Search

Cruz, Bobby

Cruz was born in 1937 in the small town of Hormigueros, Puerto Rico. The reach of his potent voice and his skills as a music arranger and composer won him ample notoriety. When he joined Richie Ray‘s orchestra in 1964, he added popular Puerto Rican music themes in addition to singing in Spanish without errors. The most important influences on him were Cortijo y su Combo, the plena, and themes related to country folk.

He met up with Richie Ray in New York, where he had lived since adolescence. Richie Ray had been well known but not until Cruz joined his band, did he become a legend. Cruz began making musical arrangements and singing in the chorus but soon became the lead singer with “Mr. Trumpet Man” in 1966.

In the following ten years, Ray and Cruz formed one of the duos that defined the history of salsa; recording nine gold albums. Cruz distinguished himself as a composer of hit songs such as “La Zafra” which won the Festival of Orchestras prize for the duo in 1975.

His music helped to counteract the assimilation of popular music in English from the United States and elsewhere; against the tide of rock and roll music. Among his hit songs were Agúzate, “A mi manera”, “Sonido bestial”, “Amparo Arrebato” and “El diferente”. These songs contained themes that sent a message of strong national identity to Puerto Ricans, by way of his music. Despite this, he also recorded several songs in English with Ray’s orchestra.

Cruz’ musical talents were more than strong enough to sustain his effort to perform as a soloist during the 70’s. He recorded Bobby Cruz Canta Para Ti, produced by Richie Ray. The hit song “Ya ni te acuerdas” from that album went to the top of the charts in 1972. He also collaborated with Viki Vimari; recording two songs her her: “Cuando me digas sí” y “Yo sé que te amo”.

n 1974, the Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz duo was at the height of its popularity when Ray became a born-again Christian which led to their separation. Cruz could accept the radical change that this brought to the relationship until four months later when he did likewise. They said goodbye to secular music with their song: “Adiós a la salsa”; their last under the Fania label. Their new music was typified by the such releases as A Su Nombre Gloria and its title song, A Su Nombre Gloria.

But the change also cost them a good number of fans. At the same time, they found tremendous opposition from members of their same faith. However, slowly they won back many; continuing to sing salsa but now with a religeous message. They formed 20 churches which Cruz administers.

In 1998, Cruz published a book entitled “Cuando era niño”. He also edited the recording that complemented the book. A year later, Ray and Cruz had a reunion concert in Bayamon, Puerto Rico; reviving the hits from their salsa days. The concert won critical acclaim from the music critics. The concert was recorded under the Universal label and became when a of the leading releases in 1999. 

Discography

Al Ritmo del Piano (2003)

Casa de Alabanza Vol 1 (2002)

Caminando (2002)

Lo Nuevo y Lo Mejor (2001)

Un Sonido de la Bestia (2000)

Tu Alumbras Mi Ser (2000)

Más Que Vencedores (2000)

Recuerdos, Vol 2 (2000)

Recuerdos, Vol 1 (2000)

Maravilloso (2000)

En Familia (2000)

Abriendo Surcos (2000)

Voz Palabra Y Jubilo (2000)

Cuando Era Niño (1999)

Orquesta Experimental Sonido Bestial (1996)

Lo Mejor de Ricardo Ray & Bobby Cruz (1994)

Ricardo Ray Presenta A "La Vimari" (1992)

Los Inconfundibles (1987)

Back to Back (1982)

Pinturas (1981)

De Nuevo los Durisimos (1980)

Renovando la Salsa (1979)

Viven (1977)

Felices Pascuas (1976)

Un Sonido Bestial (1972)

Jammin' Live (1972)

Canta Para Ti (1972)

El Bestial Sonido de Richie Ray y Bobby Cruz (1971)

In Orbit (1971)

Agúzate (1970)

The Best of Ricardo Ray & Bobby Cruz (1969)

Los Durisimos (1969)

Jala Jala y Boogaloo (1967)

Abriendo Surcos (----)