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Julio Iglesias – The King of Latin Pop

Full Name Julio José Iglesias de la Cueva
Age 79
Birthday September 23, 1943
Born In Madrid, Spain
Net Worth $600 Million
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Julio Iglesias
With a career spanning over five remarkable decades, Julio Iglesias has cemented himself as one of the most successful and iconic figures in Latin music history. Often referred to as the King of Latin Pop, Iglesias has sold over 300 million records worldwide, recorded over 80 albums, and performed live for more than 60 million elated fans across five continents.

Born in 1943 in the middle of World War II, Julio Iglesias grew up in Madrid, Spain in a well-to-do family. His father Julio Iglesias Sr. was a gynecologist, while his mother Maria del Rosario de la Cueva y Perignat came from a family of nobility. Music was deeply ingrained in Iglesias from childhood – his father also had a passion for music and played piano. Julio started playing guitar at the young age of 7, and penned his first song at 8!

From Football Dreams to Music

As a teenager, Iglesias enrolled at the Complutense University of Madrid to study law. During this time, he also cultivated a keen interest in football (soccer). Iglesias played as a goalkeeper for Real Madrid‘s reserve team in the late 1960s, putting him on track for a lucrative professional football career.

However, fate intervened in 1963 when a terrible car accident left 19-year-old Iglesias bedridden for nearly two years. The crash derailed his budding football career, but ignited his lifelong musical passion. While recovering, Iglesias taught himself to play guitar and began writing songs prolifically.

In 1968, Iglesias entered the Benidorm International Song Festival on a whim and won first prize with his song "La Vida Sigue Igual." This surprising victory sealed his destiny as a singer-songwriter. Iglesias signed with Discos Columbia and released his debut album Yo Canto in 1969. It became an instant smash hit in Spain, selling over a million copies. The world had gained a bright new Latin pop star.

From Spanish Stardom to Global Sensation

Buoyed by his early success, Iglesias doubled down on his budding music career in the 1970s. He expanded his repertoire by recording popular Italian and French pop ballads, as well as tango and folk songs in Argentinian Spanish. His soulful crooning and passion-filled performances quickly won over international audiences.

Iglesias‘ concert tours in the 70s spanned everywhere from Latin America and Europe to countries as far away as Japan and the Soviet Union. In 1976, he made his English language debut with A Flor de Piel. The crossover album featured tracks like "Hey" and cemented his status as a true global pop sensation.

The 1980s saw Iglesias achieve even greater worldwide fame. He recorded unforgettable duets with superstars like Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and Willie Nelson. His 1987 album Un Hombre Solo remains his best-selling album globally, selling over 15 million copies worldwide. He also won his first and only Grammy in 1988 for the song "Un Amor." Clearly, Iglesias had developed into a true force of nature in pop music.

The Passion Continues

Even after establishing himself as the top Latin pop artist in the world, Julio Iglesias never slowed down his prodigious output. He continued releasing bestselling albums and performing sold-out tours all through the 1990s and 2000s. Some highlights from this period include:

  • Winning the coveted World Music Award for Best Selling Latin Performer in 1996.
  • Releasing his first album in Portuguese in 1998.
  • Selling-out a series of concerts at New York‘s prestigious Radio City Music Hall in 1984, 1990 and 2004.
  • Performing for the Pope and a TV audience of 800 million at the Vatican in 2003.
  • Releasing Noche de Cuatro Lunas, his first album in Spanish in over a decade, in 2000.

Even today, at 79 years young, the indefatigable Julio Iglesias continues recording new music and selling out arenas – proof of his enduring musical brilliance.

The Essence of his Music

Armed with his smooth, nuanced tenor voice and gift for evocative lyrics, Julio Iglesias became a master of the love ballad across languages. Some all-time favorites include:

  • "Begin the Beguine" – This wistful rendition of the Cole Porter classic became one of Iglesias‘ signature songs.
  • "To All The Girls I‘ve Loved Before" – His magical duet with Willie Nelson gave him his first #1 hit single in the UK and US.
  • "Hey" – The upbeat opening track from A Flor de Piel that launched Iglesias‘ English career.
  • "Me Va, Me Va" – Catchy folksy track that highlighted Iglesias‘ talent for world music.
  • "Abrazame" – One of his most romantic ballads, delivered with deep longing and emotion.

While known for pop ballads, Iglesias‘ repertoire also boasts tango, bossa nova, Broadway classics, folk, light rock and much more. His ability to cross genres adds to his timeless, universal appeal.

Accolades for an Icon

In a remarkable career exceeding 50 years, Julio Iglesias has earned numerous honors and accolades including:

  • Entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for best-selling Latin artist ever, with over 300 million records sold globally.
  • Inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013.
  • Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1985.
  • Made Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters of France, the country‘s top cultural award, in 1990.
  • Won the Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album in 1998.
  • Honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards from the World Music Awards (2010) and the Latin Grammys (2014).

Clearly, Julio Iglesias‘ magical music and decades of passion have made him a true icon cherished globally.

The Heart Behind the Music

Though intensely private, some glimpses into Julio Iglesias‘ personal life make him even more endearing.

His first marriage to Filipina socialite Isabel Preysler lasted 8 years (1971 to 1979) and they had three children – Chabeli, Julio Jr. and Enrique. The latter, Enrique Iglesias, also grew up to become a massively successful global pop star.

In 2010, after over 30 blissful years together, Iglesias married his longtime partner, Dutch model Miranda Rijnsburger. They have five children together – Miguel, Rodrigo, twins Cristina and Victoria, and Guillermo. Iglesias has often credited his family as his deepest inspiration in life and music.

His son Julio Iglesias Jr. once remarked, "My father is shy. He doesn‘t like parties. He loves watching old movies from the 1940s. He loves to be with his family and just relax." The real Julio Iglesias behind the superstar myth seems to be a family man at heart!

The Legacy of a Latin Legend

Spending six wonderful decades growing up with Julio Iglesias‘ music, one realizes why he so richly deserves his moniker as the King of Latin Pop:

  • Timeless Discography – Many of Iglesias‘ songs like "Begin the Beguine" or "To All The Girls I Loved Before" retain their magic and appeal decades later.
  • Universal Appeal – By performing in diverse languages, his music resonated across continents making him truly global.
  • Charming Stage Presence – Iglesias‘ smooth style and charm on stage solidified his reputation as Latin music‘s greatest ambassador.
  • Tireless Dedication – Even at 79, his tireless energy on tour and in the studio is inspiring.
  • Soulful Versatility – Though known for pop ballads, Iglesias masterfullycovered everything from folk to show tunes.

In summary, as his ardent fan for so many years, I believe very few musicians have entranced listeners across cultures the way Julio Iglesias consistently did. His musical brilliance and enduring warmth will continue captivating audiences worldwide for decades to come.