Monero, Jose Luis

Born on 6 April 1921, in Juncos, Puerto Rico, José Luis Moneró grew up to become one of the legends of the bolero genre in Puerto Rico, latin America and the United States.

As an adolescent, he dreamed of being a singer and Moneró fulfilled that dream in 1938 when he joined his first orchestra, led by Mario Dumont. His fame grew quickly and led him to join the orchestra of Luis Morales, the brother of Noro Morales.

His time with Morales was quite short since Moneró quickly changed to join the orchestra of Rafael Muñoz, where he worked for the next four years. These were perhaps his best and most productive years, during which he recorded his best work on the RCA Victor label. His voice embodied a melodic lyricism and he was acclaimed in songs such as “Caminos de ayer”, “Di corazón”, “Enojo”, “Muñequita linda” and “Sin ti”.

But there was a dark side to the great vocalist: a love of alcohol that forced him to leave Muñoz. Moneró moved to New York in 1942 and found many opportunities including the orchestra of Noro Morales, José Curbelo and Siboney. During that time he also studied the trumpet but it was he vocal talents that brought him to the legendary Xavier Cugat orchestra in 1944.

With Cugat, Moneró toured throughout Europe, the United States and Africa, and even appeared in no less than six motion pictures for the famous MGM Studios. Despite this success, he was hospitalized and nearly died due to alcohol abuse. The great force of his character helped him gave up alcohol and recover.

In the 1954 he formed his own orchestra which performed regularly in New York’s Tropicana Club. He later returned to Puerto Rico and joined the Super Orquesta Tropicana until he formed his own orchestra which continues successfully to the present.

The great contributions of Moneró were recently recognized by his induction into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2003. His voice will always be a part of a beautiful period in the history of Puerto Rican music and the bolero genre.