Romance (Luis Miguel album)

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For the 1997 album, see Romances (Luis Miguel album).
Romance
Silhouette of a man facing left, holding a ribbon microphone with his right hand, against a white background
Studio album by Luis Miguel
Released 19 November 1991 (1991-11-19)
Recorded August–September 1991
Studio Ocean Way Recording (Hollywood)
Genre Bolero
Length 44:02
Language Spanish
Label WEA Latina
Producer
Luis Miguel chronology
20 Años
(1990)
Romance
(1991)
América & En Vivo
(1992)
Singles from Romance
  1. "Inolvidable"
    Released: November 1991
  2. "No Sé Tú"
    Released: February 1992
  3. "Contigo en la Distancia"
    Released: July 1992

Romance is the eighth studio album by Mexican singer Luis Miguel. It was released by WEA Latina on 19 November 1991. Although the production was originally intended as another collaboration with Juan Carlos Calderón, that plan was scrapped when Calderón was unable to compose songs for the album. Facing a new-material deadline in his recording contract, at his manager's suggestion Miguel chose 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 the arranger.

On the album Miguel covers twelve boleros, originally recorded from 1944 to 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 chart, and "Usted" and "La Barca" received airplay throughout Latin America. Miguel promoted the record with a tour of the United States and Latin America. The album was generally well received by music critics, who praised Miguel's singing and the record's production. The singer received several accolades, including a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Pop Album.

Romance sold over seven million copies worldwide, his bestselling record in his music career. In the United States, it spent 32 weeks at number one on the Billboard Latin Pop Albums chart, and was 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, firsts 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 noted by critics as reviving interest in bolero music. Its success encouraged Miguel to release three more bolero records: Segundo Romance (1994), Romances (1997) and Mis Romances (2001).

Background and recording[edit]

A man facing left is performing on a stage with a microphone on his right hand.
When Miguel decided to record boleros for his next album, WEA Latina hired Mexican singer-songwriter Armando Manzanero (pictured) to help with their production. Romance has covers of two Manzanero compositions: "Te Extraño" and "No Sé Tú".

Since Miguel signed with WEA Latina in 1986,[1] his albums Soy Como Quiero Ser (1987), Busca una Mujer (1988), and 20 Años (1990) have sold over three million copies cumulatively in Mexico.[2] His early recordings consisted of soft rock and pop ballad tunes, which led to Miguel becoming a teen idol.[3] On 14 January 1991, WEA Latina announced a new album with longtime producer and composer Juan Carlos Calderón,[4] who produced the three previous records by Miguel.[5] Wanting to replicate the success of 20 Años, Calderón would compose pop songs and ballads and find tracks for Miguel to cover in Spanish. Production was scheduled to begin in April, with Italian- and English-language studio albums to follow.[4][6][7] The record label was unconvinced by Calderón's pre-selected songs; he had to write more compositions, and production halted indefinitely.[8] Ultimately, he was unable to compose songs for the album.[9]

Miguel had a contractual deadline with his label to record new material, and considered recording boleros (slow ballads "endowed with romantic lyrics")[10] after meeting Mexican singer-songwriter Armando Manzanero during a televised interview.[11][12] The singer had performed boleros (including compositions recorded by Manzanero) during his 1991 tour.[13] At the suggestion of manager Hugo López, and realizing that he could appeal to an older audience,[14] Miguel chose boleros for his next album and WEA Latina hired Manzanero to take over its production.[9][11] Manzanero was enthusiastic, hoping that Miguel's popularity would introduce the genre to young listeners.[15] On 25 October 1991, the album's title was announced as a homage to boleros; it was Miguel's first as a producer.[16]

Recording began on 24 August 1991, at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood, California.[13][17] Miguel and Manzanero produced the album, with Bebu Silvetti arranging the strings with additional contributions from 32 violinists under the direction of American conductor Ezra Kliger.[18] On Romance Miguel covers twelve boleros (with each track being described as love numbers),[19] which were selected by Manzanero from five hundred songs including his "Te Extraño" and "No Sé Tú".[12][20][21] Seven of the twelve tracks were recorded by 13 September when production was suspended the following day when Miguel was hospitalized with appendicitis. The album's planned late-October release was postponed until 19 November and recording resumed two weeks after Miguel was hospitalized.[22][23]

Singles and promotion[edit]

"Inolvidable" was released as Romance's lead single in November 1991.[25] It reached number one on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart in the United States the week of 25 January 1992, topping the chart for five weeks.[26] Its second single, "No Sé Tú", was released in February 1992 and reached number one on the Hot Latin Songs chart the week of 18 April,[26][27] topping the chart for seven weeks.[26] The music video for "No Sé Tú" was directed by Pedro Torres and filmed in Miami, it features Miguel and an orchestra performing in front of a building.[28][29] The video premiered on 16 February on the Mexican variety show Siempre en Domingo.[27] "Inolvidable" and "No Sé Tú" ended 1992 as the third- and second-best-performing Latin songs of the year, respectively, in the United States.[30] In Mexico, the songs topped the charts for a total of six months.[31] The album's third single, "Contigo en la Distancia", was released in Mexico in July 1992;[32] its music video was also directed by Torres and filmed in Miami.[33][34] "Mucho Corazón" peaked at number three on the Hot Latin Songs chart, with "Cómo" peaking at number four.[35] "Usted" and "La Barca" received airplay throughout Latin America.[36][37]

To promote the record, Miguel began his Romance Tour on 22 March 1992 at a sold out 10,000-seat National Auditorium in Mexico City.[38][39] After performing throughout Latin America and the United States, he concluded the tour in Chile in December.[40][41] In addition to touring, Miguel performed at the Seville Expo '92 in Spain.[42] His set list consisted primarily of songs from his earlier career and boleros from Romance.[43] 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". AllMusic gave the EP three stars out of five.[44]

Critical reception[edit]

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".[45] However, she noted that the songs in the album booklet and the lack of liner notes made it difficult for listeners to know what "to make of this presentation". Rosen concluded, "It doesn't matter—the title of the release says it all."[45] Achy Obejas of the Chicago Tribune gave the record four stars out of four, 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."[46] Mark Holston reviewed the album positively in the magazine Américas, praising Miguel's vocals, the choice of songs and Silvetti's arrangements: "Romance is a reminder of the enduring quality of timeless music".[47]

At the 1992 Billboard Music Awards Miguel was the Top Pop Latin Artist and the Top Hot Latin Tracks Artist, and Romance was the Top Pop Latin Album.[48] In Chile, Romance won the Laurel de Oro Award for best album of the year. The singer was the Best Artist From a Non-English-Speaking Country at the Korean International Music Awards.[49] At the 1993 Grammy Awards, Romance was nominated for Best Latin Pop Album,[50] which was awarded to Jon Secada for his album Otro Día Más Sin Verte.[51] That year Romance was also nominated for Pop Album of the Year at the Lo Nuestro Awards,[52] again losing to Secada for his self-titled album.[53] At the 1993 annual Premios Eres, Miguel won three awards: Best Album, Best Male Singer and Best Show (for his tour).[54] The record was the Best International Album and Miguel won the Best International Artist of the Year at the 1993 Ronda de Venezuela awards.[55]

Commercial performance[edit]

Romance was released internationally on 19 November 1991,[56] and sold over 400,000 copies in its first 10 days.[57] In Mexico it was certified octuple platinum by the Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas (AMPROFON) for shipping two million copies, the country's all-time third-bestselling album (only Juan Gabriel and José José has sold more copies with Recuerdos, Vol. II and 20 Triunfadoras respectively).[58][59] In the United States, Romance debuted at number ten on the Billboard Latin Pop Albums chart for the week of 14 December 1991, and reached number one four weeks later.[60][61] The record topped the chart for 32 consecutive weeks when it was displaced by Jon Secada's eponymous album on the week of 22 August 1992,[62] ending 1992 and 1993 as the bestselling Latin pop album of the year in the country.[63][64] It was the first record by a Spanish-speaking artist to be certified gold in Brazil and Taiwan,[49] and the first gold certification by a non-crossover Latin artist in the United States[65] (later certified platinum in the U.S. by the RIAA for shipments of one million copies).[66] In South America, Romance was certified platinum in Colombia and Venezuela,[58] gold in Paraguay and double platinum in Peru.[48] In Argentina the album was certified 16× platinum for sales of over one million copies, the bestselling record by a non-Argentine artist.[67] It received a diamond award from the Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers (CAPIF),[68] and was certified quadruple platinum in Chile and double platinum in Spain.[58][69] As of 2013, Romance had sold over seven million copies worldwide and is Miguel's bestselling record.[70][71]

Influence and legacy[edit]

A man is facing right while holding a microphone with his right hand.
Luis Miguel's recording of Romance was credited by music critics for reviving interest in bolero music.

Romance is considered by music critics to have renewed mainstream interest in bolero music. According to Chicago Tribune editor Monica Eng, "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."[72] In The Wall Street Journal, Mary Talbot compared renewed interest in boleros to the revival of big band and swing music in the Anglo-American market, previously dominated by rock music (which had seized bolero's popularity during the 1960s).[14][73] Elena Kellner of the Los Angeles Times noted the album's "introducing old favorites to younger audiences"[74] while Achy Obejas of the Chicago Tribune documented Miguel's popularity with older listeners.[75] In Latin Beat Magazine, Franz Reynold wrote that before Miguel, boleros were considered by young people the "music of the ancients, something to be feared, since it seemed to signal the advent of senility".[76] Mark Holston wrote in Américas magazine that the record'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."[10]

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".[77] Romance enhanced Silvetti's reputation as an arranger and producer; according to Leila Cobo of Billboard, the album "categorically redefined the interpretations of traditional boleros" and "sparked a torrent of work for Silvetti, including records with Vic Damone and Engelbert Humperdinck".[78] His arrangements became known as the "Silvetti Sound", which Cobo described as "anchored in sweeping melodies, lush string arrangements, acoustic instrumentation, and above all, unabashed romanticism".[78] Romance's success encouraged Linda Ronstadt, José Luis Rodríguez and Plácido Domingo to record modern versions of traditional boleros.[79] According to Miguel's former manager Mauricio Abaroa, although boleros were still recorded by traditional musicians at the time, "what made Luis Miguel so successful was that it was a young man singing them and that he sang them like modern ballads".[11] During 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".[80] In 2015, Billboard listed Romance as one of the Essential Latin Albums of Past 50 Years, an editor writes: "What’s become so formulaic in Latin music these days -- the tribute album by a contemporary artist honoring a genius of another era -- started with Romance".[81]

The album's success encouraged Miguel to record three more Romance records.[77] Its follow-up, Segundo Romance, was released in 1994; Manzanero, Calderón and Kiko Cibrian co-produced with Miguel, and it won a Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Performance.[82][83] In 1997 Romances was released, with Miguel and Manzanero co-producing Silvetti's arrangements;[84] it sold over 4.5 million copies, winning another Grammy for Best Latin Pop Performance.[85][86] A year later WEA Latina released Todos Los Romances, a three-disc compilation of the romance-themed records.[87] The fourth record in the series, Mis Romances (produced by Miguel), was released in 2001.[88] Although the singer had planned a ten-album series, Mis Romances was critically and commercially unsuccessful.[89][90] The following year saw the release of Mis Boleros Favoritos, with 13 previously-recorded tracks from the Romance series and a new version of "Hasta Que Vuelvas". According to AllMusic editor Iván Adaime, the record's purpose was to "close this era" of the Romance series.[91] In 2012, Warner Music Latina reissued a commemorative Romance: 20th Anniversary set with a CD, the original LP record and three 45 rpm singles: "Inolvidable", "No Sé Tú" and "Contigo en la Distancia".[92]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Year of composition[17] Length
1. "No Me Platiques Más (Don't Say Anymore)" Vicente Garrido 1954 3:31
2. "Inolvidable (Unforgettable)" Julio Gutiérrez 1944 4:16
3. "La Puerta (The Door)" Luis Demetrio 1958 3:19
4. "La Barca (The Boat)" Roberto Cantoral 1957 3:28
5. "Te Extraño (I Miss You)" Armando Manzanero 1968 4:23
6. "Usted (You)"
1951 3:43
7. "Contigo en la Distancia (With You in the Distance)" César Portillo de la Luz 1952 3:23
8. "Mucho Corazón (A Lot of Heart)" Emma Elena Valdelamar 1953 3:23
9. "La Mentira (The Lie)" Álvaro Carrillo 1965 3:46
10. "Cuando Vuelva a Tu Lado (When I Return to Your Side)" María Grever 1961 3:48
11. "No Sé Tú (I Don't Know About You)" Manzanero 1986 3:50
12. "Cómo (How)" Chico Novarro 1967 3:14

Personnel[edit]

The following credits are from AllMusic and from the Romance liner notes:[17][93]

Performance credits[edit]

Technical credits[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[68] Diamond 1,000,000[67]
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[96] Gold 300,000[97]
Chile[58] 4× Platinum 80,000^
Colombia[58] Platinum 60,000x
Mexico (AMPROFON)[58] 8× Platinum 2,000,000^
Paraguay[48] Gold 5,000x
Peru (IFPI)[48] 2× Platinum 20,000x
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[69] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Taiwan[58] Gold 50,000*
United States (RIAA)[66] Platinum 1,000,000^
Venezuela[58] Platinum 20,000x

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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