Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman remembers a young singer whose promising career ended tragically.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Friday on KXT and Saturday on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KERA radio’s 90.1 at Night.
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Selena Quintanilla died on March 31, 1995. Born in Freeport, Texas, on April 16, 1971, Selena began singing as a child. She quickly blossomed into a charismatic performer who integrated cumbias, rancheras, pop and rock ‘n’ roll. In 1992, her album Entre a Mi Mundo soared to the top of the Spanish-language pop charts. In 1992, she won a Grammy for her CD Selena Live, and her 1994 CD, Amor Prohibido, was the first Tejano album to go gold. However, just as Selena was poised for international stardom, the former president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar, fatally shot the young singer. Selena’s tragic murder brought her to the attention of non-Spanish speaking audiences. Within a month of her death, Selena had five albums in the Billboard Top 200, a feat previously matched only by Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Garth Brooks.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll pay tribute to the son of a former slave who helped inspire a Texas guitar legend.