Johnny Pacheco

The co-founder of Fania Records, Johnny Pacheco, hails from the Dominican Republic. He made the trip to New York late in the 1940s. He was still in high school when he learned to play the flute, percussion and saxophone.

After spending time with Charlie Palmieri’s band, he left in 1959 and formed his own band “Pacheco y Su Charanga” in 1960. He and his band released their debut album with the same name, which became an instant hit. They also introduced the dance called Pachanga. In 1964, Pacheco changed course when he met lawyer Gerald Masucci. Together they formed Fania Records and released their first album entitled LP #325. Unknown to them, it was the start of the still nameless Salsa era within the city of New York. Incidentally, Pacheco is credited for coining the term “Salsa.” The company helped solidify the careers of several Latin American artists. They released albums and went on tours – entertaining audiences in Asia, Latin America, Europe, and all over the United States.

They released a second album, ”Cañonazo” that featured Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez on vocals. That was the start of many collaborations and many hit albums, such as ”Los Compadres.” ”Perfecta Combinación,” and ”Tres de Café y Dos de Azúcar.”

Pacheco’s career was very illustrious. He was the recipient of several awards that recognized his creative talent as a producer, bandleader, arranger and composer, including nine Grammy nominations. He composed and recorded more than 150 songs.

In 1967, the Fania All Stars was born through a concert that Johnny Pacheco produced.


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