One of the most famous singers from the golden years of salsa in the 60’s and 70’s, Hector Lavoe‘s name will always be associated with the genre, and though he passed away in 1993, his spirit lives on through his music. This year, a collection of his finest material is being released and today we have a free download of his classic “Auanile.”
Fame turned Lavoe’s life into a wild rollercoaster ride. Born and raised in the Machuelito sector of Ponce, Puerto Rico, he attended a local music school and developed an interest inspired by Jesús Sánchez Erazo at an early age. He moved to New York City when he was 17 years old. On his first week living in the city, he worked as the vocalist of a sextet formed by Roberto García. During this period, he performed with several other groups, including Orquesta New York, Kako All-Stars, and the Johnny Pacheco band.
In 1967, Hector Lavoe joined Willie Colón‘s band and performed as the band vocalist. It was there that he became a star, recording recorded several hit songs, including “El Malo” and “Canto a Borinquen”. While working with the Willie Colón band, however, Lavoe became addicted to drugs and began to habitually be late when scheduled to perform with the band. He was eventually fired from the band, though he and Colón remained friends and still recorded together from time to time.
Lavoe moved on to become a soloist and formed his own band where he performed as lead vocalist. He recorded several hits including “El cantante”, “Bandolera” and “Periódico de ayer” (“El Cantante” was composed by Ruben Blades, who we feature as a Free MP3 of the Day artist on Tuesday)