|Birth name||Gabriel Siria Levario|
|Also known as||El Rey del Bolero|
September 1, 1931|
Tacubaya, Federal District, México
|Died||April 19, 1966 (age 34)
Mexico City, México
|Genres||Ranchera, boleros, popular music|
Javier Solís was born Gabriel Siria Levario, the first of three children of Francisco Siria Mora, a baker/butcher, and Juana Levario Plata, a trader. Juana had a stall at a public market and as her spouse had allegedly abandoned her, she had little time save for work. After a time, she decided to leave her son at the household of his uncle Valentín Levario Plata and his wife, Ángela López Martínez, whom Gabriel considered his real parents. Siria had to drop out of school before his teens to support his family, after the death of his aunt Angela. Due to his aunt's death Gabriel only completed the first five years of primary school in Tacubaya in Mexico City, where he used to participate in singing contests. After dropping out of school he worked collecting bones and glass. Later he worked in a supermarket transporting merchandise. He worked as a baker, a butcher, a carpenters helper and a car washer. In his spare time, he trained as an amateur boxer, with aspirations of going professional, but after suffering a few defeats, he was urged to work at something 'more decent'.
Siria began singing in competitions under the pseudonym of Javier Luquín, in which the winner would be awarded a new pair of shoes; he was eventually banned from participating because he so dominated the competition. At that time he was working as a butcher, and sang while he worked. His boss, David Lara Ríos, heard him and was so impressed with his talent that he urged Siria to dedicate himself to his music and recommended him to a voice coach, even paying for singing lessons with Noé Quintero. To his family's relief, he hung up his boxing gloves and began a singing career.
At age 16, Siria went to Puebla to sing with the Mariachi Metepec, but he didn't get his first professional break until two years later, when Julito Rodriguez and Alfredo Gil of the famous singing trio, 'Los Panchos', discovered him, and took him to audition at CBS Records. There, in 1950, he signed a contract and recorded his first album. He was singing at the same time at the Teatro Lirico(Lyric Theatre) in Mexico City when he met dancer Blanca Estela Saenz, who would later become his wife. His first hit, Lloraras, came two years later, and it was his then-producer Felipe Valdes Leal who gave Siria his stage name, Javier Solís.
Solís began to receive international acclaim in 1957, when he began appearing in the U.S. and Central and South America. He was among the first artists to sing in the new style now known as Bolero-Ranchera. He sang boleros typically associated with trio music, but which now were accompanied by mariachis. Solís was a versatile interpreter; he sang not only boleros, but rancheras, danzónes, waltzes and also tangos. His hit recordings included Sombras, Payaso, Vereda Tropical, En Mi Viejo San Juan, composed by the Puerto Rican Noel Estrada, and Amanecí En Tus Brazos, the latter a re-recording of the hit written and recorded by José Alfredo Jiménez.
Solís began his acting career in 1959, and appeared in more than 20 films, working with such artists as Pedro Armendáriz, María Victoria, Antonio Aguilar and Lola Beltrán. His last picture, Juan Pistolas, was finished in 1965, the same year that his film Sinful was released. During his lifetime, he was considered a better singer than actor by his public, who rated him alongside such accomplished artists as Jorge Negrete and Pedro Infante who with Solis, made up the 'Three Roosters of Mexican entertainment'.
Following the death of Infante in 1957 due to an air crash in Mérida, Yucatán, Solís experienced a surge of popularity, not least because he was considered the last of The 'Three Mexican Roosters', or Los Tres Gallos Mexicanos who along with Infante and Negrete, had been the idols of Mexican music and cinema. All of them died young; Solís was the last, passing at age 34, in Mexico City, from complications due to gallbladder surgery. At that time, his doctors had refused him water, and his last words concerned his family and his thirst: "They will have to shower my grave with lots of water. I know that I'm going to die; there is no cure".
Javier Solís was a prolific artist, leaving an extensive discography, and like Infante, most of his albums are still in print. This gives an indication of his continuing popularity, so many years after his death.
- Dos Idolos Juntos(Con Los Panchos)
- Fantasía Española de Agustín Lara
- Homenaje a Rafael Hernández y Pedro Flores
- Interpreta a Agustín Lara
- Javier en Nueva York
- Lara, Baena y Maldonado
- Llorarás, Llorarás
- Luz de Luna
- Mas Alla del Orinoco
- Para Siempre
- Prisionero del Mar
- Un Año Más Sin Ti
- Y Todavia Te Quiero
- Al claro de luna,
- Amanecí en tus brazos,
- Amigo organillero,
- A pesar de todo,
- Ay cariño,
- Ayúdame Dios mío.
- Javier Solís at the Internet Movie Database
- Complete Discography on mtv.com
- Lyrics of selected songs
- Javier Solís at Find a Grave
- A Tribute to Javier Solis last accessed February 23, 2007.
- (Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, according to his own acknowledgement in an interview) Ibid.
- Burr, Ramiro (1999). The Billboard Guide to Tejano and Regional Mexican Music. New York: Billboard Books. ISBN 88-230-7691-1.