Joaquín Sabina

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Joaquín Sabina
20070610 - Joaquín Sabina en la Feria del Libro de Madrid.jpg
Background information
Birth name Joaquín Ramón Martínez Sabina
Born (1949-02-12) 12 February 1949 (age 68)
Origin Úbeda, Jaén, Spain
Genres Latin, rock, trova
Occupation(s) singer-songwriter
Years active 1978–present
Labels BMG Ariola Spain
Associated acts Joan Manuel Serrat

Joaquín Ramón Martínez Sabina (born 12 February 1949), known artistically simply as Joaquín Sabina, is a singer, songwriter, and poet from the Andalusia region of southern Spain.

He has released fourteen studio albums, two live albums, and three compilation albums.

He performed both solo and with a group for his live albums, performing with Javier Krahe and Alberto Pérez in La mandrágora, the group Viceversa in a 1986 concert, and with Joan Manuel Serrat in Dos pájaros de un tiro (Two birds with one stone).

Sabina suffered a stroke in 2001 and although he physically recovered, he entered a deep depression which resulted in a four-year-long concert hiatus.[1] He recovered and released his eighteenth album, Alivio de Luto, in November 2005 and in 2009 he released his album, Vinagre y rosas. In 2012 he released his latest album in collaboration with Joan Manuel Serrat: La Orquesta Del Titanic.

Biography and career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Joaquín Sabina was born in Úbeda, in the Province of Jaén. He is the second son of Adela Sabina del Campo and Jerónimo Martínez Gallego. His father was a policeman. He attended a Carmelite primary school and he started writing his first poems and composing music at the age of 14. He was part of a band called Merry Youngs which imitated singers such as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Little Richard, as well as many others.

He attended a high school run by the Salesians of Don Bosco and during this period he began reading works by Fray Luis de León, Jorge Manrique, José Hierro, Marcel Proust, James Joyce and Herbert Marcuse.

After completing high school, his father wanted him to follow in his footsteps and become a police officer but he refused, saying that he preferred the guitar. In his song "La del pirata cojo" he says he fantasizes about living different lives, but he would not even joke about becoming a police officer.

A refugee in London[edit]

He then enrolled in the University of Granada, reading philology in the faculty. There, he read the poetry of Pablo Neruda and César Vallejo. Sabina lived at first with a woman called Lesley and started to prepare his thesis.

His revolutionary ideology led him to be related to the anti-fascist groups. In 1970, he began collaborating with the magazine Poesía 70, sharing pages with Carlos Cano and Luis Eduardo Aute, he then left the university, going into exile in London using a fake passport under the name Mariano Zugasti, to avoid persecution from Francisco Franco's government after throwing a Molotov cocktail into a government building. That same year, his father received an order to arrest Sabina due to his anti-Franco ideals.[2]

In 1975, Sabina started writing songs and singing at local bars. In a local bar called "Mexicano-Taverna" Sabina performed in the presence of George Harrison, who was celebrating his birthday. The ex-Beatle then gave Sabina a five-pound note as tip, which Sabina still preserves to this day. When Franco's dictatorship ended in 1975, Sabina returned to Spain and joined the army but, feeling imprisoned, he got married in order to be able to sleep outside the barracks.

After the return[edit]

Sabina's first album, Inventario (Inventory) was released in 1978 by a small label Movieplay. He describes this album "as his own version of death metal", but the album largely went unnoticed. Afterwards, he moved to the powerful CBS (today Sony) and released Malas compañías (Bad Company). This album gave Sabina his first number-one hit single "Pongamos que hablo de Madrid"[3] (Let's say I'm talking about Madrid), and the artist attained wide recognition. He released a live album called La mandrágora (The Mandrake), sharing the spotlight with bandmates Javier Krahe and Alberto Pérez. The trio enjoyed great popularity due to their participation in a TV program. La Mandrágora was controversial due to the racy and political content of the lyrics.

Sabina released his third album Ruleta Rusa (Russian Roulette) in 1983 and two years later, Juez y Parte (Judge and Side). His political views led him to take part in the anti-NATO movement. He later released Joaquín Sabina y Viceversa en directo, his first live album, recorded in the Salamanca theatre in Madrid. On this album, the singer collaborated with other singers such as Javier Krahe, Javier Gurruchaga, and Luis Eduardo Aute.

In 1987 he released Hotel, Dulce Hotel (Hotel, Sweet Hotel), which sold a large number of records in Spain. That success led to his next album El Hombre del Traje Gris (The Man in the Gray Suit), after which he undertook a successful tour of South America. This was followed by the release of Mentiras Piadosas (Pious Lies) in 1990, and two years later Física y Química (Physics and Chemistry), which led to another successful tour of the Americas.

His later albums Esta boca es mía (This Mouth is Mine), Yo, mi, me, contigo[4] (I, my, me, with you) and 19 Días y 500 Noches (19 Days and 500 Nights), won him wider recognition and multiple platinum albums.

After recovering from a stroke,[5] he returned to the stage in 2002 with Dímelo en la Calle (Tell me on the Street or Dare to say that outside). He later released a double album called Diario de un peatón (A Pedestrian's Diary), which included both his previous album and 12 new songs, along with a book illustrated by him.

In 2005 Sabina released a new record Alivio de luto (Relief from Mourning ). The album release was accompanied by a DVD that includes interviews, music videos, acoustic versions of the songs, and home-made recordings.

In 2007, he went on tour with Spanish singer Joan Manuel Serrat, called Dos Pájaros de un Tiro (Two birds with one stone) and they recorded a CD of this tour, which includes the DVD of the concert and a documentary.[6]

In 2009, he received the prize of the city of Madrid from the mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, who said that he was one of the most important people who had given a good image to the city.[7] That year, he published his 15th studio album, Vinagre y Rosas (Vinegar and Roses), an album in which he collaborated with his producers Pancho Varona and Antonio García de Diego, and with the band Pereza. The first single from the album was the song "Tiramisu de limón" ("Lemon Tiramisu"), sung with Ruben and Leiva, the members of Pereza. For the promotional video, he collaborated with the actress and singer Mónica Molina. Finally the album was released on December 14, entering directly at the top of the Spanish album chart.[8]



  • Memorias del exilio (Memories from the exile) (1976)
  • De lo contado y sus márgenes (About what has been told and its borders) (1986)
  • El hombre del traje gris (Partitures of the 8th album) (1989)
  • Perdonen la tristeza (Excuse me for my sadness) (2000) Written by Joaquín Sabina and Javier Mendez Flores.
  • Ciento volando de catorce (A hundred of fourteen in the bush) (2001)
  • Con buena letra (With a good handwriting) (2002) Compilation of lyrics.
  • Esta boca es mía (This mouth is mine) (2005) Compilation of satirical poems published in the weekly magazine Interviú.
  • Con buena letra II (With a good handwriting II) (2005) Compilation of lyircs
  • Sabina en carne viva, yo también se jugarme la boca (2006) Written by Joaquín Sabina and Javier Mendez Flores.
  • Esta boca sigue siendo mía (This mouth is still mine) (2007) Compilation of satirical poems published in the weekly magazine Interviú.
  • A vuelta de correo (By return mail) (2007) Compilation of the correspondence between Joaquín Sabina and other personalities.
  • Prologue for the book "Versos bipolares y otras criaturas luminiscentes", Estefanía Muñiz (2009)


External links[edit]