like when you do a painting,” he added. “You have to do it right so that the painting stays on the wall forever. It has been my secret.
Armando Manzanero Canché, who was of Mayan descent, was born on December 7, 1934 in Mérida, southeastern Mexico, although his date of birth was not officially recorded until a year later, as the 7th December 1935, he said in interviews. . (Some documents suggest he was born on February 7, 1935.)
“One more year, one year less, it doesn’t make any difference,” he said in a Interview 2019 on Mexican television Imagen Televisión.
The eldest of three siblings, he also had two half-brothers.
His parents introduced him to music at an early age. His mother, Juana Canché, was a performer of folk dances from Yucatán; his father, Santiago Manzanero, was a musician – “a magnificent guitarist,” Mr. Manzanero had said.
He studied at the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City. In 1957, he married María Elena Arjona Torres, the first of five wives.
“People who are lucky in life only get married once,” Manzanero said.
His fourth wife, Olga Aradillas Lara, accused him of domestic violence, a claim he publicly denied at a press conference in 2005. “I never mistreated her,” he reportedly said in the report. newspaper. La Jornada. “I never hit her.
Despite the accusation and his multiple marriages, in Mexico he was considered a hopeless romantic. Actress and singer Susana Zabaleta, who has recorded two albums with Mr. Manzanero, said it was her love of love itself that she would remember the most.
“The maestro has always had a great fascination with love,” she said in a telephone interview. “He’s always been in love, he’s always been a man who believed in love.” She added: “It was a big fan to fall in love again.”
He was also a workaholic. He had recently completed a new album and was halfway through recording another when he died. He and Ms. Zabaleta were planning to tour Mexico and the United States this year.
“He worked like he wasn’t famous,” his son Diego said in a telephone interview. “The 86 years he lived were wonderful and we enjoyed him – there were so many people who loved him.
Besides his son, Mr. Manzanero’s survivors include his wife, Laura Elena Villa; six other children, Armando, Maria Elena, Martha, Mainca, Rodrigo and Juan Pablo; 16 grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; and two sisters.
Ms Zabaleta said she still plans to go on tour next year. Mr. Manzanero, she said, would live “as long as we continue to sing his songs.”