José Montserrate Feliciano García (born September 10, 1945) is a Puerto Rican singer, virtuoso guitarist and composer, known for many international hits. He was born permanently blind due to congenital glaucoma. Feliciano was born in Lares, Puerto Rico, one of eleven children. He was first exposed to music at age three. At five, his family moved to Spanish Harlem, New York City and, at age nine, he played on the Teatro Puerto Rico. He started his musical life playing accordion until his grandfather gave him a guitar. He reportedly sat by himself in his room for up to 14 hours a day to listen to 1950s rock albums, classical guitarists such as Andrés Segovia, and jazz players such as Wes Montgomery. He later had classical lessons with Harold Morris who earlier had been a student with Segovia.
In October 1968, at the height of protests against the Vietnam War, Feliciano was given the opportunity to perform The Star-Spangled Banner at Tiger Stadium in Detroit during Game 5 pregame ceremonies of the World Series. His highly personalized, slow, Latin jazz performance proved highly controversial. He accompanied himself on an acoustic guitar. The rendition was released as a single which charted for 5 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #50. Feliciano's "Star-Spangled Banner" took place 10 months before the more famous Jimi Hendrix rendition at Woodstock.
Old Turkey Buzzard, Old Turkey Buzzard
Flyin, Flyin high,
He's just waiting
Buzzard just a-waiting
Waiting for something down below to die
Old Buzzard knows that he can wait
Cause every mother's son has got a date,
A date with Fate.. With fate
He sees men come, he sees men go,
Crawling like ants on the rocks below
The men who steal, the men who dream
And die for gold on the rocks below
Gold, Gold, Gold, they just gotta have that gold
Gold, Gold, Gold, they'll do anything for gold
After two more successful albums, Feliciano, now a household name all over Latin America, moved to Los Angeles. He got together with Rick Jarrard who was at the time also producing Nilsson & Jefferson Airplane. They recorded the The Doors' song Light My Fire in a Latin style and when released as a single, it reached #3 on the U.S. Pop charts in late summer, 1968. Many subsequent recordings of "Light My Fire" by a multitude of artists took the arrangement from the Feliciano recording. He immediately became a sensation all across North America, selling millions of albums and followed up his success with another top 20 hit in the USA with his version of "Hi-Heel Sneakers", again recorded with a Latin feel. On the strength of this success he won two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist of the Year and for Best Pop Song of the Year in 1969.
He received a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1987, and continued as a very popular singer during the 1980s. He had his hands cast on the famous Madame Tussauds Museum's 'Wall of Fame,' and has a star in the Walk of Fame of his native Puerto Rico. He also had a great hit in 1987 in Austria with the song The Sound of Vienna, number 1 for four weeks and recorded with the famous Vienna Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestra also performed with him live on national television at Danube Park in Vienna before more than 50,000 people. During the 1980s, record companies gave him space only for the Latin market, and he recorded an impressive number of albums for that market, including the Motown albums Escenas de Amorand Me Enamoré, as well as others from RCA, EMI, and Capitol which added four more Grammys for best Latin performer. He recorded a duet song called Por Ella with the most popular Mexican singer at the time, José José.
His performance of "Old Turkey Buzzard" became a recurring bit on The Late Show with David Letterman in 2007, until Feliciano himself appeared on the show on October 16 of that year to perform a live rendition of the song.
In 2009, after won his 8th Grammy for album "Senor Bachata", he leaves Siente music and release two new great English album only digital download by personal website, one dedicates to "American Classics" which include some Frank Sinatra's songs, and another instrumental album master guitar album called "Djangoisms", dedicates to the great jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, an inspiration for him. [wikipedia]