Now as a singer-songwriter, Julio Iglesias quickly earned a name for himself for his talent. In 1968, he was the winner of a Spanish songwriter’s festival for “La viola sigue igual (Life Goes On the Same)” which led him to sign up with Columbia Records and release his first studio album, Yo Canto (I Sing). In 1970, he represented his home nation in the fifteenth edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Gwendolyne,” which placed him fourth overall in the competition. Not long after competing in the competition, Julio Iglesias established a name for himself as a European fan favorite in the music industry with one international hit after another, starting with “Un Canto A Galicia” in the Galician language, then “Manuela”, and “Se mi lasci non vale (If You Leave Me, It Can’t Be).”
Coming to America
In 1979, Julio Iglesias moved to Miami, Florida after signing up with CBS International to expand the reach of his singing career even further. Five years later, he released the album, 1100 Bel Aire Place, which became his breakthrough album with English-speaking critics and fans in the music industry. It earned him a triple-platinum certification with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). During the 1980s and 1990s, Julio Iglesias collaborated with big stars such as Art Garfunkel, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, and The Beach Boys. In 1988, he won a Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album with Un hombre solo (A Man Alone). It was one of many awards Iglesias won throughout his recording career.
Julio Iglesias Legacy
In addition to numerous music-related accolades and awards, Julio Iglesias also became the 1995 recipient of the Excellence Award during the Lo Nuestro Awards ceremony and then Person of the Year by the Latin Recording Academy in 2001. He was later inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame. In 2013, he was recognized by China as the First & Most Popular International Artist of All Time and was also entered in the Guinness World of Records as Best-Selling Male Latin Artist. Also in 2013, he was inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame and still remains as the most commercially successful artist in his home country, Spain.
To Julio Iglesias’ credit, he has sixty studio albums that have been recorded and released in a multitude of languages, as well as two live albums, and nineteen compilation albums. With over one hundred million albums sold worldwide, he is one of the best-selling musical artists of all time.
Top 10 Julio Iglesias Songs
#10 – Gwendolyne
“Gwendolyne” was the song Julio Iglesias performed as an entrant of the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest. While he placed fourth in the competition, this ballad was a number one hit on the official Spanish singles chart and served as an international breakthrough for a young man who was about to bless the world with his incredible vocal talent. “Gwendolyne” was a love song he wrote about his girlfriend whom he met while he was still attending university as a law student. This song has since been recorded in four additional languages, namely English, French, German, and Italian.
#9 – Nathalie
From Momentos, “Natalie” was a single released in 1983 as a love song featuring the narrator pining over a woman that has won his heart over. By the time the song is over, he wins over “Nathalie” and the couple lives happily ever after together. For romantics, this is an easy-listening favorite despite the fact it did not make a chart appearance after its release. If there is ever a dance to sway to and get swept up into the moment, “Nathalie” is it.
#8 – Spanish Eyes (featuring Willie Nelson)
“Spanish Eyes” was one of two duets Julio Iglesias performed with country star, Willie Nelson. On the US Billboard Hot Country charts, it peaked as high as number eight and is featured on Willie Nelson’s 1988 album, What a Wonderful World. The original vocal recording of this song was in 1965 by Freddy Quinn and was released as a single but pulled due to its association with “Moon Over Naples,” which was the original instrumental version of this song. Nelson’s lyrical plea to his Spanish love interest to not cry as he departs was beautifully paired with Iglesias’s input as a special dose of romanticism, making “Spanish Eyes” a well-deserved nod as a fan favorite.
#7 – Crazy
1994’s “Crazy” was originally a Willie Nelson song written by him but first made popular by Patsy Cline in 1961. Her version remains as the country music standard and its popularity is still as great today as it was when it was first released. The emotional cover version released by Julio Iglesias in 1994, was powerful enough to earn him a Grammy Award nomination in 1995 for Best Latin Pop Performance.
On the US Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, “Crazy” peaked at number nine and it was a number thirteen hit on the Irish Singles Chart. In the UK, it was a number forty-three hit and in the Netherlands, it peaked as high as number thirty-two. “Crazy” also made an impression in Australia, charting as high as number sixty-seven. Fans of Julio Iglesias finds his version of “Crazy” breathing a life of its own that no other cover version since Cline’s original has been able to achieve at such an emotional level.
#6 – Begin the Beguine (Volver a Empezar)
“Begin the Begine (Volver a Empezar)” became a certified gold hit with the UK’s British Phonographic Industry (BPI) after it was released as a single in 1981. On its official singles chart, as well as Ireland’s, it was a number one hit and remains as one of the most popular love song versions of the 1935 original of all time. It was also the first time a Spanish song topped either of these music charts, making this a historical moment in the British music industry. “Begin the Beguine” was first introduced as a song by June Knight during the broadway musical, Jubilee, and has since been covered in 1938 by Artie Shaw as a big band number. It was Shaw who first made this song popular before Iglesias blew its popularity through the roof with his romantic performance.
#5 – Amor
As a song, “Amor” already became a popular favorite after it was first published in 1943. The biggest-selling versions were recorded and released as singles by Bing Crosby in 1944 and Andy Russell that same year. The 1982 cover by Julio Iglesias saw him cover the original Spanish version for his album, Momentos.
Also recorded in French, Italian, and Portuguese, this amazing vocalist made “Amor” an immensely powerful love song that rejuvenated the fan appeal of this all-time Latino classic. On the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, “Amor” peaked at number thirty and was a number fifteen hit on the Irish Singles Chart. In the UK, it also peaked as high as number thirty-two and was a number forty-three hit in the Netherlands and a number fifty-four hit in Germany.
#4 – All of You (featuring Diana Ross)
The lead single from the album, 1100 Bel Air Place, “All of You” was a duet performance shared between Julio Iglesias and Diana Ross that became a number one hit in Spain in 1984 and a number two hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. This remarkable love ballad also became a top ten hit among the nations of Belgium, Canada, and the Netherlands, and peaked as high as number nineteen on the US Billboard Hot 100. “All of You” became immensely popular after it was aired as a music video due as the screen chemistry between Iglesias and Ross served as a big draw for fans due to its sensual content. As a love song, the angelic voice of Ross was every bit as breathtaking as the harmonic delivery by Iglesias.
#3 – Silent Night (featuring Miranda Djinsburger)
Released as a downloadable single in 2004, the classic Christmas carol, “Silent Night” performed by Julio Iglesias and his girlfriend, Miranda Djinsburger, also featured his four children. This recording also came with a Christmas-related message delivered by Iglesias and his family as they addressed the fans as their way of saying thanks. As a CD, “Silent Night” served as a gift to music fans around the world that was made available from the artist’s website. For fans of beautifully performed Christmas carols with soul, this version of “Silent Night” is nothing short of magnificent.
#2 – My Love (featuring Stevie Wonder)
1988’s “My Love” was a duet performance by Julio Iglesias and Stevie Wonder, which is featured on the album, Non Stop. Performed in Spanish by Iglesias with Wonders as the backup. Written by Wonder, “My Love” became an easy fan-favorite among romantics. “My Love” was most popular with Ireland as it peaked as high as number two on its official singles chart and at number five on the UK Singles Chart. On the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, it was a number fourteen hit and peaked as high as number eighty on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was also a top forty hit among the nations of Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain.
#1 – To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before (featuring Willie Nelson)
“To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” was originally recorded as a song in 1975 by Albert Hammond for his album, 99 Miles from L.A. However, the 1984 cover performed by Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson was the popular fan favorite as a single from Iglesias’s album, 1100 Bel Air Place. For Iglesias, this was his big breakthrough single reaching the English audience as it peaked at number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was a number one hit in Belgium and Canada. It also became a number one hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and was at least a top ten hit among the nations of Australia, Austria, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, and Spain.
This was the biggest hit for Julio Iglesias among the American and Canadian fan bases. For Willie Nelson, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” was his biggest hit with the European audience. In addition to this song becoming platinum with the RIAA and Music Canada, it was also instrumental in the album becoming a four-time platinum seller with the RIAA and a five-time platinum seller with Music Canada. It was also named Single of the Year by the Academy of Country Music and a win for Iglesias and Nelson with the Country Music Association for Duo of the Year.
Feature Photo: Vicki L. Miller
Top 10 Julio Iglesias Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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