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Fania All Stars

The flagship act for Fania Records, the Fania All-Stars popularized New York salsa during the 1970s by organizing concerts at larger and larger venues (from the Red Garter in Greenwich Village all the way to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx) that spotlighted not only the label's but the salsa world's biggest stars -- Ray Barretto, Willie Colón, Johnny Pacheco, Rubén Blades, Hector Lavoe, Ismael Miranda, Cheo Feliciano, Bobby Cruz, Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez, and special guests like Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, and Eddie Palmieri. LPs by the collective were usually recorded live and featured long jams with plenty of space for solos for each of the salsa heroes on-stage at the time. Though the label management's quest for crossover success led to a few diluted major-label recordings during the late '70s and early '80s, infrequent events featuring the Fania All-Stars remained huge attractions into the late '90s.

Fania Records was formed in March 1964 by Johnny Pacheco and lawyer Jerry Masucci. Originally just a tiny independent, the label was distributed to local stores out of the trunk of Pacheco's car. By 1967, Masucci's intrepid management had begun to pay dividends. After LPs by Ray Barretto, Willie Colón, Joe Bataan, and Pacheco himself became popular within the New York salsa community, Masucci promoted a jam-session concert at the Red Garter. The Fania All-Stars' first two LPs, Live at the Red Garter, Vols. 1-2, were recorded that night, with guests including Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri. After sales proved slow outside New York, Masucci envisioned putting on another live show and filming the results. After negotiations to book the Fillmore East broke down, the Fania All-Stars appeared at the Cheetah in midtown Manhattan on August 26, 1971. Fans packed the club to more than twice capacity, and another pair of live LPs (Live at the Cheetah) followed. One year later, the results also appeared in the salsa documentary Our Latin Thing (Nuestra Cosa), along with interviews and footage from Spanish Harlem.

The film proved just the kick-start that the salsa scene needed. Wedged between recordings and appearances by individual group members, the Fania All-Stars played sell-out shows across North America, from Puerto Rico and Panama to Chicago. Then, on August 24, 1973, the salsa wave crested with the group's performance at New York's Yankee Stadium in front of 44,000 fans. In 1974, the group traveled to Zaire and performed before the Rumble in the Jungle, the notorious heavyweight title fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Another appearance at Yankee Stadium in 1975 was also recorded and (unsurprisingly) released as a pair of albums (Live at Yankee Stadium). Footage from both appearances at the venue were edited into the 1976 film Salsa, distributed by Columbia.

That same year, the Fania All-Stars made their studio debut with A Tribute to Tito Rodriguez. Masucci then used his connections with Columbia to negotiate a recording contract for a series of crossover albums he hoped would break the group (and the style) with mainstream audiences across the world. By the end of the '70s, the Fania All-Stars recorded four LPs for Columbia. For better or worse, the loose improvisational feel of their early live recordings had been sacrificed for a slick, studio-bound effect that placed emphasis on producers and engineers as well as high-profile guest slots from jazz fusion names like Bob James, David Sanborn, Maynard Ferguson, and Hubert Laws.

Though albums like 1977's Rhythm Machine did well with audiences not used to buying salsa, they failed to connect. Fania Records' fortunes began to decline by the beginning of the '80s, not just with potential mainstream listeners, but also with hardcore Latin lovers who had quickly moved from salsa to the new sounds of Dominican merengue. Masucci continued working in film, and produced a boxing film in 1983, The Last Fight (starring Rubén Blades as the protagonist and featuring Willie Colón as well).

The Fania All-Stars recorded eight studio albums during the 1980s, gradually moving from the overly polished sound of the late '70s to a more organic Latin jazz. In 1994, the group celebrated the 30th anniversary of Fania Records with live dates in San Juan, Miami, and New York. The Fania All-Stars continued to perform occasionally during the rest of the '90s. ~ John Bush, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Live At Yankee Stadium Vol II

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Track List: Live At Yankee Stadium Vol I

Comments

Those were the best days
����for ever Fania ) my dad always tell me good story about this amazing group
nancyweissbe i n
Those were the good days❤️
Como Cheo no habra otro con su gran voz y humildad de los mejores descanse en paz
como musico y persona cheo fue y sera el bolerista de America hoy mañana y ciempre
Fernando elrunberomay o r o y e l o q u e t e c o n v i e n e
Familia.como cheo no habran 2.ser humano que sudaba pura humildad.en el cielo hay otra fania all star.descans a en paz familia.
Wepa!! Conio esa no! Wepaaaaa :-*
OUR CONDOLENCES TO THE FELICIANO FAMILY..REST IN PEACE CHEO FELICIANO. ON BEHALF OF THE APONTE FAMILY, WE THANK YOU. YOU HAVE BEEN A GREAT PART OF OUR LIFE AND LATIN CULTURE. WORDS COULD NEVER DESCRIBE HOW YOUR LOVE AND DEDICATION TO THE ART OF SALASA MUSIC..PUERT O RICO AND THE LATIN COMMUNITY AROUND THE WORLD WILL NEVER FORGET YOU..WE LOVE YOU..YOU'LL BE MISSED.

MICKEY APONTE.
I love this version of this song
Sumba COCOLO!!!! ESTAMOS EN TALLA!!! ESTO ES DEL MUNDO.. PUERTORRO EN LA CASA
Love you Hector!!! Reminds me of being in Central Park on Sundays lisitening to the conga players. Ricans everywhere.. . . . playing handball, softball, and eating coquitos.
Legends! You'll never hear anything like this ever again...
WEEEEEEEPAAA A A A A cántalo Boricua
resszune72
This type of music makes me proud of being Latino
The best, wepaaaaaa :-*
haciendaflam b o y a n
WOW!!!!!!!!! ! ! : )
The best of the best salsa love it all
Fania rocks, wepaaaa!!!
nancyweissbe i n
I miss the Fania All stars it's the best now and forever gue viva PR and NY:)
For The all atar salsero And salsera!dont forget para baila la buena salsa se nesesita 2
Salsa is happy music as all salsero know, play on, wepa...
Brings me back to 70,80. The best in salsa. El conguero,(CH A P O ) :-)
FANIA- salsa de verdad
Love it !! Love it!! I was part of the scene in the 60 and 70's attending all the great dance halls and seeing these talented artist's perform live. while in college my music taste evolved to the Afro- Cuban jazz / straight ahead jazz genre's as well. I thank you for keeping this great sound a live and well for others to enjoy.
M.A.
Love their music!! Puts me in a good mood!!!
Saw them last at Madison Square Garden...... . . w o w what a show!!! I miss the Fania All Stars!! What a great era....
FANIA ALL STAR!!
Saw them in San Fransisco in 1979 they were awe some!!!!! Best concert I ever went to!!!!!
Fania,escuel a d la salsa!!,QUIE N TRAJERA,ESA SANDUNGA AHORA N LOS 2-MIL!!
I am not hispanic, but I certainly can appreciate the sweet sounds of yesteryears. I didn't grow up in the 70s but this music resonates in my soul. Love it!!!!
Fania = salsa verdadera¡!
Fania All-Stars were and still legends of all time------ Viva Panama
Smoking....w e p a . . . l o v e this....trem e n d o poeta......q u e viva..cheo.. . . . f r o m borinqen to spanish harlem..sout h bronx....wep a for real....
You had to b there Spanish Harlem 102-112th st the south Bronx is where it all really started esta Es verdad
You needed to be there to feel it taser it
You are rite Marisa B god blasé all of us.
Tuchoco25,yo u suck
So sorry reynitabxny but no soy quien lo dice es la historia escrita en pandora y lo q saben de salsa saben q Johnny pacheco start it out selling records from the trunk of his car. capeeche
esta es salsa de verdad salsa boricua
stickerj
San Juan 73 amazing record!!
Suck
The Fania-All Stars is one of the most iconic music gifts God has given humanity. La Panamena
NADIE COMENTA DEL NEWYORKER JOE BATAAN Y ESTE GRAN MUSICO ESTUVO AHI CON PACHECO, WILLIE COLON ,BARRETO, CUANDO LA FANIA SE ORIGINO
Masucci was a businessman and the bottom line was making money. These great singers and musicans were ripped off of their royalties, traveled under substandard conditiones and let's not forget that many club owners were drug dealers as well. Poor Hector Lavoe was pimped out by Ralph Mercado and Hector Maisonave when he appeared before the public with the Fania All-Stars @ the Meadowlands knowing he was to ill to sing.
So sorry tony pena but Pacheco did not create salsa. It was because of young talented Puerto Rican latinos from the ghettos of the South Bronx(my barrio), Spanish Harlem and Puerto Rico! Jerry Masucci and Johnny Pacheco made quite a bit of money off the love, sweat , and tears of these great musicians. We should not be ignorant of the times when drugs were rampant and Puerto Ricans were trusting. I lived and loved the 70's and 80's, El Hipocampo, The Village Gate, The Cheetah etc. but reality is
.rnprz26
I was a part of it down to being at the Yankee Stadium concert to dancing in the street or at a club, and you said it best You had to be part of it to understand it.salsa will never be the same. Me duele el alma con añoranzas de esos dias...:-(
everytime i hear salsa i think of u dad . miss u lots my n**ga on da the floor! joe black r.i.p poppi herm
You can only follow a few orchestras today that are still captivating. L a Sonora Poncena for example.papo Lucca has it.he still wants it.they are hot........
Must appreciate that old Salsa music from the 70's and 80's.Especia l l y Fania.Those days will never return.You had to be part of it to understand it.salsa will never be the same.Those guys opened the doors to latin music.God bless them.Must appreciate Pacheco and Jerry Massucci.the r e are only a few orchestras today that can still captivate.Th a t s right Orchestras,b e c a u s e they are big in sound and they were special musicians and soneros.You would be hard pressed today to find a sonero like Lavoe
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