Bobby Capó, the great Puerto Rican singer-song writer, left us 30 years ago this week, leaving us with a rich legacy in Latin music.
This short blog is to render homage to whom I hope to dedicate a full length blog in the near future.
Bobby Capó’s Music Career; Brief Summary
Felix Manuel Rodriguez Capó was born in Coamo, Puerto Rico and moved as a late teen to New York City, where he made his home. He adopted the name “Bobby”, perhaps because he was baptized as Roberto Manuel. Because Rodriguez is such a common last name, he decided to use his mother’s surname as an artist.
Bobby Capó found luck early in his career. I like to think that luck = opportunity + preparation. Davilita was the singer for the Cuarteto Victoria of Rafael Hernandez. He got sick, and Rafael hired the young Bobby as his substitute.
Soon after that he moved to New York, where he made his home. There is joined the Cuarteto Marcano, and later also worked with the Cuarteto Caney and the Noro Morales Orchestra.
As his fame grew, he found himself working in Cuba with the Sonora Matancera. He would later help his countryman Daniel Santos to sing for them as well.
Bobby Capó the Song Writer
Perhaps the biggest legacy Bobby Capó left were his songs. He was a prolific song writer, with some suggesting he wrote over 2,000 songs!
Although his favorite genre seemed to be the “Bolero” (remember Cheo Feliciano’s “Juguete“), he wrote songs in various genres, from “Aguinaldo” to “Bomba”, and even “Salsa”. On the latter, Ismael Rivera was one of his favorite singers, having made famous his songs “Incomprendido” and “Dormir Contigo” among others.
But before those, Bobby Capó wrote one of the most emblematic “aguinaldos” still heard every Christmas in Puerto Rico; “De Las Montañas Venimos“. He also happens to have written one of the most famous “guarachas” of all-time in “El Negro Bembón“.
Bobby was keen to experiment with mixing genres. His famous “Piel Canela” was, what he called, a “Bolero rítmico“.
Video Honoring Bobby Capó
The 1997 Banco Popular de Puerto Rico Christmas special “Siempre Piel Canela” honored him. The opening video was a collage of his most famous songs mixed into one. I think it is very appropriate to honor the 30th anniversary of his departure.