The original crossover artist who mirrored a blossoming career in Latin American music with pop success, José Feliciano was born today in 1945.
Renowned guitarist José Montserrate Feliciano García aka José Feliciano was born in Lares, Puerto Rico. Blind since birth, José grew up in New York City with his ten brothers and was playing the concertina by the age of six.
Leaving school and taking up the acoustic guitar, Feliciano began playing in Greenwich Village coffee houses, recording his first album in Argentina in 1966 for the RCA Victor label.
Following success in South America with a string of Spanish language recordings, José was persuaded to release a cover of “Light My Fire” by The Doors in 1968. It reached number 3 in the Billboard charts and number 6 in the UK and was included on the album “Feliciano!” along with sundry Beatles cover versions and even a take on “California Dreamin’.”
That album garnered no less that four Grammy nominations and two awards, while giving him a global profile that has seen him tour extensively and record in English, Spanish and Italian, not to mention sharing stages with an array of stars ranging from Michael Jackson and Johnny Cash to Gloria Estefan and Ricky Martin.
His Grammy count had advanced to eight by 2010 in a variety of categories that defined his genre-hopping proficiency – with his name back in vogue following a starring role in the festival of Latin Music held at the White House in the presence of Barack Obama.
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And here’s some footage of Jose in action: