I had a different artist in mind for today’s Flashback. I felt that I’ve been inundating you guys with artists from the Salsa genre and I had intended to break that streak when I heard the sad news of the passing of a legend in his own right – Fania vocalist, Junior Gonzalez. Mr Gonzalez passed away early Thursday morning, three days after his 63rd birthday from complications to his pancreas and liver.
Junior Gonzalez’ first debut was as lead singer for Fania legend Larry Harlow’s orquestra, first appearing in Harlow’s groundbreaking album “Hommy”, a Latin Opera inspired by ‘The Who’ Rock opera “Tommy.” Within the next two years, Gonzalez went on to release two more albums, “Salsa, Un Clasico” in 1972 and another album recorded live from Sing Sing penitentiary in upstate New York.
Gonzalez went on to release seven albums total in his entire career not counting the ones he released as a member of Larry Harlow’s orchestra, his last coming in 2009 was an homage to Fania legend Hector Lavoe. Becoming a heavy hitter in the 80’s ‘Salsa Romantica’ era, he was considered the Luther Vandross of Salsa due to the sensual nature of his music and his voice being popular with the female fans. Having gone international with Harlow, he’s had the pleasure of touring the globe, performing at venues in Spain, France, England, Denmark, Germany, Holland, and Japan.
Among the many popular songs included in his discography are hits like “La Cartera”, “Señor Sereno”, “Paso de Encarnacion”, “Esta Mujer Me Mata”, as well as salsa remakes like “Lady In Red.”
Although not as popular as many artists from the same era of salsa in which Gonzalez was a part of, his longevity, talent, and long list of accomplishments in the business have definitely earned him the respect of his fans and peers. His inimitable vocal ability, as well as his on stage charisma will be missed greatly by the entire Salsa community. Remember to throw on one of his many hits this weekend as you dance one out in the name of “Hommy” himself, Junior Gonzalez.