Chris Sandoval

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Tejano pioneer Chris Sandoval was born in Laredo, TX on December 17, 1924; throughout childhood he regularly won amateur singing contests, and as a teen, he earned a regular 15-minute spot performing…
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Tejano pioneer Chris Sandoval was born in Laredo, TX on December 17, 1924; throughout childhood he regularly won amateur singing contests, and as a teen, he earned a regular 15-minute spot performing on local radio station KPAB. While appearing at a local festival, he caught the attention of Discos Ideal producer Armando Marroquin, who offered Sandoval the opportunity to record a demo. His first sides were cut in October 1955, with the bolero "Error" issued soon after. The record, backed by a performance of "De Aquel Amor," became a major local hit, and his career was off and running.

In the years to follow, Sandoval became a hugely popular interpreter of Tejano and Mexican songs, with a vast repertoire ranging from rancheras to boleros; he also recorded with conjuntos including Paulino Bernal, Wally Armendariz, and Rodolfo y Lalo, as well as orchestras like Mike Ornelas, Felipe Perez, Beto Villa, and Juan Colorado. Sandoval eventually joined Colorado's orchestra full-time, and while fronting the group recorded "Porque Eres Tan Mala," one of his biggest hits. After Colorado's death he continued leading the orchestra, and later formed a conjunto with Marroquin and drummer Celedonio Casso.

At the peak of his career, Sandoval formed his own ten-piece orchestra, touring the Chicano/Tejano circuit throughout the southwest and even into the Great Lakes region. In 1961, he cut the first of two LPs with his orchestra, and in total toured with the group for close to two decades. Ultimately, Sandoval retired from performing to relocate to San Antonio, although he continued appearing with local orchestras on an irregular basis. In 1983, he was inducted into the Tejano Music Hall of Fame, cementing his status as one of the music's truly innovative figures.