Jose Feliciano born in September 10, 1945, is a famous Puerto Rican singer. He is a virtuoso guitarist and composer known for many international hits including the 1970 holiday single “Feliz Navidad”. Feliciano was born in Lares, Puerto Rico, one of eleven sons. When he was five, his family moved to Spanish Harlem, New York City. At the age of nine he played at the Teatro Puerto Rico in the Bronx. He started his musical life with the accordion until his father and family friend, Benjamin Borges, gave him his first guitar in a brown paper bag.
He played every chance he had by himself in his room for up to 14 hours a day listening to 1950’s rock’n’roll records, classical guitarist such as Andres Segovia and jazz players as West Montgomery. Later in his life he had classical lessons with Harold Morris, who earlier had been a student of Segovia. In 1963, after some live performances in pubs and clubs around the USA and Canada, especially in Greenwich Village in New York City, and Vancouver, BC, where he played ate the same time as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, he was signed by Jack Somer, an executive at RCA Victor.
In 1964, he released his first single “Everybody Do the Click” (which become a hit in Philippines, at nr2 and stayed for 14 weeks in Top Ten Hit parade). Later, in 1965 and 1966, he also released his first albums The Voice and Guitar of Jose Feliciano and A Bag Full of Soul, two folk pop soul albums that showcased his talent on radio across the USA, where he was described as a “10 finger wizard”. He also was invited to the Newport Jazz festival in 1964. In 1966, he went to Mar del Plata, Argentina, to perform at the Festival de Mar del Plata.
There, he impressed RCA Victor officials who told him to stay there to record an album in Spanish. They were not sure what they wanted to record, but Feliciano suggested they record bolero music. The result was two smash hits with the singles “Poquita Fe”, a song written by fellow Puerto Rican, Bobby Capo, and “Usted”. A year later, Feliciano was due to perform in the United Kingdom, but the authorities would not allow his guide dog into the country unless it was in quarantine for six months.
The stringent quarantine measures of those days were intended to prevent the spread of rabies. Feliciano later wrote a song entitled “No Dogs Allowed” (then lately in 1969 become a Netherland Top10 Hit on the charts), which told the story of his first visit to London. Feliciano holds the distinction of being one of the few singers to have enjoyed success both in Spanish language music and in English language rock and roll. He won five consecutive awards for best pop guitarist from Guitar Player magazine and was voted in jazz, classic and rock fields.
He received a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1987, and continued as a very popular singer during the 1980s. He had his hands cast on the famous Madame Tussauds Museum’s Wall of Fame, and has a star in the Walk of Fame of his native Puerto Rico. He also had a great hit in 1987 in Austria with the song “The Sound of Vienna”, number 1 for four weeks and recorded with the famous Vienna Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestra also performed with him live on national television at Danube Park in Vienna before more than 60,000 people.
During the 1980s, record companies gave him space made only for the Latin market, and he recorded an impressive number of albums for that market, including the Motown albums Escenas de Amor and Me Enamore, as well as others from RCA, EMI, and Capitol which added four more Grammys for best Latin performer. He recorded a duet called “Por Ella” with the most popular Mexican singer at the time: Jose Jose. In 1995, Feliciano was honored by the City of New York, which re-named Public School 155 the Jose Feliciano Performing Arts School.
In 1996, he had a short cameo role in the film Fargo. Feliciano was also an inaugural member of the Independent Music Awards’ judging panel to support independent artists. On December 6, 2006, Feliciano’s new Spanish album, Jose Feliciano y amigos was released by Universal Records, featuring Feliciano joined in duets with many other Latin American stars including Luis Fonsi, Lupillo Rivera, Luciano Pereyra, Rudy Perez, Cristian Castro, Marc Anthony, Ramon Ayala, Alicia Villarreal, Ricardo Montaner, and Raul di Blasio.
A special edition was later released and featured Ana Gabriel and Gloria Estefan. On May 10, 2010, Feliciano performed his rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, at Comerica Park in Detroit. This was part of the remembrance of Detroit Tigers radio announcer Ernie Harwell, who had died the Tuesday before. He played it similarly to how he did in 1968; with his acoustic guitar and in his slow tempo-ed, Latin jazz style.
On December 15, 2010, Feliciano appeared as the featured guest on the 37th wepisode of Daryl Hall’s Webby Award winning webcast, Live from Daryl’s House, www. livefromdarylshouse. com. Feliciano and Hall took turns on several numbers, including Feliciano’s version of “Light My Fire. ” Jose Feliciano and his wife Susan have three children a daughter Melissa and his sons Jonathan and Michael. Even though Jose Feliciano is blind he has accomplished what many people will call impossible. Though lately we haven’t heard from him, I am looking forward to listen more of his songs.