|Vicente Fernández's Facebook page--yes, he has one|
|El Rey, at Rest|
Don't pay attention to the prophecies of St. Malachy: The world isn't ending because the next pope's name will be Petrus Romanus; it's ending because Vicente Fernández is retiring. The most Mexican Mexican of all time is ending his public performances this year, and his farewell tour is swinging through Los Angeles next week (hopefully, he'll sneak in a Honda Center appearance before the man everyone knows as Chente finally calls it a career). And even if you don't know Spanish, you MUST catch one of his live shows, as he's the best performer since James Brown
, getting drunk live and walking around the stage in his splendid charro outfit with a pistol in his holster--YEAH!
The ranchera legend is one of two Mexicans gabachos
know as a Mexican archetype of manhood (Ramón Ayala and his tejana
, chubby cheeks and Mexi-mullet is the other): his bushy eyebrows, bushier hair, bushiest mustache, gargantuan sombrero, and a larynx so testoster-rific it reduces every man who listens to a weeping wuss. A titan of Mexican music, Chente's songs are not just standards, but required insights into the Mexican psyche. Fans can no longer separate the artist from the myth, meaning that they can't truly appreciate his career while howling through the tears at the umpteenth rendition of "Volver, Volver." And, really, he's worthy of the hype.
So to put Chente in his proper place, behold not just a Top 10 list, but a Top 20--yes, the man deserves that much. And before the fanboys start howling about my choices--remember that his Top 10 is to come TOMORROW. Save the hate for then, but do chime in!