Father’s Day Special – Andy Montañez

1

“El Godfather de la Salsa” Andy Montañez is one of the most recognized and beloved Salsa and Latin music singers, as well as a devoted family man.

“El Niño de Trastalleres” has always kept his family, and especially his children, as one of his top values.

The Early Career of Andy Montañez

This is a special year for Andy Montañez as he celebrated his 70th birthday and 50 years of professional career. Unfortunately, he spend his 70th birthday in a hospital bed due to the injuries suffered during a traffic accident while in Colombia.

Andy Montañez began his professional career just as he turned 20 years old. It happened when ex-Cortijo pianist Rafael Ithier recruited him as singer for his then newly formed band “El Gran Combo”. Therefore both Andy and “El Gran Combo” are celebrating 50 years of professional career.

Note: you can read the first post of the blog series on the history of El Gran Combo HERE.

Andy Montañez and Pellin Rodriguez with El Gran Combo
Andy Montañez and Pellin Rodriguez in the early days with “El Gran Combo”

During the 14 years that Andy Montañez spent with “El Gran Combo” he became a household name. Andy and Pellin Rodriguez were both excellent singers as well as very charismatic figures on stage. With El Gran Combo, Andy’s career developed stronger and more versatile. While “El Gran Combo” became Puerto Rico’s musical institution, Andy Montañez became their voice.

Adios El Gran Combo; Hola Venezuela

One of the major turning points in his career occurred in 1976 when he made the difficult decision to leave “El Gran Combo” and Puerto Rico to relocate to Venezuela and join “La Dimension Latina”. “La Dimension Latina” had just lost their main singer Oscar D’Leon. Oscar had some problems in the band, and decided to form his own band, “La Salsa Mayor”.

As Andy left to join “La Dimension Latina” he was heavily criticized for leaving “El Gran Combo”. One of the most popular “tiraera” songs came as a result of this event, when “El Gran Combo” released “Aqui No Ha Pasado Nada” as part of the “En Las Vegas” album (1978).

Andy Montañez Returns to Puerto Rico

Andy Montañez and Ismael Miranda
Ismael Miranda with Andy Montañez on the backcover of “Romanticos de Nuevo”

In 1980, after 4 years with “La Dimension Latina”, Andy Montañez returned to Puerto Rico to form his own band. He recruited “Don Perignon” as his band leader, and brought in his two young-adult sons, Andy Jr. and Harold, as “coristas”. For a short time he also had his daughter as part of the band. Although Andy Jr. has moved on to do other things, Harold has remained in his dad’s band.

Through his 32 years as a solo Latin music artist, Andy Montañez has performed and recorded with several great artists of Latin music. He recorded with Tania Maria, Orquesta La Puertorriqueña, Ismael Miranda, Pablo Milanes, and Grupo Atabal. He has also appeared in numerous albums as a guest artists.

Today Andy Montañez is one of the most respected Latin music artists, enjoying the admiration of colleagues, family, and friends. He encountered and overcame criticism for his professional and personal decisions, but over time was able to prove his integrity and values as a professional and as a family man.

This reminds me of what Sting says in the song “Englishman in New York”; “be yourself no matter what they say”.

Happy Father’s Day…and check out the video below of Andy singing with his son Andy Jr. the song “Genio y Figura”.

1 Comment
  1. […] Combo in their 3rd album “Acángana” in 1962. In this version, Pellín Rodriguez and Andy Montañez do a great job on it. Pellín was a versatile singer, and singing Boleros was one of his main […]

Leave a Comment or Reply