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Juanito el Mejorano

16-12-2022    {{catList[367].label}}

Juan Lopez Alvarez was a renowned singer, better known as Juanito "el Mejorano".

He was born in 1923 in Calasparra, Murcia, in a humble family with five brothers. From a very young age, he demonstrated a gift for singing the Spanish copla. His father was Juan "El Crillas", who was an amateur singer and had a bar that was characterized by its cheerful atmosphere. In said place, both Juanito and his brothers sang and had the opportunity to see the presentations of singers such as Farina, Pepe Pinto and Antonio Molina.

His parents took him to participate in various local festivals. His neighbours and acquaintances admired him and invited him to all kinds of celebrations to demonstrate his musical skills.

Formation of Juanito el Mejorano

When he came of age, he travelled to Valencia to complete his military service. A contest was held on the Spanish National Radio station, called "You decide". In his presentation, he used the pseudonym “Juanito the Soldier" because he was in uniform, although some time later his representative changed it to “Juanito el Mejorano".

Juanito won second place, becoming popular and obtaining several contracts to sing throughout the region. He also participated in the “Fiesta Alegre” contest, organized by the Brotherhood of Our Lord Jesus Christ Resurrected, held at the Teatro Circo. In later years, he continued to give presentations, having up to three shows in different theatres on the same day.

International tour

In the 1950s, he travelled to Argentina thanks to the ease with which radio and television stations promoted him. There, he performed in various theatres and even learned to sing tango, adding that genre to his musical repertoire. Likewise, he toured Chile, Uruguay and Brazil, being well received by the public and the media.

Three years later, he returned to Spain, establishing his residence in Seville, where he married Encarna Morales, a Sevillian “cantaora”.
He was part of the Saavedra Circuits, dedicating himself to performing in theatres, nightclubs, bullrings and portable theatres such as El Cirujeda, El Olimpia, El Argentino and the renowned Manolita Chen Chinese Theatre.

After carrying out numerous performances, he decided to create his own company, with which he toured the entire country, part of Portugal, North Africa and the south of France, with the participation of several famous artists of the time, including Juanito Valderrama, Rafael Farina, Antonio Molina, Pedrito Rico, Fosforito and Angelillo.

In addition, he shared the stage with Paquito Jerez, Estrellita Castro, El Príncipe Gitano and Las Paquiras.

Shows and records

Among the most famous were "Las locas del twist", "Dos y ellas", "Jardín de Coplas", "Operación Miss Simpatía" and "Mi canción es para ti".

He recorded 42 albums with songs by other artists and others of his own, such as “De Calasparra soy”, “El santo de mi madre”, “Romance a mis padrees” and “Camino del Santuario” and outstanding tangos such as “Romance de Carlos Gardel”, “Un trago más” and “Silencio”. In addition, he had a couple of songs dedicated to his great friend, the bullfighter “El Cordobes”, entitled “El Valiente Cordobés” and “Retírate Cordobés”. His first discs were with the Columbia company and later with Belter.

Juanito el Mejorano, barely 46 years old, was returning from Barcelona after a musical recording when he suffered a stroke. He died on January 15, 1969 in Seville, unable to listen to his latest albums or formalize the proposal of two films with Filmax.

Ten years after his death, his remains were transferred to Calasparra, his hometown, where he is remembered in the family bar "El Mejorano Bar Crillas". The City Council also dedicated a street to him, and the festival of young “flamencos” bears his name to pay tribute to him.
Activities in the region of Murcia

       Murcia city

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