The 20 Greatest Ranchera Singers of All Time, No. 10-1

Categories: Español Music
Javier Solís: CLASS
See also:

*The 20 Greatest Ranchera Singers of All Time, No. 20-11
*The 20 Greatest Songs of Vicente Fernández: The Complete List

There is room for much debate for who make the bottom rung of the 20 greatest ranchera singers of all time. But the top? Not even close. Anyone who argues about the inclusion of any of the nine men (and one woman) on this list deserves immediate deportation. The trick of the matter, though, is in the placement of said people--THAT is subject to mucho interpretation, and that is the minefield upon which I set to travel to in five, four...

10. Miguel Aceves Mejia

Mejia is best remembered in Mexican society for two features: an awesome streak of grey in his otherwise-black helmet of hair as he got older, and the greatest falsetto in male history, one that allowed him to let the huapango and son huasteca genre truly shine in ranchera music. His interpretation of "La Malagueña" remains the standard by which all men desperately try to reach. Even more importantly? He was the man who discovered José Alfredo Jiménez, whom we'll meet in a bit...

9. Vicente Fernández

Okay, Jalisco cabrones and all of ustedes who have fallen victim to the tapatio myth: howl at this injustice. HOWL, damn you! Why is Chente so low? How dare I relegate El Rey Chente to so low on the list? But refry this: Chente does not belong in the top five on virtue of the status of the folks who occupy those spots. In terms of projecting Mexican pride and Jaliscan chest-thumping, he can't hold a tequila bottle to Jorge Negrete. And while Chente wrote some of his music, he doesn't compare to the other singer-songwriters on the list. So nothing against Chente--I won't even hold the fact that he's from Jalisco against him this time--but there was simply more talented people than him ahead in the list. Think of him as the Chris Mullen of ranchera--HA!

8. Cuco Sánchez

He was a fabulous singer in his own right, a chubby, vulnerable guy before Juan Gabriel made the archetype his and his alone, and was one of the finest interpreter of the songs of songwriter Chucho Monge ("Pa' Que Me Sirve la Vida") and Agustín Lara ("Imposible"). More importantly, Sánchez was a fabulous composer; his most famous songs--"El Mil Amores," "Grítenme Piedras del Campo," "No Soy Monedita de Oro"--are standards in the Mexican canon covered by many. And, as I wrote so long ago, his "Cama de Piedra" was "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" decades before Morrissey ever encountered his first gladiola. Criminally underappreciated, but not as much as...

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