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Al Hurricane

biographical name | part of encyclopedia/music
Pronounced: Al Hur·ri·cane \al hur-i-keyn\ | IPA: /ˈæl ˈhɜr ɪˌkeɪn/

Definition of Al Hurricane

Alberto Nelson Sanchez, from Dixon, a New Mexico music artist known as “The Godfather of New Mexico music”. A leading music performer for approximately half-a-century, his music has remained influential since the rock ‘n’ roll era, well through, to the modern era.

Cultural significance of Al Hurricane in New Mexico

Al Hurricane was among the progenitors of the modern New Mexico music genre, and his music encourages genuine artistic representation of traditional New Mexico folk music from endemic New Mexicans.

Al Hurricane’s hit singles: “Sentimiento” (1968), “Mi Saxophone” (1968), “Rumbo Al Sur” (1971), “Mi Madre” (1974), “Por Al Amor De Mi Madre” (1974), “Por Una Mujer Casada” (1976), “Vestido Mojado” (1976), “Puño De Tierra” (1976), “Frente de Altar” (1976), “(El Corrido De) La Prision De Santa Fe” (1980), “La Suegra (Y El Yerno)” (1987), “Ay, Ay, Ay Que Borracho Vengo” (2003), “Sal A Verme” (2003, feat. Bennie L. Sanchez), “La Coloreteada” (2010), and “Saquenle La Vuelta Al Chicle” (2015, feat. Bandido).

Examples of Al Hurricane

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Origin of Al Hurricane

Alberto Nelson Sanchez. was born in Dixon, New Mexico, on July 10, 1936, to Jose and Bennie Sanchez. His brothers, Tiny Morrie and Baby Gaby, are influential New Mexico music performers. His father worked as a miner in Silver City, New Mexico, until he became injured. Raised in a musically inclined family, his mother and father performed in a band called Los Sanchez, he was encouraged to pursue his own musical inclinations. While he was young, he would accidentally run into stuff, which gave him the affectionate nickname, from his mother, Hurricane. Al learned to play guitar at the age of five, and when he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, he started singing with in Old Town Albuquerque for tips, near the wishing well next to La Placita Restaurant, between Sundancer and Old Town Emporium.

In 1954, after he graduated from Old Albuquerque High, he began working as a waiter at La Casita Restaurant, and continued to perform in and around Old Town Plaza. In the following years he got the opportunity to record at Norman Petty Recording Studios alongside his brother. His first commercial releases were distributed by Warner Bros. Records. These singles, released throughout the 1950s and the 1960s, lead to Al Hurricane becoming recognized for his folk New Mexico music.

Al Hurricane reached success with his first full-length album, Mi Saxophone in 1965. The singles from that album, both “Mi Saxophone” and “Sentimiento”, were highly successful, the latter of which sold over quarter-million copies within a decade. This album is often attributed with bringing New Mexico’s folk music to the status of a popular music within the state, and it became a symbol of his ability to combine Latin music, rock ‘n’ roll, country music, jazz, and rhythm-and-blues, with New Mexico’s Spanish folk music: New Mexico music. He toured the American Southwest vigorously, and while on tour in 1969, he got into a car accident which claimed his right eye. His impact on New Mexican popular culture was tremendous, as his image became associated with New Mexico music, including his eye-patch and large hairstyle. Even people from non-musical fields, like; Johnny Tapia (1967–2012) would later note Al Hurricane’s, Roberto Griego’s, and Tiny Morrie’s and the impact of their music on his own life.

During the 1970s Al Hurricane reached national and international attention, with lip-sync style music videos, on the Val De La O Show. These performances were featured alongside skits and interviews from various internationally recognizable individuals. This variety show, hosted by Valentino De La O, was responsible for bringing international attention to New Mexico music, Tejano music, and Regional Mexican music.

In the early 1970s, Bennie Sanchez, along with her sons, purchased and renamed The Sky Line Club to The Far West. Many musicians, from around the Southwest, often performed, including Selena.

The 1980s saw his continued success, with; his Corrido about New Mexico State Penitentiary riot, his album Madrecita, Te Debo Tanto, and the internationally successful Bandido recordings. The 1990s were a return to his popular Ranchera music, while mixing it with Cumbia music, as well as a documentary titled Al Hurricane: Native Legend.

A Tribute To Al Hurricane, was a tribute concert on April 21, 2007, at Isleta Casino & Resort. This concert was recorded, and released as a set of albums and DVDs. Another concert, on Feb. 16th, 2011, was recorded at the Kimo Theatre and released as the Live at the Kimo album in 2014.

He passed away on October 22, 2017 due to complications related to prostate cancer.


Alternate names: Al Sanchez, El/The Godfather, Le Leyenda.
First Known Use: 20th century

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