This Top 10 Vicente Fernandez Songs list presents the best Vicente Fernandez Songs from one of the most popular mexican singers of all time. Born in 1940, Vicente Fernandez Gomez grew up as the son of a Mexican rancher, often accompanying his mother as a small child to watch movies starring his childhood idols, Pedro Ifante and Jorge Negrete. Inspired by their performances, he vowed he would grow up to be just like them. At the age of eight years old, he was given his first guitar. As he learned how to play it, he also studied folk music songs. This came in handy as he and his family struggled to make ends meet, which saw them move into the city of Tijuana, Mexico.
As a teenager, Fernandez worked various jobs to help the family make ends meet. Wherever he worked, he sang, which made him highly sought after by construction companies just to have him around as a worker. When he was fourteen years old, he began singing in restaurants and weddings, often joining mariachi groups. On one fateful day, he participated in a radio program that earned him enough recognition that won him a television appearance on the La calandria musical show at the age of twenty-one years old.
Two days after Christmas day in 1963, Vicente Fernandez Gomez married Maria del Refugio Abarca Villasenor, who birthed him a premature son. Due to lack of finances, the infant needed to be incubated at home. In 1965, Fernandez moved to Mexico City in hopes to further pursue his music career. At first, this was not a successful endeavor as all the popularity poured on the nation’s rising star at the time, Javier Solis. As a means to compensate, Fernandez sang in a program that was featured on Mexico’s biggest radio station at the time, XEX-AM.
A few days after Solis’ premature death in 1966, Fernandez received his first round of offers to record studio albums. The first of his record labels was with CBS Records International, a Mexican branch of the big entertainment corporation. It would be through this label he would realize his dream, thanks to three successful studio albums, Soy de Abajo, Ni en Defensa Propia, and Palabra de rey. This marked the beginning of Fernandez to become a cultural icon in his home nation as his impressive record of musical recordings and television appearances turned him into a household name. The nicknames he’s earned for himself have been “Chente,” “El charro de Huentitan,” “El Idolo de Mexico (Idol of Mexico),” and “El Rey de la Musica Ranchera (King of Ranchera Music).”
At thirty-three years old, the long wait for Vicente Fernandez Gomez finally paid off in 1973 when the death of Jose Alfredo Jimenez saw fans of the rancheras music genre shift focus to Fernandez as a reference point. Jimenez was a national icon, even for Fernendez. Starting in 1976, his popularity catapulted even further when his musical performances reached an audience that extended beyond his home nation’s borders. This led to an eventual style change in the 1980s as Fernandez switched from his bolero ranchero trademark to a ranchera that was focused on migration. This served as a genius career move as this caused his popularity to soar even higher.
Vicente Fernandez Gomez performed his first tour outside Mexico and U.S.A. in 1987 when he held concerts in Bolivia and Colombia. From there, he continued to record and tour, becoming better known by an audience that reached around the globe. By 1991, he was regarded as the Mexican version of Frank Sinatra. Despite the fame of Fernandez, he was not immune to tragic events.
In 1998, his elder son, Vicente Jr., was kidnapped by the criminal organization, Mocho Dedos. They demanded a ransom of five million dollars that saw Gomez pay $3.2 million USD so they would release his son. Vicente Jr. was found abandoned outside the family ranch four months later with two of his fingers cut off. Unknown to the police at the time, Gomez cooperated with the criminals while he and his other son, Alejandro, performed at concerts as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Finally, in 2008, the police caught up with the kidnappers and had them sentenced to fifty years in prison. Three years later, in 2011, Vicente Fernandez Gomez performed the opening ceremony of the Pan American Games that was hosted in Guadalajara. In addition to performing his own music, he also sang his nation’s national anthem before a live and a worldwide televised audience.
Vicente Fernandez Gomez Legacy
During the career span of Vicente Fernandez Gomez, he earned himself three Grammy Awards, nine Latin Grammy Awards, and fourteen Lo Nuestro Awards. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Although he officially retired from performing live in 2016, he continued to record and publish music until the day of his death, December 12, 2021. He sold over sixty-five million records during his five decades’ worth of recording music.
He has over eighty albums and three hundred songs to his credit, many of which have earned awards and accolades. From those awards, there were three Grammys. The first was in 2010 for Necesito de Ti as Best Regional Mexican Album, followed in 2015 for Mano a Mano – Tangos a la Manera de Vicente Fernandez as Best Regional Mexican Album (including Tejano). The third was also for Best Regional Mexican Album (including Tejano) in 2017 with Un Azteca En El Azteca, Vol. 1 (En Vivo).
Top 10 Vicente Fernandez Gomez Songs
#10 – Somos El Mundo 25 Por Haiti
After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Vincent Fernandez Gomez became one of the fifty Latin performers that collaborated in the charity single, “Somos El Mundo 25 Por Haiti,” which is a Latino cover version to the 1985 original, “We Are the World.” He, along with a number of big stars such as Gloria Estefan, Pitbull, Jon Secada, and Shakira, just to name a few, all lent their voices to contribute to a single that won 2010’s Premio Juventud Award for La Combinacion Perfecta (The Perfect Combination).
#9 – Hoy Platique Con Mi Gallo
“Hoy Platique Con Mi Gallo” was a 1986 masterpiece that poked fun at the problematic celebration of rooster fighting, even going as far as to challenge the sanity of pitting chickens against each other to fight to the death. Both the album and the song share the same name, which means “Today I Talked With My Rooster.”
#8 – La Ley del Monte
1975’s “La Ley del Monte” illustrated that even with the fame and fortune that was turning Vicente Fernandez Gomez into a superstar that he was still a humble country boy at heart. What made the music of Fernandez so appealing was more than just the brilliance of his voice. It was the delivery of the lyrical stories, including comical ones. In the case of “La Ley del Monte,” the “Law of the Hill” tale of farm animals and horses was popular enough to find itself in soundtracks and parodies.
#7 – Tu Camino y el Mío (featuring Felipe Arriaga)
In 1969, Vicente Fernandez released the song, “Tu Camino y el Mio,” which in English is “Your Way and Mine.” The mournful instruments play on as Fernandez lyrically communicates his frenzied depression as the tragic hero of a story, reeling over the loss of a woman who left him, broken and empty. In the chorus, Felipe Arriaga chimed in, matching Fernandez’s baritone, lifted “Tu Camino y el Mio” to new heights that served as notice that a yet-to-be-discovered Fernandez was about to take the world by storm with his lyrical genius.
#6 – Mujeres Divinas
In 1993, “Mujeres Divinas” was a slow and sultry ballad that featured Vicente Fernandez lament as a man suffering a great defeat that has ripped his heart apart. Singing as a singer from a cantina, he’s backed by muted trumpets and rolling guitars when asked to stop just before an argument ensues about who is hurting more over “Divine Women.”
#5 – Volver Volver
In 1976, “Volver Volver” became that one song that catapulted the fame of Vicente Gomez to new heights as his fame stretched beyond the Mexican border and into America, as well as other surrounding nations. Since then, this song has been covered by many singers, including Ry Cooder, Nana Mouskouri, and Chavela Vargas. The song and album first came out in 1972. The album’s title was Arriba Huentitlan!, which is translated as Long Live Huentitlan! This was the name of Fernandez’s hometown. “Volver Volver” was a heart-wrenching weeper as the soulful cry to “return return” served as a ballad, worshipping the traits and cities of a beloved land.
#4 – Por Tu Maldito Amor
“Por Tu Maldito Amor” was ranchera music at its finest as Vicente Fernandez delivered this heartbreak ballad that still makes it hard to listen to without the urge to shed at least a single tear. Fernandez was already a master of ballads from the beginning but “Por Tu Maldito Amor” took that mastery to an entirely new level with the crying voice in his lyrics that made this song seem so tender.
#3 – La Ley Del Monte
Between the battling violins and trumpets and the gripping lyrics performed by Vicente Fernandez, “La Ley Del Monte” served as a song of sweet revenge that also served as an ode to the ranchero way of life. This is one of those crank it up and get into the feel of an action-themed song that’s beautifully designed to entertain. In English, “La Ley Del Monte” means “By Your Damn Love.”
#2 – El Ray
Vicente Fernandez was like many Mexican fans of Jose Alfredo Jimenez who loved the iconic rancheras legend and his music. From the 1979 album, Las Batas de Charro, Fernandez covered the original Jimenez “El Ray” song. This Mexican version of “My Way,” which was written before Paul Anka’s hit single, saw one of the few occasions the lyrical performance of Fernandez outdid Jimenez’s original rendition. This song is not just popular in Mexico, but in the U.S. The NFL team, Dallas Cowboys, had been known to play “El Ray” on occasion.
#1 – Los Mandalos
“Los Mandalos” was a song that directly referenced the migration of Mexicans into the United States. It also brought about the reproduction of macho-like and patriotic stereotypes that became prominent in movies and television as of the 1980s. The comedic-style delivery Vicente Fernandez brought to “Los Mandalos” not only sounded, but displayed itself as a Mexican version of a Smokey and the Bandit episode. This song was instrumental in doing more than come across as a cult classic, but bring about social-political awarenesses that didn’t receive much thought beforehand. Most of Fernandez’ fans will argue “Los Mandalos” is his signature song.
Feature Photo: RGR MARIACHI, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Top 10 Vicente Fernandez Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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