Julio Iglesias turns 70 today (Sept. 23), and pop music’s archetypal Latin lover is still busy romancing fans around the world. The first U.S. date on his current international tour will be at Miami’s American Airlines Arena next February. He goes to Romania next month, and will finish up the year with concerts in Indonesia and Hong Kong.
Iglesias made this year’s Guinness Book of World Records. Citing sales of 300 million albums in 14 languages, Guinness named him “the biggest selling Latin artist in the world,” including him in the book for the second time. His albums have sold a total of 5.3 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen Soundscan.
While no other U.S. dates have been announced as yet, tickets for Iglesias’ Feb. 22 show in Miami are now on sale.
We celebrate Julio’s birthday by remembering a few of his most enduring songs:
“La Vida Sigue Igual”
The song that started it all for the former soccer player and law school grad: the then-unknown Iglesias won the 1968 Benidorm International Song Contest with “La Vida Sigue Igual.” Here a young — and barely tan — Julio sings a live big band arrangement of his first hit, complete with a string section. Without the dramatic synthesized accompaniment that has become his trademark, his easy vocal delivery paired with a shy smile are testament to his early seduction of massive (mostly female) audiences.
Catch Julio on the soccer field in footage of Franco-era Madrid in the intro to this video from the 1970 Eurovision song contest, his first big TV appearance. Although the singer finished 4th in the competition, this song about his love affair at age 20 with a French girl went to no. 1 in Spain.
The title track of Iglesias’ 1980 album is perhaps his most memorable song of all time, ushering in the sweeping chords and warbling voice that have defined his career.
“To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before”
Willie Nelson’s vocals overpowered Julio’s in this performance of the hit duet at FarmAid II in Austin in 1986, where the Spaniard’s preppy ensemble of double breasted blazer, button down and boat shoes seemed a bit, well, foreign, at the all-American event – even if he was wearing red, white and blue. Despite a struggle with his in-ear monitor, Iglesias smiled through it, seductive as ever.