Romance (Luis Miguel album)
|Studio album by Luis Miguel|
|Released||November 19, 1991|
|Recorded||August–September 1991, Ocean Way Recording (Hollywood)|
|Luis Miguel chronology|
|Singles from Romance|
Romance is the eighth studio album by Mexican singer Luis Miguel, released on November 19, 1991 by WEA Latina. Although the production was originally intended to be another collaboration with Juan Carlos Calderón, that plan was scrapped when Calderón was unable to compose songs for the album. Facing a deadline in his record-label contract to record new material, at his manager's suggestion Miguel decided to perform bolero music for his next project. Mexican singer-songwriter Armando Manzanero was hired by WEA Latina to co-produce the album with Miguel. Recording began in August 1991 at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood, California, with Bebu Silvetti serving as arranger.
On the album, Miguel covers twelve boleros originally recorded between 1944 and 1986. The first two singles, "Inolvidable" and "No Sé Tú", reached number one on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart in the United States and spent six months atop the Mexican charts. "Mucho Corazón" and "Cómo" were in the top five of the Hot Latin Songs charts, while "Usted" and "La Barca" received airplay throughout Latin America. Miguel promoted the album with a tour of the United States and Latin America. The album was generally well-received by music critics whom commended Miguel's performance as well as the production of the album. Miguel received a number of accolades, including a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Pop Album.
Romance was a commercial success, selling over seven million copies worldwide. In the United States, it spent 32 weeks at number one on the Billboard Latin Pop Albums chart and became the first Spanish-language album by a non-crossover Latin artist to be certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA); it was also certified gold in Brazil and Taiwan, a first for a Spanish-speaking artist. Romance is the third-bestselling album of all time in Mexico, and the bestselling record in Argentina by a non-native artist. The album was recognized by music critics as reviving interest in the bolero genre. Its success encouraged Miguel to release three more bolero albums: Segundo Romance (1994), Romances (1997) and Mis Romances (2001).
Background and recording
On January 14, 1991 Miguel's record company (WEA Latina) announced that a new album was in preparation with longtime producer Juan Carlos Calderón, who had produced Miguel's albums since he signed with the label in 1986. The original plans were, as usual, for Calderón to compose new material made up of pop songs and ballads as well as find songs for Miguel to cover in Spanish. Production was scheduled to begin in April, with Italian- and English-language studio albums to follow. However, in May 1991 Calderón's chosen covers were not approved by the label; this forced him to write more songs, and production was halted indefinitely. Ultimately, he was unable to compose original songs for the album.
Miguel had a contractual deadline with his label to record new material and considered recording boleros (a slow tempo ballad "endowed with romantic lyrics") after meeting Mexican singer-songwriter Armando Manzanero during a television program where they both were interviewed. He previously performed boleros (including songs recorded by Manzanero) during his previous tour in 1991. At the suggestion of his manager Hugo López he chose boleros for his next album, and WEA Latina hired Manzanero to take over the production of project. Manzanero was enthusiastic, hoping that Miguel's popularity would introduce the genre to a young audience. On October 25, 1991, the album's title was announced; it would be the first time Miguel serve as a producer for his album.
Recording began on August 24, 1991 at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood, California. Miguel and Manzanero co-produced the album, with Bebu Silvetti handling the arrangements for the string section. On Romance, Miguel covers twelve boleros, which were selected out of five hundred songs by Manzanero, including two of his compositions ("Te Extraño" and "No Sé Tú"). Seven of the album's twelve tracks were recorded by September 13, 1991; production was suspended the following day, when Miguel was hospitalized with appendicitis, and its planned late-October release was postponed until November 19.
Singles and promotion
A 23-second sample of Luis Miguel's cover of the 1986 song "No Sé Tú", composed by Armando Manzanero (who co-produced this version, arranged by Bebu Silvetti). It was the second single from Romance.
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"Inolvidable" was released as the lead single from the album in November 1991. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart in the United States for the week of January 25, 1992, topping the chart for five weeks. The second single, "No Sé Tú", was released in March 1992 and reached number one on the Hot Latin Songs chart the week of April 18; it topped the chart for seven weeks. The music video for "No Sé Tú" was directed by Pedro Torres and filmed in Miami, featuring Miguel and an orchestra performing in front of a building. "Inolvidable" and "No Sé Tú" ended 1992 as the third- and second-best-performing Latin songs of the year, respectively, in the United States. In Mexico, the songs topped the charts for a total of six months. The third single, "Contigo en la Distancia", was released in Mexico in July 1992 and also features an orchestral accompaniment. "Mucho Corazón" peaked at number three on the Hot Latin Songs chart, with "Cómo" peaking at number four. "Usted" and "La Barca" received airplay throughout Latin America.
To promote Romance, Miguel began his Romance Tour on March 22, 1992 at the 10,000-seat National Auditorium in Mexico City. The show sold out in three hours, and the singer performed throughout Latin America and the United States and concluded the tour in Chile in December. Aside from the tour, Miguel also performed live at the Seville Expo '92 in Spain. His set list consisted primarily of pop songs and contemporary ballads from his earlier career in addition to the boleros from Romance. In October 1992 WEA Latina released América & En Vivo, a live EP featuring a new track ("America, America") and tour recordings of "Contigo en la Distancia", "No Sé Tú" and "Inolvidable". An editor for AllMusic gave the EP three stars out of five.
Critical reception and accolades
AllMusic editor Janet Rosen gave Romance three stars out of five, saying that it "features the usual smooth, well-crafted pop ear candy from Luis Miguel, earnestly sung over strings and polite Latin rhythms". However, she noted that the songs in the album booklet and the lack of liner notes make it difficult for listeners to know what "to make of this presentation". Ronsen concluded, "It doesn't matter—the title of the release says it all." Achy Obejas of the Chicago Tribune gave the album four out of four stars, praising Miguel's refusal "to get campy, which gives the effort far more integrity than might have been imagined" and calling his take on boleros "vibrant and real." In Américas magazine, Mark Holston gave the album a positive review lauding Miguel's vocals, choice of songs, and the arrangements by Silvetti. Holston ended the review by stating that "Romance is a reminder of the enduring quality of timeless music".
At the 1992 Billboard Music Awards, Miguel won three awards: Best Latin Artist, Best Latin Album and Best Spanish-Singing Artist. In Chile, Romance won the Laurel de Oro award for Best Album of the Year. The singer was named Best Artist From a Non-English-Speaking Country at the Korean International Music Awards. At the 35th Annual Grammy Awards in 1993, Romance was nominated for Best Latin Pop Album (won by Jon Secada for Otro Día Más Sin Verte). That year Romance was also nominated for Pop Album of the Year at the 5th Lo Nuestro Awards, again losing to Secada for his self-titled album. At the 1993 Premios Eres, Miguel won three awards: Best Album (for Romance), Best Male Singer and Best Show (for his tour). The album was named Best International Album and Miguel was the Best International Artist of the Year at the 1993 Ronda de Venezuela awards.
Romance was released internationally on November 19, 1991, and sold over 400,000 copies during its first 10 days. In Mexico it was certified octuple platinum by the Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas (AMPROFON) for shipping two million copies, and has become the country's all-time third-bestselling album. In the United States, Romance debuted at number ten on the Billboard Latin Pop Albums chart for the week of December 14, 1991; it reached number one six weeks later, . The album spent 32 consecutive weeks on top of the chart, until it was displaced by Jon Secada's eponymous album. Romance ended 1992 and 1993 as the bestselling Latin pop album of the year in the U.S. It became the first album by a Spanish-speaking artist to be certified gold in Brazil and Taiwan and the first by a non-crossover Latin artist to receive a gold certification in the United States, and was later certified platinum in the U.S. by the RIAA for shipments of one million copies. In South America, Romance was certified platinum in Colombia and Venezuela. In Argentina the album was certified 16× platinum for sales of over one million copies, becoming the bestselling album by a non-Argentine artist. Romance later received a diamond award from the Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers (CAPIF), and was certified quadruple platinum in Chile and double platinum in Spain. The album has sold over seven million copies worldwide as of 2013 and is the bestselling record in his music career.
Romance has been cited as renewing interest in the bolero genre in the mainstream market. Chicago Tribune editor Monica Eng wrote, "Just as Harry Connick, Jr. re-popularized the sounds of Sinatra and Tony Bennett, Mexican platinum-selling heartthrob Luis Miguel brought back an appreciation for the music of Mexico's boleristas." Elena Kellner of the Los Angeles Times noted the album's "introducing old favorites to younger audiences", and Miguel also gained popularity with older listeners. Writing for Latin Beat Magazine, Franz Reynold remarked that before Luis Miguel, boleros were considered to be "music of the ancients, something to be feared, since it seemed to signal the advent of senility" by the younger generation at the time. In Américas magazine, Mark Holston wrote that the album's "irresistible combination of classic songs, string-laden arrangements, and subtle contemporary influences proved to be the perfect formula to reawaken the bolero's slumbering passions once again." In his book The Latin Beat: The Rhythms And Roots Of Latin Music From Bossa Nova To Salsa And Beyond, Ed Morales wrote that Miguel's collaboration with Manzanero "brought light to an overlooked master of [bolero]" and "was a significant update of the genre". Romance also enhanced Silvetti's reputation as an arranger and producer; Leila Cobo of Billboard magazine wrote that the album "categorically redefined the interpretations of traditional boleros" and "sparked a torrent of work for Silvetti, including albums with Vic Damone and Engelbert Humperdinck". Silvetti's arrangements came to be known as the "Silvetti Sound", which Cobo described as "anchored in sweeping melodies, lush string arrangements, acoustic instrumentation, and above all, unabashed romanticism". The album's achievement led to other artists such as Linda Ronstadt, José Luis Rodríguez, and Plácido Domingo recording modern versions of older boleros. As part of the Billboard Hot Latin Songs Chart's 25th anniversary in 2011, Miguel was number one on the Hot Latin Songs Top Artists chart. Manzanero reflected on their partnership, saying that he "put in the mouths of his generation all of the great romantic songs that had a 30-year history".
The album's success encouraged Miguel to record three more Romance albums. Its follow-up, Segundo Romance, was released in 1994; Manzanero, Calderón and Kiko Cibrian co-produced with Miguel, and the album won a Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Performance. In 1997 Romances was released, with Miguel and Manzanero co-producing Silvetti's arrangements; it sold over 4.5 million copies, winning another Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Performance. A year later WEA Latina released Todos Los Romances, a three-disc compilation album featuring all tracks from the three romance-themed albums. The fourth album in the series, Mis Romances (produced by Miguel), was released in 2001. Although Miguel planned to have record a total of ten albums in the series, Mis Romances was neither a critical or commercial success unlike its predecessors. The following year saw the release of Mis Boleros Favoritos, with 13 previously-recorded tracks from the Romance series and a new cover of "Hasta Que Vuelvas". Allmusic editor Iván Adaime noted the purpose of the compilation album was to "close this era". In 2012, Warner Music Latina reissued a commemorative Romance: 20th Anniversary set. In addition to a CD, the set contains the original LP record and three 45 rpm singles: ("Inolvidable", "No Sé Tú" and "Contigo en la Distancia").
|No.||Title||Writer(s)||Year of Composition||Length|
|1.||"No Me Platiques Más"||Vicente Garrido||1954||3:31|
|3.||"La Puerta"||Luis Demetrio||1958||3:19|
|4.||"La Barca"||Roberto Cantoral||1957||3:28|
|5.||"Te Extraño"||Armando Manzanero||1968||4:23|
|7.||"Contigo en la Distancia"||César Portillo de la Luz||1952||3:23|
|8.||"Mucho Corazón"||Emma Elena Valdelamar||1953||3:23|
|9.||"La Mentira"||Álvaro Carrillo||1965||3:46|
|10.||"Cuando Vuelva a Tu Lado"||María Grever||1961||3:48|
|11.||"No Sé Tú"||Manzanero||1986||3:50|
Credits and personnel
- Ken Allardyce – assistant engineer
- Justo Almario – alto saxophone, Tenor saxophone ("No Me Platiques Más")
- Kenneth Barzilai – photography
- Gustavo Borner – Keyboard programming
- Luis Conte – percussion
- Benjamin Correa – clarinet ("La Barca", "Mucho Corazón")
- J. Vicente Diosdado – graphic design
- Benny Faccone – engineer, mixing
- Pedro Flores – viola ("Mucho Corazón")
- Ramon Flores – trumpet
- Grant Geissman – guitar
- Bernie Grundman – mastering
- Steve Holrayde – assistant engineer
- Alan Kaplan – trombone
- Ezra Kliger – coordination, director, production coordination, string arrangement
- Abraham Laboriel, Sr. – bass
- Armando Manzanero – co-producer
- Don Markese – alto saxophone ("Inolvidable")
- Joe Meyer – French horn
- Luis Miguel – co-producer, vocals
- Robert Payne – trombone
- Peter Scott – oboe ("No Sé Tú", "Contigo en la Distancia")
- Bebu Silvetti – arranger, director, piano, synthesizer
- Calvin Smith – French horn
- Carlos Vega – drums
|Chile (IFPI)||4× Platinum||80,000^|
|Mexico (AMPROFON)||8× Platinum||2,000,000^|
|Spain (PROMUSICAE)||2× Platinum||200,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- List of best-selling albums in Argentina
- List of diamond-certified albums in Argentina
- List of best-selling albums in Mexico
- List of number-one Billboard Latin Pop Albums from the 1990s
- List of best-selling Latin albums in the United States
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