Tejano Icon Johnny Canales Passes Away at 77

 June 15, 2024

Johnny Canales, a prominent figure in Tejano music and Latin entertainment, has passed away at the age of 77.

According to KOB TV, Johnny Canales rose to fame through his popular TV show which provided a vital platform for many rising Latino artists, including the renowned Selena. His catchphrase, “Take it away,” became a staple in many households across the United States, Mexico, and Latin America.

Canales' Vital Role in Latino Music

The "Johnny Canales Show" aired during the 1980s and 1990s from Corpus Christi, Texas, and contributed significantly to the Tejano music scene. Canales was a music promoter through his show and toured with his band in the 1970s, leaving a lasting impact on the genre.

His approach and humor were instrumental in his success. His show's widespread reach and Canales' personal touch notably helped launch Selena Quintanilla's career, helping her reach a broader audience at a pivotal time in her career.

Impact Beyond Entertainment

Beyond his achievements in music and television, Canales was a cherished family man, remembered fondly by his loved ones.

In a Facebook post, his family highlighted his role as a source of inspiration and joy for many, emphasizing his infectious charisma and dedication to promoting Latino culture.

Art Galvan, a fellow musician who toured with Canales, reminisced about Canales's inherent entertainment quirks and his knack for earning the affection of his audiences.

Art Galvan stated:

I was making about $50 per gig, man that was a lot of money back then … he offered me about $75. He was a funny, funny guy …. he was a good entertainer, he had the gift of gab. He lived a long, good life.

Canales’ Legacy Remembered

Johnny Canales was also recognized for his contributions to Tejano music when he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 Tejano Music Awards in San Antonio, Texas. This award was a testament to his enduring influence on the music industry and Latino culture.

His portrayal by Luis Bordonada in the Netflix series "Selena: The Series" further cemented his status as a cultural icon and brought his story to a new generation of viewers.

Dusty Oliveira, another local musician, expressed the significance of Canales' achievements locally and on a broader scale. The inspiration drawn from Canales’ success is vast, impacting aspiring musicians and entertainers across different demographics and regions.

Dusty Oliveira remarked on the inspiration provided by Canales' success, saying, “To see someone from here do that and then blow up on a national scale, or a worldwide scale really, is really important because you want to see people like yourself doing these things.”

Concluding Thoughts

Johnny Canales was much more than a Tejano singer and TV host. His legacy is characterized by his profound influence on the music industry, his role as a mentor to future stars, and his unwavering promotion of Latino culture. His life and work inspire many, transcending the boundaries of entertainment and serving as a benchmark for cultural representation and success.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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