One of the greatest figures in salsa music, Puerto Rican sonero Héctor Juan Pérez Martínez was born on this day in 1946. Born in Ponce PR, Héctor Lavoe was childhood friends with Papo Lucca.
He moved to NYC at 16, joined Willie Colón's revolutionary band and they proceeded to slay their way to the top of the salsa world. With a smash band, he was thrown into a lifestyle of hard drugs and partying. Combined with several tragedies in his family and community, his habits started catching up to him. In '73 he started his solo career and he had a run with the Fania All-Stars during their biggest years. He also worked with Johnny Pacheco, Tito Puente and Kako. His body destroyed by drugs, he died of AIDS in '93.
His vocal command and delivery, his showmanship, as well as his ability to improvise, turned him into the biggest salsa superstar in the world. "El Cantante", "Hacha y Machete", "Sonero Mayor", "El Malo", "Juana Peña", "Mi Gente", "Calle Luna Calle Sol", "El Sabio", "Aguanile", "Che Che Colé", "La Murga", "Isla Del Encanto".