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Gloria Estefan/Miami Sound Machine FAQ

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Archive-name: music/gloria-estefan/english-faq
Posting-Frequency: Quarterly
Last-Modified: 1995/09/28
Version: 1.5

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                 Gloria Estefan / Miami Sound Machine FAQ        

Gloria Maria Fajardo was born September 1, 1957 in Havana, Cuba.  She
came to Miami less than two years later when her parents were forced
to flee from the government of Fidel Castro.  The day after her 21st           
birthday she married Emilio Estefan (born March 4, 1953), the leader of the   
Miami Sound Machine.  Gloria has a teenage son, Nayib (born September 2,       
1980) and an infant daughter, Emily Marie (born December 5, 1994).             


  Main Albums                                 Comment

  1.  Live Again / Renacer (1977) ....... The ultra rare debut album --       
                                          released in two different sleeves   
  2.  Miami Sound Machine (1978) ........ Two versions exist -- one in 
                                          Spanish and the other in English
  3.  Imported (1979) ................... Half English, half Spanish songs
  4.  MSM (1980) ........................ First album for a major label
  5.  Otra Vez (1981) ................... IMO the best of the early works
                                          Entirely in Spanish
  6.  Rio (1982) ........................ Gloria wrote/co-wrote every song 
                                          but one.  Entirely in Spanish
  7.  A Toda Maquina (1984) ............. Pretty much the Spanish version of  
                                          Eyes of Innocence 
  8.  Eyes of Innocence (1984) .......... The crossover album
  9.  Primitive Love (1985) ............. Included Conga! and two other
                                          Top-10 singles
  10. Let It Loose (1987) ............... Also known as "Anything for You"
                                          in Europe.  Went 5x platinum in UK.
  11. Cuts Both Ways (1989) ............. Many believe this is the best album
  12. Into the Light (1991) ............. The "come-back" album following
                                          Gloria's accident
  13. Greatest Hits (1992) .............. Included four original songs
  14. Mi Tierra (1993) .................. Grammy award winning album.  All
                                          original songs. Entirely in Spanish
  15. Christmas Through Your Eyes (1993)  A Christmas album
  16. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me (1994)  Cover songs from the 60-70's.
  17. Abriendo Puertas (1995) ........... A fiesta of Latin musical styles   |

  Compilation Albums

  1.  Lo Mejor De Miami Sound Machine (1983)
  2.  7-Up Presenta Los Hits De Miami Sound Machine (promo 1983)
  3.  Exitos De Gloria Estefan (1990)


  1.  Top Gun (1986)                Song : Hot Summer Nights                
  2.  Cobra (1986)                  Song : Suave                           
  3.  Rude Awakening (1989)         Song : Conga!                            
  4.  Goya...A Life In Song (1989)  Songs: Picture It                       
                                           Hasta Amarte (Till I Loved You)  
  5.  Goya...Una Vida Hecha Cancion Songs: Hasta Amarte                     
                              (1992)       Los An~os Volaran                
  6.  The Specialist (1994)         Song : Turn the Beat Around             


  1.  Miami Sound Machine Video Exitos (1986), 40 minutes
  2.  Homecoming Concert (1989), 80 minutes                                 
  3.  Evolution (1990), 74 minutes                                          
  4.  Coming Out of the Dark (1991), 60 minutes
  5.  Into the Light World Tour (1992), 100 minutes
  6.  Everlasting Gloria (1995), 88 minutes                                  |

The first seven albums are loosely termed "the Spanish LP's."  But it is
a bit of a misnomer because only two of them were entirely sung in Spanish.
The rest were a mixture of English and Spanish songs.  What distinguishes
the so-called Spanish LP's from the rest is that they are *very* hard to
find.  The first two Miami Sound Machine albums are now extremely rare.


Gloria Estefan's early years were not easy.  Her father Jose was among
the Cuban exiles who participated in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, the
unsuccessful attempt to oust Castro from power.  Jose spent a year and a
half in a Cuban prison, and during this time Gloria and her mother lived
in a Cuban ghetto near the Orange Bowl in Miami.  Misfortune continued
to follow her dad.  He was badly poisoned by the defoliant, Agent Orange
while serving in Vietnam.  When her mother went out to make a living,
Gloria had to act as nurse and tend to her invalid father.  Her one
source of comfort was the guitar she had been given when she was 12.
She would sing to herself the Top 40 tunes of the day, alone in her room
for hours on end.

In 1975, at the urging of her mother, Gloria sang some songs at a wedding
which was being entertained by a local party band, The Miami Latin Boys.
The band leader, Emilio Estefan, was so impressed by her smooth alto
voice that he hounded her to join his band.  She reluctantly agreed, but
only to sing on weekends.  No longer all boys, the band was rechristened
The Miami Sound Machine.

That was the start of MSM's rise to fame.  By 1983, the group was well
known throughout Central and South America and had produced four albums
for a major label, CBS Discos.  Then in 1984, Emilio convinced record
executives at Epic to release an English only album (Eyes of Innocence)
to the US and European markets.  The first single, Dr. Beat, became a
huge hit on the dance charts.  The crossover worked!  The next album
(Primitive Love) solidified their success.  From this album came the
single "Conga!" which carried with it a unique distinction.  It is the
only song in history to appear on Billboard's Pop, Latin, Soul and Dance
charts all at the same time.

Tours, awards, fame, fortune and good luck followed in a steady stream.
That is until the morning of March 20, 1990.  As Gloria slept in her
tour bus which had stopped along a Pennsylvania Interstate highway, a
speeding semi-truck smashed into it from behind.  She knew immediately
that her back was broken.  A delicate surgery was performed that required
two 8-inch titanium rods to be placed on either side of her spine.  The
operation was a success.  She needed 400 stiches to close the 14-inch
incision.  But within one year of the accident she was performing on
stage again.  During that time of excruciating pain, Gloria received
thousands of letters, telegrams and floral arrangements from well wishers.
In 1992 she was able to return the favor by organizing a benefit concert
(Hurricane Relief) which raised three million dollars for the victims of
Hurricane Andrew.


A common misconception is that Miami Sound Machine was a Latin band that
turned into a mainstream American pop band.  In truth, MSM had been a
pop band from the very beginning, but one with Latin elements mixed in.
(However, they could perform old Cuban standards and salsa songs when asked.)
The band was a true hybrid of two cultures, the essence of Miami's identity.
Songs were typically written for one language and then re-written for the
other.  But the songs were never translated directly.  As a result, the
meaning of the Spanish lyrics is often quite different from the English 
lyrics for the same identical song.

The Mi Tierra album (1993) was an attempt to do something artistically
different.  It is a set of original songs that capture the sound of
Cuban music from the 1930's, 40's and 50's, but from a 1990's perspective.
Many famous Latin musicians participated in making Mi Tierra -- people like
Tito Puente, Israel Lopez "Cachao", Juanito Marquez, Arturo Sandoval,
Luis Enrique and several others.  The album won the 1994 Grammy for Best
Tropical Latin Album.

Abriendo Puertas (1995) is an innovative blend of regional Latin musical     |
rhythms.  The combinations include salsa, guaguanco, mambo, Colombian        |
vallenato, merengue, Colombian cumbia, Colombian curralao and Cuban son.     |
Gloria's hope is that just as diverse musical styles can be united, so too   |
can all Latinos come together as one.                                        |


Over the life of the Miami Sound Machine many musicians have come and gone.
Here are the names of some of the more prominent members.

Gloria Estefan          - Lead vocalist            
                        - Last remaining performer from the original MSM
                        - Writer of most of the MSM ballads

Emilio Estefan          - Founded the band, percussionist
                        - Now retired as musician and works solely as
                          manager, producer and songwriter

Kiki Garcia             - Original member, percussionist, left band in 1988
                        - Wrote Dr. Beat and Conga! among others

Juan Marcos Avila       - Original member, bassist, left the band in 1985

Merci Navarro Murciano  - Original member, vocalist, left the band in 1982
                        - Gloria's cousin 

Wesley B. Wright        - Guitarist from 1980-85

"The Jerks"             - A three man songwriting team from 1984-87
Jorge Casas             - Songwriter and Bassist, joined the band in 1987

Clay Ostwald            - Songwriter and Keyboardist, joined the band in 1987

John DeFaria            - Songwriter and Guitarist, joined band the in 1987

Randy Barlow            - Songwriter and Trumpet player, joined band in 1987

Rafael Padilla          - Percussionist, joined the band in 1985

Jon Secada              - Songwriter and background singer
                        - Now has a successful solo career

Cheito Quin~ones        - Background singer, brass musician, released        |
                          a solo album in 1994                               |


There are two biographies of the life of Gloria Estefan.  Both were still   
in print as of late 1993.                                                   

"Gloria Estefan" by Grace Catalano (1991) 
                 St. Martin's Press, ISBN 0-312-92586-7

"Gloria Estefan" by Rebecca Stefoff (1991) 
                 Chelsea House Publishers, ISBN 0-7920-1244-1

For a superb history of the Miami Sound Machine read the following article:

"Record Collector Magazine" No. 162, February 1993 pp. 52-62, with US/UK    
                 discographies, by Christopher Dirks                        
(Record Collector has back issues available.)


"Rolling Stone Magazine" (June 14, 1990), "The Power and the Gloria",       
                 by Daisann McLane                                          


Gloria's next album should be released around April 1996.  It is described   |
as her first English pop album since 1991's "Into the Light," and will       |
be supported by a world tour planned to begin July 18, 1996.                 |


Gloria Estefan        
International Fan Club    
P.O. Box 4447             
Miami, FL 33269
WORLD WIDE WEB PAGES                                        |  (Spanish FAQ) 

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