Raphael (singer)

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Raphael at the 2014 Miami International Film Festival
Background information
Birth nameMiguel Rafael Martos Sánchez
Also known asRaphaelito
Born (1943-05-05) May 5, 1943 (age 78)
Linares, Jaén, Spain
OriginLinares, Spain
GenresPop music, Latin ballad
Occupation(s)Singer, actor
Years active1959–present
LabelsHispavox, EMI, Sony
Associated actsBunbury

Miguel Rafael Martos Sánchez[a] (born May 5, 1943), often simply referred to as Raphael, is a Spanish singer and television, film and theater actor.


Raphael was born Miguel Rafael Martos Sánchez in Linares, province of Jaén (Spain). As a consequence, he is nicknamed both "El Ruiseñor de Linares" ("Nightingale of Linares") and "El Divo de Linares" ("The Divo from Linares") but is also known as "El Niño". His family moved to Madrid when he was nine months old, and he started singing when he was just three years-old. He joined a children's choir at age four. When he was 9, he was recognized as the best child voice in Europe at a contest in Salzburg, Austria. His two idols, when he was growing up, and with whom he announced, on October 6, 2014, his plans to record posthumous duets with, were said to be US singer Elvis Presley and French diva Edith Piaf.


Raphael began his professional career by signing with the Dutch record label Philips. To distinguish himself, he adopted the "ph" of the company's name and christened himself 'Raphael'. His first singles were "Te voy a contar mi vida" and "A pesar de todo", among others. Raphael adopted his own peculiar singing style from the beginning; he is known for acting each one of his songs while on stage, emphasizing his gestures with high dramatic effect. It is not unusual for Raphael to ad lib lyrics as to localize a song depending on the venue he's singing at, wear Latin American peasant costumes and dance folk dances within a song, kicking and demolishing a mirror, or doing the moves of a flamenco dancer or a bullfighter onstage. He also possesses a wide vocal range, which he often used in the beginning of his career as to evoke a choirboy approach to some songs.

When he was nineteen, he won first, second and third awards at the famous Benidorm International Song Festival, Spain, in 1962 and 1963 with the songs: "Llevan", "Inmensidad" and "Tu Conciencia". After a brief relation with Barclay record label, who produced just an EP, he signed a contract with Hispavox recording company, and began a long artistic relationship with the musical director of this label, the late, talented Argentinian orchestrator Waldo de los Ríos and intensify the partnership with outstanding Spanish songwriter Manuel Alejandro.

In 1966 and 1967 he represented Spain at the XI and XII Eurovision Song Contest in Luxembourg, singing "Yo soy aquél" and Vienna, "Hablemos del amor" and placing both 7th and 6th position, although he did not win. It was the first time that Spain obtained a high place in the competition, leaving the door open for victory the following year, which Spain achieved with "La, la, la", another song of modern style too, which for political reasons still in Spain then was sung instead by Massiel. This served as a turning point in Raphael's career, making him an international star. He traveled and performed worldwide in Europe, Latin America, Puerto Rico, the United States, Russia and Japan. Songs such as "Yo soy aquel" (his signature song), "Cuando tú no estás", "Mi gran noche", "Digan lo que digan", "Tema de amor", "Estuve enamorado" and "Desde aquel día" cemented his status as a major international singing star.

Raphael also began a lucrative film career, appearing in, Cuando tú no estás (Mario Camus, 1966), which was followed by Al ponerse el Sol (Mario Camus, 1967) Digan lo que digan (Mario Camus, 1968, filmed in Argentina), El golfo (1969, filmed in México), El ángel (1969), Sin Un Adiós (1970, partially filmed in England) and Volveré a nacer (1972).

Latin American popularity[edit]

As Raphael became a success in Latin America, he made a habit of recording Latin American folk standards including "Huapango torero", "Sandunga" and "Llorona"; they were hits in Mexico.

He appeared live on The Ed Sullivan Show with great success on October 25, 1970, singing (in Spanish, English and Italian) "Hallelujah" and "Hava Nagila". He appeared again on December 27, 1970, with the songs "Maybe" (Somos), "When my love is around" (Cuando llega mi amor) and "The sound of the trumpet" (Balada de la trompeta).

In 1975, Raphael began his own successful program on Spanish Television called El Mundo de Raphael, where he sang with international stars. He also had a radio program, where he and his wife spoke with and interviewed outstanding personalities, and he starred in soap operas, starting with the Mexican production Donde termina el camino, shown in the spring of 1978 and later in other countries like Peru and Chile.

Raphael succeeded in the early 1980s with songs such as "¿Qué tal te va sin mí?", "Como yo te amo", "En carne viva" and "Estar enamorado". During 1984 and 1985 he recorded two albums with songs written by José Luis Perales like "Ámame", "Yo sigo siendo aquel", "Dile que vuelva", "Y... Cómo es él" and "Estoy llorando hoy por ti".

In 1984 a parody of "Yo soy aquél" was used in a radio spot in Puerto Rico's gubernatorial race. Then-governor Carlos Romero Barceló used the parody (complete with a Raphael sound-alike) namely as a jab against opponent, Raphael's namesake, (and noted Spanophile), former governor Rafael Hernández Colón. Raphael was surprised by the unauthorized use of the music, but was highly amused by the reference.

In 1987 he left Hispavox and signed a contract with Columbia (now Sony Music), where he again recorded songs written by Roberto Livi like "Toco madera" and "Maravilloso corazón". In 1991 he had a hit with "Escándalo" in Spain, Latin America, and in Japan, where it reached number one. At the end of the 1990s, after ending a contract with PolyGram, he went back to EMI. In 1998 the artist published the first part of his memoirs titled ¿Y mañana qué?, from his childhood until his marriage in 1972.

Raphael took part in the 2000 Spanish version of the stage musical Jekyll & Hyde for seven months, with great success.

Personal life[edit]

He married aristocrat, journalist and writer Natalia Figueroa, in Venice (Italy) on July 14, 1972. They have three children: Jacobo, Alejandra and Manuel.

Raphael's health faced a major setback in 2003, when his liver started failing due to a latent bout with hepatitis B; he recovered successfully after a transplant. Since then he is an active organ donation promoter.

Awards and accomplishments[edit]

Raphael has received numerous awards. He was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2003.[1]


  • Raphael (1965)
  • Raphael Canta (1966)
  • Al Ponerse El Sol (1967)
  • Digan Lo Que Digan (1967)
  • El Golfo (1968)
  • Huapango Torero + 3 (EP – México) (Includes 'Escándalo') (1969)
  • El Angel (1969) – Ecuador Only
  • Raphael – El Idolo (Philips EP's Compilation) (1969)
  • Aqui! (1969)
  • Corazón, Corazón (1970) México
  • Live at the Talk of the Town (1970) (recorded at the London Talk of the Town)
  • Aleluya... (1970)
  • Algo Más (1971)
  • Háblame De Amor (From 'Top Star Festival' LP) (1971)
  • Volveré A Nacer (1972)
  • Le Llaman Jesús! (1973)
  • From Here On... (1973) – English Album
  • Raphael (A La Huella...) (1974)
  • Raphael (De... Para...) (1974)
  • Qué Dirán De Mí (1974)
  • Sombras + 3 (1974) (EP. – Ecuador)
  • No Eches La Culpa Al Gitano (From "Juntos Para Ayudarte" LP) (1974)
  • Recital Hispanoamericano (1975) – With Los Gemelos
  • Con El Sol De La Mañana (1976)
  • Raphael Canta... (1976)
  • El Cantor (1977) (México)
  • Una Forma Muy Mía De Amar (1978)
  • Y... Sigo Mi Camino (1980)
  • Vivo Live Direct – 20th Anniversary (Live Double Album) (1980)
  • En Carne Viva (1981)
  • Raphael: Ayer, Hoy y Siempre (1982)
  • Enamorado De La Vida (1983)
  • Eternamente Tuyo (1984)
  • Yo Sigo Siendo Aquel – 25th Anniversary (1985)
  • Todo Una Vida (1986)
  • Las Apariencias Engañan (1988)
  • Maravilloso Corazón, Maravilloso (1989)
  • Andaluz (1990)
  • Ave Fénix (1992)
  • Fantasía (1994)
  • Desde el fondo de mi alma (1995)
  • Punto y Seguido (1997)
  • Vete (1997) – Duet with Nino Bravo
  • Jekyll & Hyde (2001)
  • Maldito Raphael (2001)
  • De Vuelta (2003)
  • Vuelve Por Navidad (2004)
  • A Que No Te Vas (2006) – Duet with Rocio Jurado
  • Cerca de ti (2006)
  • Maravilloso Raphael (2007)
  • Raphael 50 Anos Después (CD + DVD) (2008)
  • Viva Raphael! (2009)
  • 50 Años Después – En Directo y Al Completo (3 CD + DVD) (2009)
  • Te Llevo En El Corazón (3 CD + DVD) (2010)
  • Te Llevo En El Corazón. Essential (2011)
  • El Reencuentro (2012)
  • El Reencuentro En Directo (CD + DVD) (2012)
  • Mi Gran Noche (2013)
  • 50 Exitos De Mi Vida (3 CD + DVD) (2013)
  • De Amor & Desamor (LP + CD) (2014)
  • Raphael Sinphónico (CD + DVD) (2015)
  • Ven A Mi Casa Esta Navidad (CD) (2015)
  • Infinitos Bailes (LP + CD) (2016)


  • Las Gemelas (1963) – As Alberto
  • Cuando Tú No Estás (1966) – As Rafael
  • Al Ponerse El Sol (1967) – As David Alonso
  • Digan Lo Que Digan (1968) – As Rafael Gandía
  • El Golfo (1968)- As Pancho
  • El Ángel (1969)- As El Angel
  • Sin Un Adiós (1970) – As Mario Leiva
  • Volveré A Nacer (1973) – As Alex
  • Rafael en Raphael (Documentary) (1974) – As himself
  • Donde Termina El Camino (TV) (1978)- As Manuel
  • Ritmo, Amor y Primavera (1981) – As himself
  • Jekyll & Hyde (Musical) (2000) – As Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Balada Triste de Trompeta" (The Last Circus) (2010) – As himself, through use of Sin Un Adiós footage
  • Mi Gran Noche (2015) – As Alphonso


  • Mi gran noche Tour (2013–2014)
  • De Amor y Desamor Tour (2014–2015)
  • Raphael Sinphonico World Tour (2015–2016)
  • Raphael RESinphónico World Tour (2018–2019)


  1. ^ Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Martos and the second or maternal family name is Sánchez.


  1. ^ "International Latin Music Hall of Fame announces inductees for 2003". March 3, 2003. Retrieved October 31, 2015.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest
with "Yo soy aquél" & 1967
with "Hablemos del amor"
Succeeded by