Born in Lebrija, province of Seville, he began to play flamenco guitar as a child, accompanying singers such as La Paquera de Jerez in 1950, but eventually turned to Flamenco singing. In 1964, he won the championship at the Competition of Mairena del Alcor, one of the most important Flamenco music festivals. Within years, he was regarded as one of the greatest voices of flamenco. A few years later, in 1970, he started his collaboration with the guitarist Paco de Lucía.
His later musical works included Andalusi influences, with albums such as Casablanca, Open Doors and Encuentros. There was also a tribute to his friend Gabriel García Márquez.