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2 October 1947

Massiel (real name: María de los Ángeles Santamaría Espinosa) was born in Madrid. She had contact with singers and groups from her early sixties since her father Emilio Santamaria was an artistic manager. At a young age, she decided to become a singer, actress and a songwriter. Her first recordings were released in 1966: 'Di que no', 'No sé porqué', 'Llueve', 'No comprendo', 'Y sabes qué vi', 'Rufo el pescador', 'Aleluya' and 'El era mi amigo'. The song 'Rosas en el mar' written by her friend Luis Eduardo Aute in 1967 established her as a singer in Spain and Latin America. In 1967, she acted in the movie 'Vestida de novia'.

On March 29, 1968, Massiel was asked to replace singer-songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat as Spain's representative at the Eurovision Song Contest. The original representative refused to perform unless he would sing in Catalan instead of Spanish. Nine days before the contest Massiel was in Mexico on tour. She got back to Spain, learned the song, recorded in five languages for the jury. On April 6 in London, she beat the favorite candidate Cliff Richard with 'Congratulations' by a point and won the contest. Her song titled 'La, la, la' was written by Ramón Arcusa and Manuel de la Calva.

Some years later, she got dramatical roles in theatrical productions like 'A los hombres futuros, yo Bertolt Brecht' (1972), 'Corridos de la revolución. Mexico 1910' (1976) and 'Antonio and Cleopatra' in the early 80's. In the seventies Massiel married long time boyfriend Vinny Cremonty, an Italian movie star. They lived in Italy for 4 years before moving to Spain. After retiring to raise her first son, Aitor Carlos Sayas, Massiel returned in 1981 on Hispavox. Her label debut was the album 'Tiempos dificiles' and followed by the 1983 'Corazon de hierro'. Not only was this album successful in her native country, but it was also her reconciliation with Latin America. The song 'Brindaremos por el' was a hit in these countries. During the 80's Massiel, for her popularity in the local market, was an invited artist at the Festival de Viña del Mar in Chile, at the time Chile was under the dicatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Massiel after singing for an hour, received the most important prize of the festival: 'La Gaviota de Plata' ('The Silver Seagull') In her speech thanking the public for her 'Gaviota' she said: "Thank you Chile, I would like to let you know that Patricio Manns says hello from the Andes Mountains", the public cheered and celebrated her announcement. Patricio Manns is a well know composer, poet, member of the Communist Party of Chile who was in exile in Sweden following the September 11th, 1973 coup d'etat against Salvador Allende.

She re-recorded her Eurovision winner 'La, la, la' in 1997, with a dance beat, background singers, whistling, and Spanish percussion. In 2001 Massiel fell out of the window of her second-floor flat while 'trying to close the shutters' and was hospitalized for a short period afterwards. In 2007, she became a member of the Mission Eurovision jury, a show to select the Spanish song for the Eurovision Song Contest 2007. She made a short comeback to music on this show singing 'Busco un hombre', a song competing to be Spain's entry but would be sung by another singer. It had been 11 years since Massiel had been on stage.

On the web:

Unfortunately, there is no dedicated Massiel website.
Massiel on Wikipedia: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massiel

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

Marianne Rosenberg (Germany)

Marinella (Greece)

What do we think:

DB: She won the Eurovision and beat Cliff Richard with 'Congratulations'. Allegedly because Franco bribed the jury. Whatever may be the truth the Eurovision never brought Massiel world fame, or even national superstardom. And that's too bad because especially in the sixties she delivered some lovely orchestrated songs. And in good Spanish tradition she sings so ear splitting loud that she can oversing an entire Philharmonic without even hitting a false note. By the way, she is probably the first Spanish artist to record a rap-like song in 1981 ('Loca' from the 'Tiempos difíciles' album), which sounds like its inspired by Blondie's 'Rapture'.

PR: I have always had a special place for Massiel in my heart. She can sing and has a strong and raspy voice. She recorded some Spanish classics in the sixties and made some more serious albums in the seventies. During the eigthies she recorded some poorly produced albums, but she makes up for this with her expressive singing. Her unexpected creative height is 'Deslizes' album, released in 1990.


♪♪♪♪ - La sensación de Europa - 1967

♪♪ - Baladas de Bertolt Brecht - 1972

♪♪♪ - Viva - 1975

♪♪♪ - Carabina 30-30 - 1976

? - Alineación - 1977

♪♪ - Tiempos difíciles - 1981

♪♪ - Corazón de hierro - 1983

♪♪ - Sola en libertad - 1984

♪♪♪ - Massiel en des...Concierto - 1985

♪♪ - Desde dentro - 1986

♪♪♪♪♪ - Deslizes - 1990

♪♪ - Cheque en blanco - 1993

♪♪♪♪ - Desátame - 1997

♪♪♪ - Autoretrato: Lo mejor de Massiel - 1997

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided