José Alfredo Jiménez

Within the ranchera genre of Mexican music, José Alfredo Jiménez stood in a special cohort of incredibly prolific and dynamic songwriters. Jiménez was born in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico in 1926 and began his professional musical career early. When he was ten his parents died, he left school, and he subsequently formed a musical group with his friend Jorge Gabilondo Patiño. In the late 1940s, Jiménez formed a trio, Los Relendes, which was hired to perform regularly on the radio station XEM. Through his work with the radio station, Jiménez sang with many other luminaries in the contemporary Mexican music and film scene. In 1950 he saw notoriety when his song “Yo” was recorded by Andres Huesca y Sus Costeños. Through the success of this recording, Jiménez was introduced to the club promoter Mariano Rivera Conde, who hired Los Relendes. The band’s stint at Conde’s club resulted in a popularity with urban youth until the group broke up in 1953. As a solo artist, Jiménez continued to sing and would come to write over 1,000 songs despite no formal musical training. An alcoholic, Jiménez was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver in 1968 and succumbed to the disease in 1973. Posthumously, many compilations and tributes were dedicated to Jiménez, whose songs have been recorded by international artists consistently through the years.