Adeli’s Music Blog

Un, Dos, Tres…

Posted in music by adeli on October 22, 2007

Surely one of the most exhilarating moments on a Grammy Awards show was Ricky Martin’s live performance of “The Cup of Life” in 1999. It earned him a standing ovation, and a few minutes later, he won a Grammy for his Latin album, Vuelve. His performance left everyone in awe, turned on, and wanting more. Some said, “Who is that guy?” While others said, “Hey, that’s Ricky from Menudo!” It was at that moment that he went from being known solely in the Spanish music world to becoming a superstar around the globe.

My first exposure to Ricky Martin was when he was part of the Puerto Rican group, Menudo. Menudo was among the original boy bands. It didn’t consist of brothers like The Jackson Five or The Osmonds, but it had just as many, if not more, girls swooning over their dance moves and adolescent voices. Menudo changed its members as the teens’ voices changed from boy to man. Ricky’s heyday in that group was during the late 80s.

I met Ricky in 1987. My neighbors, Elena and Kiri, and their friends were Menudomaniacs, and introduced me to the phenomenon. I didn’t understand the appeal, because at the time, I wasn’t into Latin music at all, certainly not bubblegum pop, and I was on my way out of the teen years. But little by little, I was sucked in, and enjoyed seeing my younger friends getting so excited, and I’m not kidding when I say excited, about these guys. That summer, my friends found out through an ‘inside source’ that Menudo was staying at the River Parc Hotel in downtown Miami and that if we showed up there, we could meet them. I was older, not necessarily wiser, but I could do something they could not. I could drive and had my own car! So, I was begged to go on a Menudo hunt. And it actually worked. We waited and waited with no other fans to compete with, and they arrived, wearing acid washed jeans and jackets. Ricky was among them, and the four of us spent some time with the five of them. After twenty minutes or so, their handler told us the boys had to leave, so we said goodbye. Ricky gave me a kiss on the cheek and said, “I’ll see you at the concert when we come back to Miami.”I wasn’t planning on going to the concert, but as the one closest to adulthood, I was the designated chaperone for my younger friends. So, on the night of the concert, I drove 8 others and myself in a car that should really only carry 5 people. At the concert, I kept my distance from the craziness and waited around towards the back for everything to end. I could hardly see above the crowds anyway. But in the end, it worked out wonderfully for my friends because again, we were let in on the whereabouts of the boys after the concert. My friends got to meet them again, and I opted to wait around in the hotel lobby.

Ricky became a solo artist some years later, and I liked his music much more. He was singing ballads and some very upbeat songs that would later become English hits for him when he made his mark with “Livin’ The Vida Loca.” Interestingly enough, one of his producers and the composer of “Vida Loca” and several of his English hits is Robie Rosa, a fellow Menudo. Although his English songs are catchy, his strength lies in his native Spanish.

His standout album is definitely the Grammy-winning Vuelve. It has Maria, from which the title of this post comes from. It also has La Bomba, the ballad Vuelve, Por Arriba Por Abajo, La Copa de La Vida, and other great tunes. There are English versions to several of his songs, which is nice, but in no way are they as caliente as the originals. Another recommended album is Almas del Silencio. That too has great songs like Besos de Fuego (my favorite), Jaleo, and Razas de Mil Colores. Elena, Kiri, and I saw Ricky in Miami for his Livin’ The Vida Loca concert in 1999, and it was two hours of dancing and screaming. We were happy he had made it this far.

I saw Ricky again last year here in New York City. It took place on December 8, which was the coldest day last year. But, since it was Ricky and general admission, the girls were happy to wait all day in 6-degree weather! My friend and I arrived an hour or so before the show to stand in a line that went to the end of the block and around Broadway. It was my friend’s first Spanish concert and she didn’t understand the craze, plus we were freezing our butts off. Thankfully the temperature had risen to a warmer 20 degrees. I bought two photos of Ricky with the Puerto Rican flag. One I handed to Margarita as a souvenir of her first (and probably last) Ricky concert, and the other I sent to my friend Elena in Miami. The temperature inside: at least 100 degrees. No seats, just mobs of us standing and dancing for about an hour and a half. In the crowd, there were not only screaming girls – some with their boyfriends – but also Americans who didn’t espeak a word of Español, but were enthralled when he started dancing. It was a great time, mostly because he performed the songs that his true fans know and love and not just the hits that aren’t necessarily his best. Was it worth the $100 tickets? Si!


If you want to relive that Grammy moment, click here.

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