WESTON, Conn. -- Happy birthday to Weston’s José Montserrate Feliciano García!
Best known as José Feliciano, the guitarist, singer and composer who has owned a home in Weston, turns 71 on Saturday. He was born Sept. 10, 1945, in Lares, Puerto Rico.
In 1963, after live performances in pubs and clubs around the United States and Canada, especially in Greenwich Village, N.Y., and Vancouver, B.C., Feliciano was signed by Jack Somer, an executive at RCA Victor.
In 1964, he released his first single, "Everybody Do the Click," which become a hit in the Philippines, at No. 2, staying for 14 weeks in the Top Ten Hit parade.
In 1965 and 1966, he released his first albums: "The Voice and Guitar of Jose Feliciano" and "A Bag Full of Soul," two folk-pop-soul albums that showcased his talent on radios across the USA, where he was described as a "10-finger wizard."
He recorded The Doors' song "Light My Fire" in a Latin style and released it as a single. In the summer of 1968, it reached No. 3 on the U.S. pop charts with over 1 million copies sold in the U.S. market alone. The song became a No. 1 hit in many countries, including Canada, Brazil and the UK and was awarded a gold disc.
Feliciano won two 1969 Grammy Awards for Best New Artist of the Year and Best Pop Song of the Year, bringing him worldwide recognition as a pop star and stylistic leader after his crossover from Latino music to English-language pop rock. He is recognized as the first virtuoso classical guitarist to bring nylon-string guitars into the pop rock scene.
In 1970, Feliciano wrote and released an album of Christmas music, "Feliz Navidad" and also acted and composed for television series and movies, including "McMillan & Wife" and "Kung Fu," and the soundtrack for the 1976 movie "Aaron Loves Angela." He has also been a guest performer on many albums.
During the 1980s, he began recording an impressive number of hit records for Latin market including the Motown albums "Escenas de Amor" and "Me Enamoré," as well as others from RCA, EMI, and Capitol, garnering four more Grammy Awards for Best Latin Performer.
In 2007, Feliciano released an album called "Soundtrack of My Life," the first English-language album composed and written by him.
In 2009, after winning his eighth Grammy for the album "Señor Bolero," he left Siente Music and released two new English-language albums for digital download.
On Nov. 9, 2011, Feliciano received the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement award from the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.
In July 2012, he signed with managers MBM/Howard Perl Management. On Aug. 7, 2012, Feliciano released "The King," a tribute to Elvis Presley.
This August, he performed at the grand reopening of the Levitt Pavilion in Westport.