Lucho Gatica

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Lucho Gatica

Luis Enrique Lucho Gatica Silva (Rancagua, August 11, 1928) is a Chilean bolero singer and actor. He is the father of Mexican actor Luis Gatica and uncle of Chilean music producer Humberto Gatica.

Lucho_Gatica’s Biography

Origins and early life (1928-1946)

His parents were Agustín Gatica, merchant and small farmer, and Juana Silva. After the death of his father, which occurred on February 10, 1933, he suffered many deprivations in his childhood, as did his seven brothers.

It was Arturo Gatica, ten years older and who had started his musical career towards 1938, who promoted the first musical steps of his brother. Lucho Gatica studied at the O’Higgins Institute in Rancagua, dependent on the Catholic congregation of the Marist Brothers, and in 1941 he began to sing in gymnastics magazines and on the radio in Rancagua, a duo with his brother, at thirteen. In 1943, he recorded the first record of his life: an acetate recorded on the same radio with three tunes, one of them called “Negra del alma”, and accompanied by the guitars of two friends: Antonio Muñoz and Ernesto Rossón.

Arturo also welcomed Lucho when he arrived in Santiago in 1945, when he was enrolled in the Alonso de Ercilla Institute, also dependent on the Marist Brothers, where he had among his companions Andrés Zaldívar, future figure of Chilean politics. A year later, in 1946, the student Gatica also enrolled in the Industrial School № 2 of Santiago to qualify for the technical title of dental mechanic. At the same time, Arturo took his brother to the Radio Mining station to present him to the announcer Raúl Matas, who had the program La feria de los deseos. At eighteen, Lucho Gatica sang “Tú, donde estás”.

Debut and first hits (1946-1953)

Lucho Gatica.

In 1949, Raúl Matas managed his first recording, a duet with Arturo Gatica and the accompaniment of the Rey-Silva Duo. The brothers recorded four tunes on a 78 RPM record for the Chilean subsidiary of the Odeón label. These had the titles “The martyrdom”, “You who are selling flowers”, “The game” and “Tilín tolón”.

Always in a paternal role, Arturo urged his brother to finish his career, and in fact the diploma that proves his title of Dental Mechanic was delivered on July 31, 1951, but the space that corresponded to the signature of “interested” (title applicant) went blank. The duo of the Gatica brothers managed to appear on the cover of the Ecran magazine in huasos attire.

In the 1950s, Chile experienced a musical change when the bolero over tango prevailed as the favorite musical genre. In 1951, Lucho met Cuban singer Olga Guillot in Santiago and recorded with Don Roy’s orchestra. His simple CD with the song “Piel Canela” (1951), composed by the Puerto Rican Bobby Capó and first recorded by him with the Sonora Matancera, became a great success in all of Latin America.


Through the speaker Raúl Matas, Lucho Gatica met in Santiago the Los Peregrinos Trio, which backed the Bolivian singer Raúl Shaw Moreno with their voices and guitars, as well as the Chileans Fernando Rossi and Pepe González. Gatica decided to record with the support of the group the boleros “Contigo en la distancia”, by the Cuban César Portillo de la Luz, and “Sinceridad” by the Nicaraguan Rafael Gastón Pérez, for the Chilean subsidiary of the Odeón label. Later, Gatica recorded, this time with the orchestra of the British Maestro Roberto Inglez, his version of Consuelo Velázquez’s song, “Bésame mucho”, in 1953, year in which he produced two more songs, “Las chicas de la Plaza España” and the mentioned, “Sincerity”.

International Fame (1953-2000)

I fight Gatica in the 2000s.

In 1956, he began a tour abroad that took him to Venezuela. In 1957, Gatica decided to move to Mexico, a country that would become very important in her life. There he launched “Do not tell me”, “You got used to me” and “I’m going to turn off the light”, the latter launched in 1959. By those years, it was already well known in the artistic circles in the US that the MGM organized some protocol visits with the most celebrated personalities of the show at the world level, including Elvis Presley, [citation required] and bolerist Nat King Cole, [citation required]. [citation required] In 1958, the first album was presented in LP format of Gatica. Two of his three albums released that year were compilations of his best known recordings in 78 RPM format, the third was called Encadenados.

Later, Gatica decided to reside permanently in Mexico, and there she married on May 21, 1960, with the Puerto Rican actress María del Pilar Mercado, artistically known as Mapita Cortés, who also lived in that country. which lasted 18 years, the couple had five children, among them the eldest son, Luis Antonio Gatica Cordero (born in 1961), actor, and the youngest, Alfredo Gatica Cordero, musical producer. After the divorce, Gatica moved to the United States. His second marriage was with an American model whom he met at the beginning of the 1980s, with whom he was married for six years and with whom he had his sixth daughter, Luciana. After the separation, in 1986 he married his current wife, Leslie, twenty years younger, with whom he procreated his youngest daughter, Lily Gatica.

In 1961, Lucho Gatica began to manifest the first vocal problems, a wear that would accentuate in the following years and that would affect his low record production.

In 1995 he received a great tribute in Miami, from diverse artists such as Monna Bell, Celia Cruz, Rafael Basurto (Los Panchos), Olga Guillot, Juan Gabriel and José José. In 1996 he served as president of the jury of the XXXVII International Song Festival of Viña del Mar, in Chile. During this event, Juan Gabriel -who participated as a guest artist- pays him a tribute again while he plays a medley with the popular Chilean songs “I sell some black eyes / Ende that I saw you”.

Recent years (2000 -)

Lucho Gatica with President Sebastián Piñera (2011).

In August 2000, Gatica received a tribute in Rancagua, his hometown. In 2002, Lucho Gatica was invited to the XLIII International Song Festival of Viña del Mar where he received a tribute with the singer and composer Antonio Prieto Days later, on March 1, received from the Government of Chile the Order of Merit Gabriela Mistral , for his contribution to Chilean music history, that same year, he released his greatest hits album, 50 immortal songs.

It was not until 2007 that Gatica was reunited with the Chilean public, thanks to her participation as a jury in the franchise contest program Singing for a Dream, broadcast on Channel 13, where she was honored again. That same year, Gatica signed a recording contract with the company Aurafonic Records to produce an album of several successful tracks and unpublished material that, according to her, would be her last album, even though her voice was already in decline. In November 2007 he received the “Latin Grammy Award for Excellence”, along with other outstanding artists, and in December 2007 he launched his own line of wines called “Lucho Gatica es bolero”.

On January 25, 2008, Gatica was immortalized in a star (number 2354) of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, being the second Chilean-after Don Francisco-to receive such recognition.

In 2010 he participated in the album DJ Who presents 2000-2009 of “Dj Who”, sharing the stage with rap performers Anita Tijoux and Solo di Medina in a new version of his classic song “Sólo tú”. [Quote required]

In 2013 he released the album Historia de un amor, which features new versions of boleros that sing in duo with world music figures such as Laura Pausini, Nelly Furtado and Michael Bublé, among others.

More Facts about Lucho Gatica

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