Puerto Rican super-sonero Jose Cheo Feliciano passed away on April 17 in a fatal car accident. He was 78. He was born in Ponce, PR in 1936, but moved to New York with his family at age 17. It was there that he became known as a singer, coming up with the Tito Rodriguez Orchestra, finding his voice with the Joe Cuba Sextet, and gaining worldwide fame with the Fania Allstars. Below are six of his biggest hits; although only one is composed by Cheo, they are among his musical calling cards and will remain in the canon from now until salsa music loses relevance, which will hopefully be never.
“A Las Seis” (composer Jimmy Sabater) with Joe Cuba Sextet, 1962:
“El Ratón” (composer Cheo Feliciano) with Joe Cuba Sextet, 1964:
“Busca Lo Tuyo” (composer Marcelino Guerra) with Eddie Palmieri, 1968:
“Anacaona” (composer Tite Curet Alonso) with Fania Allstars (Live 1971, part of the film Our Latin Thing)
Cheo was also a very skilled bolero singer, as evidenced on this track “Mi Triste Problema” (composer Tite Curet Alonso) from his first album as a solo artist, Cheo, in 1972:
“Sobre una Tumba Humilde” (composer Tite Curet Alonso), 1980:
Rest In Power, Cheo!