Willie Colón

The Boston Globe described the music of Willie Colón and bandleader Eddie Palmieri as ”the sound of Salsa.” He helped shape the careers of musicians like Celia Cruz and Rubén Blades.

He was a composer and band leader who produced albums for Héctor Lavoe, Soledad Bravo, Sophy and Ismael Miranda. Willie Colón also recorded with other musicians like David Byrne, Yomo Toro and the Puerto Rican cuatro players. He had one Grammy award, 11 Grammy nominations and was a recipient of the CHUBB award given by Yale University. It was the Ivy League school’s most prestigious award.

Colón became quite successful after joining Fania Records and collaborating with Héctor Lavoe. Together they recorded several albums. The first two albums, “El Malo” and “Guisando” produced two hits singles, “I wish I had a watermelon” and “Jazzy.” He also worked with Rubén Blades for a few years. They collaborated to produce the album “Canciones del Solar de Los Aburridos” which became a Grammy winner. It contained hits like “Te están buscando,” “Ligia Elena” and “Tiburón.” They also worked on the film ”The last Flight” before they ended their partnership. Late in the 1980s Colón founded Legal Aliens, featuring younger musicians and recorded two albums, “American Color” and “Honra y Cultura.” In 1993, Colón recorded the album “Hecho en Puerto Rico” with Bobby Valentín and Papo Lucca who were formerly with the Fania All Stars.


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