Sandro de América is dead

He was known as the El Elvis argentino and El Gitano but millions more knew him as Sandro de América. Roberto Sánchez, who crooned to a generation and became one of the biggest stars of popular music and cinema in Latin America, has died.

You might not have heard of Sandro. While he was one of the biggest selling Spanish-language musical artists in history (outselling all others in the world in 1969), and the star of 16 films and several telenovelas, he was not widely known outside of the Spanish-speaking world. He began his career as something of an Elvis impersonator, singing tunes by the King, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the Rolling Stones in the mid-1960s.  As he ventured into his own signature tunes, he gained famed as one of the stars of popular/youth music in Argentina, the man who hybridized Anglo-Saxon rock with Spanish romance and pop.

While you might not “see” Elvis in his style, he captured the essence of that 60s male crooner, sex-symbol, rock idol archetype  an image he projected to his adoring fans (known as “las chicas”).  In an English-language context, he was much like a Robert Goulet, Tom Jones, or Englebert Humperdink, people who appropriated a popular musical image and style and made a career out of it.  Here he is with one of his biggest hits, “Rosa, Rosa”:

But in terms of his popular impact and longevity, he was bigger than all the Elvis-derived performers rolled together.  Here he is as a middle-aged man, performing his biggest hit (“Quiero Llenarme de ti”) to the grown-up “chicas” at his famous 25th anniversary performance:

Sandro–who received a lung and heart transplant last November–died of an infection.  He was 64.

18 thoughts on “Sandro de América is dead

  1. I had only barely heard of him myself, but he stands as one of those interesting pop icons, huge in his day in Argentina, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, and other parts of the Spanish-speaking world, while unknown to the US. When I heard he passed, and didn’t see anything in English, I thought it needed some sharing with the blogosphere this side of the border.

    As always, thanks for reading…

  2. I was the teasury of the Sandro Internation Fan CLub in nyc doing the early 70.’s. In fact, I won the title of queen of the club back in 1973. He wasa great artist as well as a beautiful person to talk to. He designed our uniforms for us. I miss Him.

  3. I just learned yesterday of your untimely death. I have cried ever since–tears of blood. I grew up with your music and still have vinyl records of your songs. Still play them, although they are a bit worn out. So are we. You were the greatest of the great, Gitano. One evening when my girl friend and I went to one of your concerts in Miami, we left before it was over. We were watching the exits to see which one you left from so we could follow you and get your authograph. We were both very much in love with you. You escaped us and we were unable to find where you were going. I am so very, very sorry you are gone, but I will never, ever forget you. I wish I had been able to get that autograph I wanted so much. But I will always love you.

  4. Hey Sandy, I remember very well thThe Felt forum Madison Square Garden. Those days were sure inocent and full of fun. The Year was 1971 and it was wonderful. Please write to me at my e-mail. Would love to hear from you. Love Liz

  5. hi sandro fans, Where is Nerty Rios and Narcissa Escano and all my friends from New York during the 70’s. Please get in touch with me at my e-mail, We sure had alot of fun. We celebrated Sandro’s Birhtday at the Park . If there is somebody that remembers write to me thanks

  6. Hola Elizabeth, I am Narcissa Escano, I now live in Tampa, FL. Nerty lives in Miami with her husband ant their two boys. I will write to your email. Thank you for finding me. SANDRO WILL FOR EVER LIVE!!!

    Love and kisses,

  7. This is for Narcissa Escano,…I am he from Park Slope 6 st. Brooklyn & was borned in Mayaguez Puerto Rico and you lived in the Bronx. We both loved Punta Borinquen Beach in Aguadilla Puerto Rico we stayed with the “Huesos” when we went to Puerto Rico. I’ve been trying to communicate with you….one of your favorite songs was “And I Will Always Love You”. A favorite Sandro song we both liked was the one that goes ‘…Por este palpitar que tiene tu mirar yo puedo presentir que tu debes sufrir…. yo te amo, yo te amo… Please contact me if you know who I am. You now have my e-mail.

  8. Hi Hipolito,
    Oh my God is YOU! Of course I remember you and obviously you remember me very well. WOW! That’s impressive!
    How is Ricardo and Margarita? I always think of you and your family.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have your email address (it doesn’t show). You can, however, look me up on Facebook.

    Un beso, Narcissa

  9. This message is for the PROFE,
    I don’t know you or what you are about, however, opening a page for someone who was as BIG and LOVED as much as SANDRO was, it’s something I cannot THANK YOU enough.

    Although you did not know who SANDRO was, you took the initiative to develop this blog and have facilitated so many reunion amongst long lost friends.

    By now, I hope, you have learned about SANDRO, if not, here is a bit of story:
    Roberto Sanchez Ocampo – SANDRO was not just a singer; he was a composer and a showman who on stage took over the audience of all ages and genders.
    At a very young age in his native Argentina, started with rock-n-roll, later moved on to POP and romantic interpretations never leaving behind his sexy and sensual dance movements. That’s when he became the SANDRO we all got to know and love throughout the world. He never wanted to go to Europe, but never the less, he was also known there.
    Those who got to know him, like me, realized he was not only an icon, but a real person as well. He never forgot his upbringing which made him very humble and sensitive human being.

    Once again, thank you, thank you.

    Narcissa Escano
    Founder & 1st President of SANDRO INTL FAN CLUB of NY


  11. I grew up listening to Sandro and was madly in love with him and his music. He was the greatest. I was greatly saddened to learn of his death. He will be sorely missed, but his music lives on. There will never be another like him. RIP my love.

  12. Narcissa Escano me gustaría conocer mas de la historia del club de fans de Sandro en NY.. Fui por años vecino de Roberto de su casa en la calle Pringles en Lanus Este. Ahora vivo entre Miami – USA y Banfield – Arg..Mi email es ralph_bsas@hotmail.con y Ralph mi nombre. Gracias.

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