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Junior Gonzalez 1949 – 2012

Flashback Fridays

Junior Gonzalez

Junior Gonzalez

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.

About Nelson O Figueroa

The son of Puerto Rican-born parents, Nelson was born in Brooklyn and raised in the Far Rockaway section of Queens, New York. Growing up, music was a major factor his upbringing, with his mother coming from a very musically diverse family and his father introducing him to other types of music such as classic rock. He learned to appreciate all types of music although I tend to drift primarily towards salsa.

Other than music, Nelson likes to spend time with friends and family. He’s also a bit of a sports freak , you can find him cheering for his New York teams: the Mets and the Giants. You might also catch him at a nearby handball court on occasion during the summer.

Nelson has been involved with Being Latino in many supportive roles beginning in 2010 with the fundraiser for Haiti. His ability to engage others in conversation with humor and an open mind made him the ideal candidate for the role of Facebook Engagement Manager; while his love and knowledge of music makes him the perfect fit for the magazine series, Flashback Friday.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. hamlet says:

    Were gonna miss u man!!!!!!!!

  2. lillian padua says:

    I will miss him. Was one my favor salsa singer ever. Miss you junior RIP. GOD BLESS YOU . You

  3. Junior empezo con Larry Harlow…El Judio Maravilloso ! RIP Maestro #SalsaNation

  4. The Larry Harlow’s orquestra, and the album was “Hommy”

  5. yahaira gonzalez says:

    Triste pero sierto no lo creo todavia…para mi fue un hasta luego haci le dige a papi…fue mi orgullo siempre. Mi unico tio…haora fue a encontrarse con mi papa mis abuelos y mi tio (Gonzalez Rivas) escuchare siempre su musica…tronara como rrelampagos..por que un artista nunca muere… y en mi corazon permanecera vivo con orgullo siempre….que viva la salsa… te amare y los amare siempre hasta luego.

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