|Born||November 1, 1922
Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico
|Died||February 21, 1998 (aged 75)
Carolina, Puerto Rico
Ángel Santos Vega Colon (November 1, 1922 – February 21, 1998), aka Santitos Colón, was a Puerto Rican bolero and mambo singer, born in Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico and raised in Mayagüez. He was also known by the moniker: "The Man with The Golden Voice".
Youth and early career
Colón was born in Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico, but moved to the Dr. Luis Vadi Benelli street of the Cristy residential district in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, a location which he constantly made a reference to during his lifetime. His parents were Francisco Vega and Felícita Colón. He attempted to sing as a hobby in his early youth, occasionally teaming with Lester Cole, one of the brothers of composer Roberto Cole and later Mayagüez mayor Benjamín Cole. Their pairing was indistinctively known as "El Dúo Juvenil" and "El Dúo Azul". He later joined Frank Madera's orchestra, but only could participate in activities during the day, since he was too young to join the band at nightly functions. Colón's tenure in Madera's orchestra lasted six years (1939-1944)
Mon Rivera (The Younger) was a bandmate of his. At the same time, Rivera had a partnership with Germán Vélez (later the father of international singer Wilkins Vélez and journalist Bruni Vélez called "El Dúo Huasteco". Colón joined Rivera and Vélez occasionally, and toured as a trio over western Puerto Rico.
Colón and Tito Puente
Colón was a long-time member of Tito Puente's orchestra and was a member of the Fania All-Stars. His is the voice heard singing chorus most prominently and saying "¡Ajá! ¡Ajá!" in the original version of Oye Como Va by Puente's orchestra.
However, Santitos became better known as a singer of boleros and Spanish language versions of English standards, often recorded with an orchestral backing. His signature song was "Niña". Fania selected Santos Colón and Cheo Feliciano as solo singers despite having Justo Betancourt and Monguito el Único under contract.
Santitos Colón is survived by his sons Santos, George and daughter Diana Vega Namer, who reside in Sarasota, Florida. He is also survived by his wife Judy. Santitos is survived by several grandchildren and great grandchildren. He lost another son, Héctor, to liver disease in July 1998.
In the early morning hours of Friday, February 20, 1998, this illustrious Puerto Rican artist went to the recording studio More Audio Productions to bring his voice two boleros that form duet with singer Carmen Delia also enshrined Dipini. But, just before preparing to carry out this task, he felt a strong stomach pain when asked to sing. However, instead of going to a doctor, he chose to return to his home in Laguna Gardens housing estate in Carolina, where the pain is acute. The next morning Saturday, February 21,1998 he suffered a stroke, so he was transferred to the Regional Hospital of Carolina. Shortly after his arrival he fell into a deep coma. He passed away that night.
Doctors discovered he was suffering from prostate cancer and that this condition was in a very advanced stage. Santitos never complained or received treatment to combat this evil. Perhaps because he never knew he was sick. Five days before, on Thursday, February 15, 1998 he had recorded his participation in the program "Voices in function," the singer Lou Briel animated and produced in WIPR / Channel 6 and which was broadcast a week after his death. The next day, Tuesday February 17, 1998 made his last performance, which was in "El Show de Raymond Arrieta", in WAPA TV / Channel 4. A significant detail presentation occurred during the second season could be a warning of his impending end: while playing consecrating one of his hits, "hours and minutes" - bolero of Antonio Jose "Pepe" Quirós who vocalized hundreds of times over 30 years - he forgot the lyrics for a moment. Although his seniority allowed him to overcome the situation without much difficulty, it was the first time in more than six decades of artistic career.
- Portrait Of Santos Colón (Fania Records), 1969
- Santitos (Fania Records), 1970
- Love Story (Fania Records), 1971
- Imágenes / Éxitos De Santos Colón (Fania Records), 1971
- Fiel (Fania Records), 1972
- Brindis De Navidad (Fania Records), 1972
- Long Live The King (Cotique), 1973
- Santitos Y Su Pueblo (Cotique), 1974
- Con Mucho Cariño (Fania Records), 1975
- Siempre Santitos (Fania Records), 1976
- Bonita (Fania Records), 1977
- Con Placer (Fania Records), 1979
- Mis Grandes Éxitos En El Bolero De Amor (Disco Hit),1994
- Bolero De Amor / Parte II (Disco Hit),1995
- Un Santo Para La Historia (DHCD), 1998
With Tito Puente Orchestra
- Dance Manía (1958 - RCA Víctor)
- Mucho Cha Cha (1959 - RCA Víctor)
- Tambó (1960 - RCA Víctor)
- The Exciting Tito Puente Band In Hollywood (1961 - GNP)
- El Rey Tito : Bravo Puente (1962 - Tico)
- In Puerto Rico (Live) (1963 - Tico)
- Excitante Ritmo (1963 - Tico)
- El Mundo Latino De Tito Puente (1963 - Tico)
- Mucho Puente (1964 - Tico)
- De Mi Para Ti (1964 - Tico)
- Carnaval En Harlem (1965 - Tico)
- Stop & Listen / Pare & Oiga (1967 Tico)
- El Rey [The King] (1968 - Tico)
- Tito Puente En El Puente [On The Bridge] (1969 Tico)
- Pa’ Lante [Straight] (1970 - Tico)
- No Hay Mejor [There Is No Better] (1975 - Tico)
- Homenaje A Beny (1978) Plays with Tito Puente ("Dolor Y Perdón")
- Homenaje A Beny (1979) Plays with Tito Puente ("Como El Arrullo De Palmas")
- The Mambo King : His 100th Album (1991 - RMM)
- Y Su Pueblo (1974 - Fania)
With Fania All Stars
- Live At The Cheetah (Vol. 1&2)
- Our Latin Thing (1971)
- Live In Africa (1974)
- Fania All Stars At Yankee Stadium (1975)
- Tribute To Tito Rodríguez (1976)
- Commitment (1980)
- Latin Connection (1981)
With Payo Alicea & Sexteto La Playa
- Vaya Means Go ! (Mardi Grass), 1968
- No Se Puede Morir Por Dentro (Velvet), 1977
With Artistada Puertorriqueña
- Somos El Prójimo (1986)
With Miguelito Miranda & Orquesta
- Miguelito Miranda & Orquesta (Verne), 1948 re released as 50 years in music (CR), 1987.
Plays with Panchito Minguela
With Joey Hernández
- ¡Compárame ! (PMA), 1989
- Max Salazar Mambo kingdom: Latin music in New York 2002 "Santitos Colón - On Saturday, February 21, 1998, the renowned balladeer Santos Colón, known as Santitos, died in Puerto Rico. ... Born Angel Santos Vega Colón in Mayaguez on November 1, 1922, he began singing with the orchestra of Frank Madera..."
- Josephine Powell Tito Puente: When the Drums Are Dreaming 2007 Page 246 "... show at the Lafayette Theater in Harlem. The only thing original was that seven of the eleven selections were Puente's compositions. What was new was vocalist Santitos Colón, a Puerto Rican who was both a bolerista and a guarachero ..."
- Paquito D'Rivera, Ilan Stavans My Sax Life: A Memoir 2008 Page 318 "... Ray Barretto, Willie Bobo, Cándido Camero, and Carlos “Patato” Valdés, passed through his rhythm sections, while such great vocalists as La Lupe, Santitos Colón, Vicentico Valdés, La India, Rolando Laserie, Miguelito Valdés, and Bobby .."
- César Miguel Rondón, Frances R. Aparicio, Jackie White The Book of Salsa: A Chronicle of Urban Music from the Caribbean 2008 Page 127 "The same could be said of Santitos Colón, the best bolerista in Tito Puente's orchestra and the singer Fania tried to use to forge a connection with the past. But both Vitín and Colón lacked the roots and the incisiveness to create a .."
- César Miguel Rondón, Frances R. Aparicio, Jackie White The Book of Salsa: A Chronicle of Urban Music from the Caribbean 2008 Page 53 "The final two of the seven Fania singers — Santos Colón and Cheo Feliciano — were called soloists because they had no permanent role in any particular orchestra. It is odd that Fania selected these two when it had four other singers under contract. In fact, it is easy to argue that either Justo Betancourt or Monguito should..."