Unfortunately another salsa legend passed away Yesterday. Rip Tony Molina descansa en paz.
Over his long and steady career Tony Molina became one of the most in demand singers to ever pack ballrooms. Performing live and on recording as vocalist and conga player, his ability to draw in an audience was put to good use by the orchestras of Joseito Roman, Tito Puente, Fausto Curbelo, Jose Curbelo, Alfredito, and Ramon Argueso to name only a few. And when not on the road, he was the house singer at the Roseland Ballroom in New York.
The list of stages he has performed on are innumerable: from Switzerland to Japan, the Sahara in Las Vegas to Puerto Rico’s plush Hotel Barranquita, New York’s high society Waldorf Astoria, the Stork Club, the El Morocco…. When the Paladium Ballroom opened in New York Tony Molina was one of the singers on opening night. Often sold as part of a packaged review, Tony shared equal prominence on the marquee with such names as Sammy Davis Jr. Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennet, Louis Prima & Keely Smith, Sara Vaughn, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Sammy Davis Jr, and Peg Leg Bates.
A list of who’s who in the world of popular music could be assembled not only from those he shared the stage with, but those who were his fans as well. Billy Holiday and Peggy Lee often stopped by to see him perform. Dubbed the “Latin Frank Sinatra” by radio stations because of his ability to deliver powerful ballads as well as up tempo tunes, Molina’s fame spread via live broadcasts as well as recordings. Tony Molina’s voice appeared at the top of charts both in this country as well as internationally. Throughout his long career Tony appeared on a wide variety of television programs: The Ernie Kovacs Show, The Battle of the Bands, Tony Pabon television show…, his singing could even be heard in the background on General Hospital and As the World Turns. Live radio programs for CBS from the Chase Hotel in Saint Louis and for KMOX live from the Parkway Club in Boston.
He even became source music together with the Argueso orchestra in the Merchant Ivory Productions movie “Roseland”which stars Geraldeen Fitzgerald, Geraldine Chaplin, and Christopher Walken. The history of his influence and presence as one of Latin musics most admired and revered vocalists has been well documented in magazines like Latin Beat, and books such as musicologist Max Salazar’s “MAMBO KINGDOM: Latin Music in New York”. But it is a past that has never become the past. Even as investment savvy collecionist scurry to obtain original pressings of his albums, CD and digital version are being reissued around the world, and the internet is alive with his music.
Tony continues to be one of Latin America’s favorites because of his concerts throughout Central and South America. Because of the Latin music recording industry having gone under, Tony hadn’t recorded until he was invited as a guest artist on a new CD recorded by Ruben Toledo Group La Llave in Columbia. And guess what, as is his custom, he stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park with “Ya No Te Puedo Querer” which has climbed the charts to number one in Medellin, Columbia and number twelve world wide and going up in the charts.
A few of Tony’s TOP HITS:
LA LA LA (A LA LA E) with José Curbelo And His Orchestra
GUAGUANCO EN NEW YORK with José Curbelo And His Orchestra
SUN SUN BABAE with José Curbelo And His Orchestra
HUMO with Randy Carlos
CON SU PERMISO with Héctor Rivera
TUMBA EL QUINTO with Héctor Rivera
OREJA MOCHA with Ramon Argueso
EQUE TUMBAO with José Curbelo And His Orchestra
QUIVICAN with Alfredio Levy
ANABACOA with Alfredio Levy
CANAON with Alfredio Levy
EL GATO Y EL RATON with Alfredio Levy
TIMBALES with Alfredio Levy
POCO A POCO with Héctor Rivera
GUAPACHA EN ORBITA with Rafael Bouffatique
CHARANGA EN NEW YORK with Rafael Bouffatique
PA LOS RUMBEROS with Tito Puente
SOY PILONGO with Jose Cuba
MAMBO SOLITO with Johnny Conquet
NO NO OTRA VEZ with La Playa Sextet
MUCHA TAN BONITA with Juanucho Lopez
YA NO TE PUEDO QUERER with Ruben Toledo