By Chris King •
Updated: 24 Sep 2023 • 14:01
Image of Julio Iglesias.
Credit: Alejandro Vilar/Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication
THIS Saturday, September 23, marked the 80th birthday of one of Spain’s most celebrated entertainers, the legendary Julio Iglesias.
The international superstar’s glittering musical career really took off after his performance was seen on television sets all over Europe when he represented his country in the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest.
Julio is probably Spain’s most famous global musical export, having chalked up album sales in the millions across the world, recording songs in many languages.
Born in the Madrid district of Lavapiés, there was no sign at an early age of the greatness that was to come. Julio’s only passion as a teenager was football after his father gave him his first ball.
At the age of 16, Julio started playing in his local youth team as a goalkeeper. However, any burning ambitions he might have held of becoming a Real Madrid player were tragically cut short in 1962 when he suffered an awful car accident just one day before his birthday.
Maybe the accident was his destiny calling because, during the time he spent recuperating in a hospital, Julio discovered music.
While in the medical facility, Julio picked up a guitar and wrote ‘La Vida Sigue Igual’ (Life Continues The Same). He would later perform this song in 1969 with Los Gritos at the Benidorm Festival to great acclaim.
Aged only 24, Julio Iglesias quickly began to make a name for himself in the music industry, his talent was undeniable. He had his first million-selling hit with “Un Canto A Galicia”, a song dedicated to his father. He subsequently toured all over the world, even selling out Madison Square Garden in New York.
Forty years ago, Julio was handed the Diamond Record Award by the Guinness Book of World Records in recognition of recording more discs in foreign languages than any other singer in history. Another notable achievement is that of being the most successful Latin recording artist in history.
The 80-year-old has been a great reference for many of the Spanish pop stars who followed in his giant footsteps, none more so than his son, Enrique, who also became a massive international singing star.
Although there has been no official retirement announcement, Julio has not indicated any imminent desire to return to the stage or to record new songs. His back catalogue of hits is immense and at 80 years of age, he is truly one of the great legends of music.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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