Consuelo Velázquez

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Velázquez with Pedro Vargas, c. 1950s

Consuelo Velázquez Torres (August 21, 1916 in Ciudad Guzmán, Zapotlán el Grande, Jalisco – January 22, 2005[1]), popularly also known as Consuelito Velázquez,[2] was a Mexican concert pianist, songwriter and recording artist. She was the composer of famous Mexican ballads such as "Bésame mucho", "Amar y vivir", and "Cachito".[1]


Velázquez was born in Ciudad Guzmán, Mexico, in 1916,[3] and grew up in Guadalajara, Jalisco.[4] She was the fourth of five daughters.[1] Velázquez begun playing the piano at the age of four. Her first public recital was at age of six-years-old.[4] When Consuelo was eleven-years-old, she moved to Mexico City to study at the National Conservatory of Music.[4]

She started her professional career as a classical music concert pianist, performing at Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Mexican broadcasting station XEQ Radio. She later became a singer and recording artist.

As performing on the radio for a young woman of a wealthy family was risky, she used a male pseudonym in her first years.[1] Mariano Rivera Conde, who was the artistic director of the station, pushed her to admit she was the author of the songs. Velázquez married him six years later.[1]

According to Velázquez herself, she was strongly influenced by Spanish composer Enrique Granados. Velázquez also was elected to the Mexican Congress, she served as president for SACM (Society of Authors and Composers of Mexico), and she was vice-president of CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers).

Velázquez was the songwriter and lyricist of many Spanish-language standard songs, such as "Amar y vivir" ("To Love and to Live"), "Verdad amarga" ("Bitter Truth"), "Franqueza", "Que seas feliz", "Abuela abuela", "Cachito", "Enamorada", and, most notably, the enduring 1940s-era standard "Bésame mucho", a romantic ballad which was soon recorded by artists around the globe, making it an international hit. The song was inspired by the sight of seeing a couple kissing in the street.[1]

Bésame mucho[edit]

Her best known success is the iconic song "Bésame mucho", a bolero she wrote when she was only 16 years old. This is the piece that gained her more recognition and introduction to the rest of her artwork. The song was created before Consuelo received her first kiss of love. After being recorded by the Spanish-Mexican baritone Emilio Tuero, in 1944 the famous American pianist and singer Nat "King" Cole made the first adaptation in English. From then on, it was performed by hundreds of artists around the world, such as Pedro Infante, Javier Solís, The Beatles, Plácido Domingo, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Luis Mariano (who made it popular in France), Dalida, Sonora Santanera, Xavier Cugat and his Orchestra, The Ventures, Antonio Machín, Lucho Gatica, Vera Lynn, Andrea Bocelli, Filippa Giordano, Luis Miguel, Sara Montiel, José Carreras, Ray Conniff and his Orchestra, Diana Krall, Zoé, Susana Zabaleta and Mónica Naranjo among others. "Bésame mucho" is also known as "Kiss Me Kiss Me Much", "Kiss Me a Lot", "Kiss Me Again and Again", "Embrasse-Moi" and "Stale Ma Boskavaj". Translated into more than 20 languages, the song is nowadays an icon of popular music. Part of its great success in the United States was the contextualization of the song towards women who waited for their husbands during World War II.

Personal life[edit]

Velázquez married Mariano Rivera Conde after a 6 year courtship.[1] They had two sons, Mariano Rivera Velázquez and Sergio Rivera Velázquez.[1]


Velázquez was 88 years old when she died in Mexico City, of respiratory problems, on January 22, 2005.[5][6] Velázquez had been in hospital since she suffered a fall in November 2004.[7]


In 2003, sculptor Sergio Peraza immortalized Velázquez with a statue in Mexico City.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Tuckman, Jo (January 26, 2005). "Obituary: Consuelo Velázquez". the Guardian. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  2. ^ "Consuelo Velázquez". IMDb. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  3. ^ Fox, Margalit (January 30, 2005). "Consuelo Velázquez Dies; Wrote 'Bésame Mucho'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Consuelo Velázquez". Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  5. ^ Ankeny,Jason. "Artist Biography: Consuelo Velázquez". Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  6. ^ Fox, Margalit (January 30, 2005). "Consuelo Velázquez Dies; Wrote 'Bésame Mucho'". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "". January 24, 2005. Archived from the original on January 24, 2005. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  8. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Artist Biography: Consuelo Velázquez". Retrieved September 5, 2019.

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