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5 may 1943

Rafael Martos Sánchez Miguel was born in Linares, Jaén. With his family, he moved to Madrid when nine months old and began his singing career at age three imn children’s choirs, earning the name of "Linares Nightingale" and "El Niño de Linares". At the end of the fifties he signed to the Dutch record label Philips and changed his named by adding the ‘ph’. His first singles "Te voy a contar mi vida" and "A pesar de todo" became a mild succes. His break to a broader audience came in 1962 when he took the Benidorm International Song Festival with the songs: "Llevan", "Inmensidad" and "Tu Conciencia". After a brief relation with Barclay record label, who produced just an EP, he signed contract with Hispavox recording company, and began a long artistic relationship with the musical director of this label Waldo de los Ríos and songwriter Manuel Alejandro.

In 1966 and 1967 he represented Spain at the Eurovision Song Contest singing "Yo soy aquél" and "Hablemos del amor" and ending a 7th and 6th position. This served as a turning point in Raphael's career, making him an international star. He traveled and performed worldwide in Europe, Latin America, the United States, Russia and Japan. In the sixties he also started a career as actor. In 1970 he tried to crossover to the American market by performing on The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1972 he married journalist and writer Natalia Figueroa, in Venice (Italy). The couple has three children: Jacobo, Alejandra and Manuel.

In 1975, Raphael began his own successful program on Spanish Television called El Mundo de Raphael, where he sang with international stars. Although Raphael’s succes tempered a bit in the Eighties he continued to sell all over the world. He even was awarded the Uranium Disk in 1981 for sales of over 50 million albums around the world on the Hispavox record label. During 1984 and 1985 he recorded two albums with songs written by José Luis Perales

In 1987 he left Hispavox and signed a contract with Columbia. In 1991 he scored a comeback hit with "Escándalo" in Spain, Latin America, and in Japan. In 2000 he performed in the stage musical Jekyll & Hyde for seven months, with great success. In 2003 Raphael's health faced a major setback in 2003, when his liver started failing due to a latent bout with Hepatitis B. He recovered successfully after a transplant. Since then he is an active organ donation promoter.

On the web:

- Raphael's website: http://www.raphaelnet.com/

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

Adamo (Belgium)

Emil Dimitrov (Bulgaria)

What do we think:

DB: Drama, grand gestures and a vibrato in his voice. For foreigners Raphael is the epiphany of Spanish dramatic and passionate exegurations. For people from Spain Raphael is in the same league as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Tom Jones. The all-Spanish songbook Vegas style. His stage act is build around enacting each one of his songs, emphasizing his gestures with high dramatic effect. Both images are true. But although Raphael may sound a bit over the top you have to place him in the right timeframe. For records made in the sixties his wide vocal range, easily crooning and singing over some superb orchestral arrangements make him more then just another singer interpreting the American songstyle of the fifties. He translated and transformed Spanish songtradition with elements from light popmusic from the USA and is therefor essential in the history of Spanish popular music. Without Raphael Spanish light popmusic would probably look quite different. His catalogue is huge but for the best period seek out his work from the Sixties.

Recommended albums:

♪♪♪♪ - Raphael - 1965

♪♪♪ - Raphael Canta - 1966

- Al Ponerse El Sol - 1967

- Aqui! - 1969

- Aleluya - 1970

♪♪♪ - Le Llaman Jesus - 1973

Further listening: Digan Lo Que Digan (1967); El Golfo (1968); Raphael (1969); Live at the Talk of the Town (1970); Algo Mas (1971); Hablame De Amor (1971); Volvere A Nacer (1972); Ven Conmigo! (1974); Dama Dama (1974); No Eches La Culpa Al Gitano (1974); Recital Hispanoamericano (1975) - With Los Gemelos; Con El Sol De La Manana (1976); El Cantor (1977); Raphael Canta Boleros (1976); Una Forma Muy Mia De Amar (1978); Y Sigo Mi Camino (1980); En Carne Viva (1981); Enamorado De La Vida (1983); Eternamente Tuyo (1984); Todo Una Vida (1986); Las Apariencias Enganan (1988); Maravilloso Corazon, Maravilloso (1989); Andaluz (1990); Ave Fenix (1992); Fantasia (1994); Desde el fondo de mi alma (1995); Punto y Seguido (1997); Vete (1997) - Duet with Nino Bravo; Maldito Raphael (2001); De Vuelta (2003); Vuelve Por Navidad (2004); A Que No Te Vas (2006) - Duet with Rocio Jurado; Cerca de ti (2006); Te Llevo En El Corazon (2010); El Reencuentro (2012)


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


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