Headshot for Hector Lavoe

Hector Lavoe

A great among greats, this great artist’s life was marked by a tragic destiny. Héctor Lavoe’s interest in music began in his native Puerto Rico. In search of new opportunities, he traveled to New York with a suitcase full of dreams and the firm goal of landing a job in the music world.

The road ahead was not an easy one. There were many obstacles to overcome, and the price was high, as it often is for immigrants. He held down precarious day jobs for bad pay; but at night, he gave free rein to his dreams, performing in various night clubs.

Johnny Pacheco happened to hear him perform at one of those night clubs. In Lavoe he discovered a powerful voice and the easiest of manners. He was so impressed that he told Willie Colón he had found a singer for the recording of his first album, “El malo.”

The combination of Héctor Lavoe and Willie Colón enriched the world of salsa and set the stage for their collaboration, which lasted seven years. It also gave birth to 10 albums, full of vibrant songs that spoke the language of the street, a type of musical narrative that the public identified with, one that cemented salsa as a genre.

In 1975, Fania Records decided to launch its singers with the most hits as soloists. Thus began a new phase of Héctor Lavoe’s career, just as brilliant and successful, boasting the release of many albums that are now part of his rich musical legacy.

His life was an open book, each page of which documented the tragedy and heartbreak that marked and influenced the rise and fall of his brilliant professional career. Héctor Lavoe died on June 29, 1993, at the age of 46.