Juan Gabriel, who died of a heart attack on Sunday, was a master craftsman of epic love songs.
He built sparkling bridges and choruses that transformed forlorn love songs into anthems. We’ve written an obit over here, but Juan Gabriel’s music speaks for itself.
Here are four songs you should listen to now.
1. “Querida” (Beloved)
This is Juan Gabriel’s masterpiece, a perfect specimen of a pop song that lets simple horn lines carry Juan Gabriel to his most epic chorus.
It’s a song about loss that builds into a desperate plea for a lover to make their way back to Juan Gabriel’s arms.
“Tell me, tell me,” he pleads, “when you’ll be back.”
2. “Amor Eterno” (Eternal Love)
Rocio Durcal, the Spanish singer, made this song famous. But Juan Gabriel wrote it for his late mother. As he described it, it was more than a song, it was a “meditation on love.”
It’s a song that’s become essential to the Latin American songbook, a way for Latinos to refuse to say goodbye at funerals.
“Prefiero estar dormido que despierto / de tanto que me duele que no estés,” he sings. “Como quisera, ay / que tu vivieras / que tus ojitos jamas se hubieran / cerrado nunca y estar mirándolos / amor eterno.”
A rough translation:
“I prefer to sleep, because I am so hurt that you are not here,” he sings. “Oh, how I wish that you were here. That your eyes had never closed and that I’d be looking into them.”
3. Se Me Olvidó Otra Vez (I’ve Forgotten Once Again):
This is the ultimate song for closing time. Again, it’s about a lover who refuses to let go.
4. Have You Ever Seen The Rain:
Juan Gabriel rarely covered other people’s songs. He made an exception for Creedence Clear Water Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain.” Juan Gabriel gives John Fogerty, a fantastic vocalist, a run for his money.