Romance song master Armando Manzanero dies at 85
By Elsa Velázquez Santiago
Special to The Star
2020 took away another big star. A huge one. Yet his legacy will keep living and his romantic lyrics will keep inspiring.
Mexican singer-songwriter Armando Manzanero, known as the king of romanticism, ballads and boleros, died Monday from COVID-19 after having been intubated for several days in a Mexico City hospital.
The president of the Society of Authors and Composers of Mexico died from complications of the coronavirus, according to several Mexican media outlets. On Sunday he showed slight signs of recovery, and at one point was on a ventilator.
Manzanero’s manager, Laura Blum, said he died of complications from a kidney problem.
After the news was known, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador had a few words of recognition for the artist as he ended his Monday morning press conference.
“I perceived as never before that Armando Manzanero was a man of the people; that is why I am very sorry for his death. A great composer, [and] also a representative of authors and composers from Mexico,” the president said. “We send to his family and friends, to all the singer-songwriters, our condolences for this unfortunate loss for the artistic world, and I no longer want to continue with this press conference and nothing else ends.”
Manzanero was a crooner best known for songs such as “Somos Novios,” which, with lyrics translated into English, became the 1968 hit “It’s Impossible” for Perry Como, and later, in 1972, sung by the King of Rock ’N’ Roll, Elvis Presley.
Manzanero was also the author of classics of Mexican romantic music, such as “Somos novios,” “Voy a apagar la luz,” “Contigo aprendí,” “Te Extraño,” “Esta tarde vi llover,” “Adoro,” “Mía” and “No.” He sang his own creations, but others also made hits of them. Voices from all around the world performed Manzanero’s tunes. He wrote more than 400 songs.
Local artists reacted to Manzanero’s passing. Salsa singer Gilberto Santa Rosa posted on Facebook and Twitter: “The music is dressed in mourning once more. Master Armando Manzanero, the creator of the romantic song, a genius of popular music, says goodbye. His musical legacy will be in charge of keeping the memory of him alive. Fly high Master!”
For her part, singer Ednita Nazario condemned the virus that right now covers the whole world and thanked the musician for his career.
“I don’t forgive you, you horrible virus,” Nazario said on her Twitter account. “You take the romance made music. My admired and adored teacher Armando Manzanero.”
“Always and forever, his hymns to his love will live in us and in every being that believes in love,” she added. “Thank you, teacher of teachers!”
Other artists such as Ricky Martin, Pedro Capó, Marc Anthony and Kany García also posted their messages of mourning over the sudden death of the Mexican composer.
Manzanero was born in Mérida, Yucatán, on Dec. 7, 1935, according to the biography published by the Society of Authors and Composers of Mexico.
In 2014, in conjunction with the GRAMMY Awards, the Recording Academy in the United States recognized Manzanero with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his artistic career. He was the first Mexican to receive that recognition.
The last public appearance of Manzanero was on Dec. 11 in Mérida, where he inaugurated the Casa Manzanero Museum. He had several ex-wives, seven children and 16 grandchildren, all of whom survived him.
At press time, it was being reported that his family will not hold a funeral.
Manzanero’s songs from 60 years ago still live. The legacy of one of the biggest, brightest balladeers for music and hopeless romantics still remains.