In 1973, Mocedades competed at the Eurovision Song Contest with their anthem “Eres Tú.” The song didn’t win (it came second place) but it ended up becoming such a global hit that it made the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, a milestone for a Spanish group. Today (January 27), 50 years after its original release, Mocedades seeks to break generational barriers with a new version of their signature hit, featuring tenor Plácido Domingo.
Written by Juan Carlos Calderón, “Eres Tú” was translated into 70 languages (in English it was called “Touch the Wind”), sold one million copies in the U.S. alone and had an impressive run on the Billboard charts, debuting at No. 90 on the Hot 100 the week of January 12, 1974 and spending 17 consecutive weeks on the chart, where it peaked at No. 9 on March 23.
The new version of “Eres Tú” was produced by Jacobo Calderón, the son of Juan Carlos, who has given it new life with the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, the participation of Domingo and some modern touches, while still staying true to the original.
It’s all part of a big celebration for Mocedades, which last year released the album Infinito Duets (Fonovisa/Universal), where the group revisits its greatest hits along with Gloria Trevi, David Bisbal, Morat, Il Divo, Lucero, Arthur Hanlon, Pedro Fernández, David Bisbal, Ana Torroja and El Bebeto, among others.
After an Infinito Tour through Latin America and Spain, the group plans to release Infinito Duets 2, which guests including Marc Anthony. “Eres Tú” is the first single of this volume.
Billboard Español spoke exclusively with two essential members of Mocedades: Izaskun Uranga Amezaga, the only original founder member (with 55 years active with the band) and owner of the rights to the use of the name Mocedades worldwide, and José Miguel González Robles, a singer and manager who has taken on the task of modernizing the group, including with the Infinito Duets concept.
Why did you think of Plácido Domingo for the anniversary version of “Eres Tú”?
Izaskun: Because he has undoubtedly been the most international voice that Spain has ever had and the most universal voice in the Spanish language. He has sang on the most renowned world stages, and such an iconic song deserved a voice of such stature.
Were you concerned in any way that the accusations of harassment that Domingo has faced could harm the image of Mocedades?
Izaskun: We admire and love Plácido Domingo as a singer and we admire and love him as a person. Our contact with him has always been cordial, affectionate, respectful. I fully trust him and, above all, [we consider] one very important thing — the presumption of innocence. Plácido Domingo has not been tried, investigated or convicted.
Izaskun, you have been there since the foundation of Mocedades. Haven’t the long tours been exhausting for you?
Izaskun: As long as my voice and head don’t fail me, be it walking or pushing, I’ll keep singing until the end. I never plan to retire, nor has it crossed my mind.
Over the years, Mocedades has experienced a rotation of its members. Those who are no longer in Mocedades but were founders, do they have a profit share?
Izaskun: They have their share of percentage of royalties, a participation of the initial brand — but the rights to the exclusive use of the brand are in the name of Izaskun Uranga Amezaga.
José Miguel, you are a relatively new member, with a decade with Mocedades. Was it your idea to give the group a twist by recording these new versions?
José Miguel: They have called me the modernizer of Mocedades, but what I’ve tried to do in recent years is try to reach new generations with a concept of Mocedades adapted to the 21st century, not to feed on what we had. The concept has been that Jacobo Calderón, the son of the person who created the songs (Juan Carlos Calderón), adapts the songs so that 20-year-olds can find them fresh and current.
We have done everything. A record for Juan Luis Guerra, a symphonic record at the National Auditorium, two records have been made with mariachi — Por Amor A México y Por Amor A México Vol. 2 — and now the two Infinito Duets.
Has this new stage of Mocedades been intense work?
José Miguel: We have recorded many duets, so there’s a long way to go before the public knows about it. The title Infinito allows us to continue with the concept. All these years’ work is summarized in more than 600 performances around the world, more than 20 countries traveled, seven albums published, tours with people who are very important to us. With Armando Manzanero, for example, we toured for three years. And well, the stars that have been with us in more than 30 duets that we have already recorded.
Do you ever consider stopping to take a breather?
José Miguel: Not at all. Any fatigue is relegated to the background when you receive, touch, feel — but above all, are moved — by the loyalty and affection of so many Mexicans, Colombians, Peruvians, Uruguayans, Bolivians, Ecuadorians, Chileans, Argentines and Spaniards who continue to listen to our music. That is the greatest reward for hard work, for all those hours on airplanes, the waitings, or the bitter moments that you face sometimes.