One of Mexico’s most beloved balladeers, Jose Jose has sold nearly 50 million records, has 23 gold or platinum records, and is best known for a comforting, sweet vocal style.
As the Times wrote in a 1996 review of his show at the Universal Amphitheatre, “[T]here are very few performers, including youngsters in their prime, who can transmit so much warmth in such a down-to-earth way. Jose is truly a likable figure who seems to be talking individually to each member of the audience. And his confessional style, in which he often portrays himself as a vulnerable, loser-type of Latin lover, makes him look more human than the average romantic star.”
Born and raised in Mexico City, the crooner earned his nickname, “El Principe de Cancion” (“The Prince of Song”), because of this ability to connect with his fans, and received his early attention as a member of the group Los Peg, with whom he sang sweet boleros that touched the masses. His breakthrough came in 1970, when he sang at a Latin song festival, and from that time forward he started drawing the attention of a nation.
But with fame and fortune brought struggles. For much of his life, Jose has fought same the demon that felled his father: alcoholism. The singer has been in and out of rehab numerous times over the years, a fact that he alluded to with the aforementioned Universal Amphitheatre audience when he pointedly joked, “They used to bring me here in a limousine. . . . Now, they use an ambulance.”
The drink has damaged the same vocal cords that brought him fame, and he is unable to sing with the same tender tones that he did when he was at the top of the charts.