The Juan Gabriel Songbook Lives On: For The Record
The numbers attached to Juan Gabriel's career are truly astounding.
He recorded more than 35 albums and sold more than 100 million albums. But at the heart of his success was songwriting. Though he wrote in a range of styles, from traditional ranchera and banda sinaloense to contemporary Latin ballads and dance-friendly pop, Juan Gabriel's songs were marked by the same qualities: hummable melodies, soulful lyrics and poetic tenderness.
Born in Parácuaro, Michoacán, in Mexico in 1950, Juan Gabriel composed his first song at age 13. In 1971 he released his first studio album, El Alma Joven..., which included his first hit, "No Tengo Dinero." Over his 40-plus-year career, he would populate his catalog with such classics as "Abrázame Muy Fuerte," "Hasta Que te Conocí," "Amor Eterno," "Se Me Olvido Otra Vez," and "Siempre En Mi Mente," among others.
It is estimated that Juan Gabriel wrote more than 1,500 songs in his lifetime. Along the way, countless artists interpreted his songs, including Rocío Dúrcal, Marc Anthony, Ana Gabriel, Jenni Rivera, Maná, and Vicente Fernández — providing further testament to his lasting impact.
"Music has been my best friend — thanks to it, I've never been unhappy," Juan Gabriel said in his interview for the Latin GRAMMY Awards program book in 2009. "There is nothing in this world that allows me to express myself like a good melody."
In 2009 Juan Gabriel was honored as the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year for his music achievements and philanthropic efforts. During the 10th Latin GRAMMY Awards telecast that year, he turned in the longest performance in the show's history.
Following his passing on Aug. 28, 2016, he won his first two Latin GRAMMYs at the 17th Latin GRAMMY Awards: Album Of The Year and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Los Dúo 2.