Marc Anthony remembers legendary bandleader, producer and multi-instrumentalist Johnny Pacheco, who in 1964 co-founded Fania Records, which became so influential that a Fania All-Stars concert sold out Yankee Stadium in 1973. He was one of the leading architects of salsa music and helped launch the careers of Willie Colón, Héctor Lavoe and Ruben Blades. Pacheco died Feb. 15, at the age of 85.
Johnny's music was the soundtrack of my life growing up in New York, and I had the opportunity to get to know him well. He welcomed me, my music and what I had to offer with arms wide open.
His willingness to fuse many musical languages created this beautiful music the world now knows as salsa. It definitely set the groundwork for the music that I — and countless others — do today. Johnny Pacheco created a movement. One of the many things I cherish of our times together was his humor, his ability to make you laugh. He was a storyteller on and offstage, and one of my heroes: a musical genius and maestro de maestros.