Hector Lavoe wasn't just a Puerto Rican singer with giant funky gold-rimmed glasses, a violent marriage to a crazy woman named "Puchi", and more money in coke than Neville Isdell (he's the CEO of Coca Cola, in case your subscription to Forbes is on hold for non-payment). He was a Salsa god long before Marc Anthony immortalized him in startlingly close resemblance. Born in Ponce, Lavoe moved to New York at the age of 17; he was born to be a musician. Within his first week in the Big Apple he found himself a gig as vocalist for Roberto Garcia's sextet, and by age 21 he'd found his way to the big leagues, joining Willie Colon's band. He eventually went solo when his drug abuse proved him unreliable to the band, but he and Colon remained friends for the remainder of Lavoe's tumultuous life, which ended tragically, not from his attempted suicide from the balcony of a hotel, but from AIDS. Those solo years spawned such unforgettable hits as "El Cantante", "Periodico De Ayer" and "Canto Borinquen".
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
It's only fitting that Willie Colon should be the one leading el Tributo Al Cantante at the JLK Center on Friday, April 17. The show has just been announced and will feature live performances of Lavoe's numerous hits, performed by the one man who could pay homage properly.
Willie Colon Tributo Al Cantante will take place at the James L. Knight Center on Friday, April 17 at 8pm. Tickets range from $37 - $92.