Romances (Luis Miguel album)

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For the 1991 album, see Romance (Luis Miguel album).
A black and white photography of Miguel dressed in a tuxedo looking at the camera
Studio album by Luis Miguel
Released 12 August 1997 (1997-08-12)
Recorded 1997 at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood and The Hit Factory in New York City
Length 54:05
Language Spanish
Label Warner Music Latina
Producer Luis Miguel
Luis Miguel chronology
Nada Es Igual...
Amarte Es un Placer
Singles from Romances
  1. "Por Debajo de la Mesa"
    Released: 15 June 1997
  2. "El Reloj"
    Released: 1997
  3. "Contigo (Estar Contigo)"
    Released: 1997
  4. "De Quererte Así (De T'Avoir Aimee)"
    Released: 1998
  5. "Bésame Mucho"
    Released: 1998
  6. "Sabor a Mí"
    Released: 1998

Romances is the twelfth studio album by Mexican singer Luis Miguel, released on 12 August 1997, by Warner Music Latina. It is the third album of the Romance series, in which Miguel covers Latin songs from 1940 to 1978. Aside from Miguel, the production also involved arranger Bebu Silvetti, and Armando Manzanero, who directed all of Miguel's Romance albums. Romances consists of twelve cover versions and two new compositions by Manzanero and Silvetti. Recording took place in early 1997 at the Ocean Way recording studio in Los Angeles, California.

Romances has sold over 4.5 million copies and received platinum certifications in several Latin American countries, the United States and Spain. Miguel promoted the album by touring the United States, Latin America and Spain. The album was generally well received by critics, who praised Miguel's vocals as well as the song selection. The album earned Miguel several awards, including a Grammy Award in the United States. Six singles were released: "Por Debajo de la Mesa", "El Reloj", "Contigo (Estar Contigo)", "De Quererte Así (De T'Avoir Aimee)", "Bésame Mucho", and "Sabor a Mí".


In 1991 Miguel released Romance, a collection of classic Latin ballads, the oldest of which dates back to the 1940s. The album was produced by Armando Manzanero and arranged by Bebu Silvetti,[1] and was credited for revitalizing the bolero genre.[2] It also made history as the first Spanish-language album to be certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in the United States.[3] A follow-up to Romance was released in 1994 under the title Segundo Romance (Second Romance), which was produced by Miguel, Juan Carlos Calderón and Kiko Cibrian.[4] Both albums received a platinum certification by the RIAA in the United States and also became successful in countries outside of Latin America and the United States, such as Finland and Saudi Arabia,[5] selling over twelve million copies combined.[5][6][7]

In December 1996 Miguel held a press conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he announced his desire to record a third Romance album and mentioned the possibility of working with Manzanero and Juan Gabriel. He also expressed an interest in singing in Italian and Portuguese,[8] although the album's songs are originally all in Spanish. Two months later Manzanero confirmed that he was working with Miguel on another bolero-inspired ballads album, under the tentative title Tercer Romance ("Third Romance").[9] Miguel's record label confirmed that fourteen tracks would be included on the album under the title Romances.[10]

Recording and production[edit]

A man is smiling to the right.
Luis Miguel worked with Armando Manzanero and Bebu Silvetti on the recording of Romances.

Miguel collaborated with Silvetti for the arrangement of Romances, while Manzanero was in charge of direction.[11] Recording began on 18 March 1997,[12] at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood and at The Hit Factory in New York City.[13] During the recording of Romances, as in Romance, Silvetti employed his signature style of arrangements known as the "Silvetti Sound", which Leila Cobo of Billboard describes as "anchored in sweeping melodies, lush string arrangements, acoustic instrumentation, and above all, unabashed romanticism".[14] Silvetti has stated that when he produces an album he does not simply copy his own arrangements, because he feels that would be "ridiculous", and prefers to be creative within his own style.[14] About the selection of songs for the album, Manzanero stated that "I give [Miguel] the songs, and he chooses what he wants to record."[15] Participants in the recording sessions included sixty-one musicians from the Los Angeles Philharmonic.[16]

Miguel covers twelve Latin ballads in Romances, including songs by José Antonio Méndez, Carlos Arturo Briz, Consuelo Velázquez Álvaro Carrillo, Roberto Cantoral, María Grever, Enrique Santos Discépolo, Agustín Lara, and Luiz Bonfá.[1][4] The latter composer wrote the song "Manhã de Carnaval" ("Morning of Carnival") in Portuguese, later translated into Spanish by Jesus Maria Arozamena Bersategui as "Canción de Orfeo" ("Orpheus' Song").[17] "De Quererte Así" ("If I Love You Like This") is a French song ("De T'Avoir Aimée"), originally performed and written by Charles Aznavour, which was translated into Spanish by Alex Marcoriginates.[18] Miguel had covered some of the aforementioned composers' songs on his previous Romance albums. Miguel covers Manazero's songs "Voy a Apagar la Luz/Contigo Aprendí" ("I Am Going To Turn Off The Lights/With You I Learned") and "Amanecer" ("To Be Awake").[19] The two original compositions were "Por Debajo de la Mesa" ("Underneath the Table") by Manzanero and "Contigo (Estar Contigo)" ("To Be With You") by Bebu Silvetti and Sylvia Riera Ibáñez.[19]

Commercial reception[edit]


The album was released on 12 August 1997, in the United States and, by the week of 23 August 1997, it debuted at number two on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart.[20] A week later it became number one, which it has been for a total of eleven non-consecutive weeks. Romances was even more successful in the Billboard Latin Pop Albums chart, having been number one for 13 weeks.[21] On the Billboard 200 chart it peaked at number fourteen, with sales of over 57,000 units within the first week[22]—a record at that time for a Spanish-language album.[3] It was also Miguel's highest-peaking album in the Billboard 200 until the release of Cómplices in 2008, which peaked at number ten.[23] It was the second best-selling Latin album in the United States during 1997, after Tango by Julio Iglesias.[24] By October 1997 it had sold over a million copies in Mexico and was certified quadruple platinum in the country, as well as across Central America.[25][26] A year after release it received a platinum certification in the United States by the RIAA.[27] In Argentina it reached number one on the CAPIF albums chart and was the best-selling album of 1997 in the country, with sales of approximately 781,000 copies.[28][29] In Spain the album reached number one on the PROMUSICAE chart and was certified octuple platinum, selling over 800,000 copies.[30][31][32] In South America the album was certified gold in Brazil, Platinum in Ecuador and Peru, double platinum in Colombia and Paraguay, sextuple platinum in Venezuela,[26] octuple platinum in Chile, and diamond in Argentina.[3][33] According to the Guinness World Records Romances was the best-selling Spanish-language album of 1997.[34] A DVD-Audio for the album was released in 2001.[35] Over 4.5 million copies of the album were sold, as of 1999.[36][37]


"Por Debajo de la Mesa" was released as the lead single from the album. The single was released for radio airplay on 15 July 1997, and reached number one on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart two months later; it would spend twenty-six weeks on the chart.[38][39] A music video was made for the song.[40] The second single released, "El Reloj" ("The Clock"), reached number two on the Hot Latin Songs chart,[41] as did the third single, "Contigo (Estar Contigo").[42] "De Quererte Así (De T'Avoir Aimee)" peaked at number twenty-three on the Hot Latin Songs chart,[43] while "Sabor a Mí" ("Taste From Me") peaked at number six after its release.[44] "Bésame Mucho" ("Kiss Me More") reached number one on the Mexican singles chart and was the among top ten best-performing songs of 1998 in Venezuela according to Record Report.[45][46]


Main article: Romances Tour

Miguel launched his Romances Tour, consisting of 84 concerts, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on 12 September 1997. The performances featured Miguel performing dance-pop and bolero arrangements for two-and-a-half hours.[47] Adam Sandler of Variety expressed a mixed reaction to the concert in the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. He noted that Miguel rarely acknowledged his audience or ventured out from center stage.[48] Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times had a more positive reaction, which he described as a "marvelously designed and wonderfully executed blend of Latin music tradition".[47] Another Times contributor, Ernesto Lechner, wrote that Miguel's bolero performance at the Arrowhead Pond arena in California "brought the house down" and stated that the experience at the concert was "pretty close" to Beatlemania.[49] In New York City, Miguel performed five consecutive shows in the Radio City Music Hall. In Mexico City he performed seventeen consecutive concerts in the National Auditorium, where it was the highest-grossing concert by a Latin artist that year.[50] The tour also traveled to South America; including Chile, and Argentina; and continued until May 1998, when Miguel performed throughout Spain.[51] Miguel was the first Latin artist to be inducted to the Pollstar "Top 20 All-Time Grossing Tours" for most tickets sold for consecutive concerts at one venue in 1997.[52]

Critical reception and awards[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[11]
Chicago Tribune 3.5/4 stars[53]
Los Angeles Times 1.5/4 stars[54]
Los Angeles Daily News 3/4 stars[55]

Romances was generally well received by critics, who praised Miguel's tenor voice and the album's selection of songs. Terry Jenkins of AllMusic praised the collaborative work of Silvetti and Manzanero and called Romances "a sensuous, enchanting album".[11] Achy Obejas of the Chicago Tribune called Miguel's voice the album's strong point and noted the "presence of electronic instruments and the darker, more somber mood".[53] On the other hand, she felt that Miguel was beginning "to slip", citing the tracks "Jurame" and "Por Debajo de la Mesa" as examples. Los Angeles Times editor Ernesto Lecnher gave the album one-and-a-half out of four stars and claimed that Romances "sinks under its own weight, delivering mostly bloated versions of timeless material".[54] Fellow Los Angeles Times contributor Ed Morales disagreed with his review and wrote that "Lechner needs to go into his music room, turn down the lights, snuggle up with his significant other and really listen to 'Romances.' I give his review * and 'Romances' ****" .[56] Anne Valdespino of the Los Angeles Daily News praised the selection of songs and Miguel's performance, calling the performer a "class act".[55]

At the 40th Grammy Awards, Miguel received the award for Best Latin Pop Performance.[57] Miguel also received a Billboard Latin Music Award for "Male Pop Album of the Year" and a World Music Award for "Best Selling Latin Artist".[2][58] Miguel received a Premio Amigo and Premio Onda for "Best Latin Singer of the Year" in Spain,[3] and the album was nominated for a Premio Amigo for "Best Latin Album".[59] Armando Manzanero received a Broadcast Music Incorporated award for his work on "Por Debajo de la Mesa".[60]


Warner Music released a three-disc compilation album titled Todos Los Romances ("All The Romances") in 1998, which contains all the tracks from Miguel's Romance albums.[61] The album peaked at number twelve in the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart and at number six in the Billboard Latin Pop Albums chart.[62] It was certified gold in Argentina.[63] Romances was followed by one more bolero album, Mis Romances (2001) which was produced by Miguel.[64]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Year of composition[13] Length
1. "Voy a Apagar la Luz / Contigo Aprendí"   Armando Manzanero
  • 1960
  • 1967
2. "Sabor a Mí"   Álvaro Carrillo 1959 3:06
3. "Por Debajo de la Mesa"   Manzanero 1997 3:05
4. "La Gloria Eres Tú"   José Antonio Mendez 1952 3:21
5. "Amanecer"   Manzanero 1978 3:31
6. "Encadenados"   Carlos Arturo Briz 1956 3:59
7. "Bésame Mucho"   Consuelo Velázquez 1941 5:26
8. "Contigo (Estar Contigo)"  
1997 4:11
9. "Noche de Ronda"   Agustín Lara 1940 4:16
10. "El Reloj"   Roberto Cantoral 1956 3:02
11. "Júrame"   María Grever 1959 3:57
12. "De Quererte Así (De T'Avoir Aimee)"  
1958 3:14
13. "Uno"   Enrique Santos Discepolo, Marianito Mores 1943 4:48
14. "Mañana de Carnaval (Manhã de Carnaval)"  
  • Luiz Bonfá
  • Antonio Maria (adapt.)
  • Jesus María Arozamena
1960 4:07

Credits and personnel[edit]

The following credits are from AllMusic and from the Romances liner notes:[13][19]

Performance credits[edit]

Technical credits[edit]

  • Alejandro Asensi – art coordinator, production coordination
  • Greg Burns – assistant engineer, mixing assistant
  • Daniela Federici – photography
  • Marco Gamboa – assistant engineer, mixing assistant
  • Mauricio Guerrero – mixing
  • Jac Holzman – mixing producer
  • Keith Holzman – production coordination
  • Armando Manzanero – art direction, composer
  • Ron McMaster – mastering
  • Luis Miguel – producer
  • Gabrielle Raumberger – graphic design
  • John Rod – assistant engineer, mixing assistant
  • Rafa Sardina – engineer, mixing
  • Sander Selover – pro-tools
  • Bebu Silvetti – arranger, composer, mixing producer, musical direction, piano, synthesizer
  • Jeremy Smith – engineer
  • H. Thompson – assistant engineer, mixing, mixing assistant

Charts and certifications[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Romance — Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Candelaria, Cordelia; Garcia, Peter; Adalma, Arturo (2004). Encyclopedia of Latino popular culture. 2. Westport, United States: Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 551–552. ISBN 9780313322150. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Luis Miguel". Latinoise. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
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  6. ^ "American certifications – Luis Miguel". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  7. ^ La Franco, Robert (1997). "Forbes". 160 (5–9): 155. 
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  10. ^ De León, Angélica (16 July 1997). "Es Luis Miguel un clásico del romance" [Is Luis Miguel romantic classic]. Reforma (in Spanish). Retrieved 28 March 2011. (subscription required (help)). 
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  12. ^ "Confirma 'Romance III'" ['Romance III' confirmed]. Reforma (in Spanish). Grupo Reforma. 16 January 1997. Retrieved 9 April 2011. (subscription required (help)). [dead link]
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  15. ^ Cobo, Leila (10 May 2003). "Armando Manzanero". Billboard. 118 (19): 36. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  16. ^ Garay, Adriana (28 May 1997). "¡Espectacular!" [Spectacular!]. Reforma (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 June 2011. (subscription required (help)). 
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