Julio José Iglesias de la Cueva, popularly known as Julio Iglesias, is a Spanish singer-songwriter. He is one of the most popular Latin singers of the 70s and 80s. He gained worldwide recognition by singing in a number of languages in his trademark style. His father was a well-known doctor and he was studying to become a lawyer when an automobile accident changed his destiny and brought out the natural talent in him after he was presented a guitar while he was recovering from his injuries. Today, he has among the maximum number of hits and has performed with legends like Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton. He has won a Grammy for Best Performance in Latin Pop for his album ‘Un Hombre Solo’ and has been honoured by a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was previously married to Filipino journalist and television host, Maria Isabel Preysler Arrastia, whom he divorced and later married the Dutch model Miranda Rijnsburger. His son Enrique followed his footsteps to become a singer. His daughter Chebeli Iglesias is also a singer and producer.
Childhood & Early Life
Julio Jose Iglesias de la Cueva was born on September 23, 1943 in Madrid, Spain. His father, Julio Iglesias Sr was a well-known Spanish gynaecologist from Ourense. His mother, Rosario de la Cueva y Perignat was from Puerto Rico. Iglesias means churches and Julio comes from Jewish ancestry.
After his high school, he studied law from the CEU San Pablo University in Madrid and played professional football as a goalkeeper for Real Madrid Castilla in the Segunda Division, which is the second professional level of association in the Spanish football league system.
He was involved in a major car accident due to which he injured his spine and legs as a result of which he had to give up his football career. While he was in hospital, a nurse Eladio Magdaleno presented him a guitar. Music came as a therapy to heal his body and get him out of depression.
After recovering from the accident he studied at Bell Educational Trust’s Language School in Cambridge for a while and went on to complete his degree in law at the Complutense University in Madrid.
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Julio got recognised as a singer in 1968 when he won an award at the Benidorm International Song Festival for his number ‘La Vida Sigue Igual’ from the movie with the same name.
He soon signed a contract with the recording company Discos Columbia, and released his first studio album titled ‘Yo Canto’ which peaked at number three on the Spanish charts.
In 1970, he represented Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest, where he performed the number ‘Gwendolyne’ and stood fourth.
Besides Spanish and English, Julio Iglesias has performed in a number of languages including his number one hit, ‘Un Canto A Galicia’ in Galician, ‘Se Mi Lasci Non Vale’ in Italian and ‘Je n’ai pas Change’ in French.
In 1979, he moved to the United States and signed an agreement with CBS International to sing in different languages including Portuguese and German. His album ‘De Nina a Mujer’ was followed by his first English hit ‘Begin the Beguine’ which peaked at number one on the British charts.
It was his hit album ‘1100 Bel Air Place’ that established him as an English language singer after which he went on to perform with pop stars like Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton and Diana Ross to release classic numbers that hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 list.
He won the 1988 Grammy Award for his album ‘Un Hombre Solo’ in the Best Latin Pop Album category. He made a cameo appearance as himself in the American sitcom ‘The Golden Girls’.
Julio Iglesias became one of the best known international singers to have performed in several languages. His son Enrique followed his footsteps to carry on the legend of Julio Iglesias with a similar style of music.
Julio Iglesias has a number of hit albums that are all time favourites. Most popular of them are ‘El Amor’ (1975), ‘Julio’ (1983), ‘1100 Bel Air Place’ (1984), ‘Un Hombre Solo’ (1987), ‘My Life: The Greatest Hits’ (1998), ‘Divorcio’ (2003) and ‘Romantic Classics’ (2006).
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His latest albums released in 2017 are ‘Mexico y Amigos’ and ‘Dois Coracoes’.
Awards & Achievements
In 1973, he was awarded the ‘Best New Artist of the Year’ at the Guaicaipuro de Oro in Venezuela, Pueblo Popular in Spain, Antena in Colombia and El Heraldo in Mexico.
In 1981, he received the ‘CBS Cristal Globe Award’ in Paris for having sold the maximum number of records that year.
The following year he was named ‘Brightest Hope – Male Vocalist’ by the National Committee for hits in Japan and ‘Person of the Decade’ by the Spanish magazine ‘Cambio 16’.
In 1983, he was presented the ‘Diamond Record’ given by Guinness Book of Records for selling 100 million albums in six languages.
He jointly won a Country Music Award with Willie Nelson for the song ‘To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before’ in the category Single of the Year for 1984.
In 1985. he was honoured by a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He won a Grammy for ‘Best Performance of a Latin Pop Artist’ in 1988 for his album ‘Un Hombre Solo’.
He was bestowed with the title ‘Honorary International Professor of Music’ by the New World of Arts School, Miami in 1989.
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He was named ‘Personality of the Year’ by the Latin Academy of recording Arts and Sciences in 2001.
The International Art Academy Ischia (Italy) presented him the ‘Music Legend Award’ in 2007.
In 2010, he received the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from Sony Music and the ‘Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts’ from the Spanish Government.
In 2013, he was named the ‘First and Most Popular International Artist of All Time’ in China.
He was given the status of ‘The Most Successful Latin Artist of All Time’ by Sony Music in 2014.
Berklee College of Music honoured him with an ‘Honorary Doctorate’ in Boston in 2015.
In 2016, he was given the title of ‘Legendary Artist’ by ‘The Brand Laureate’, which is considered to be the highest award for an artist in Asia.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married a Filipino journalist and television host Maria Isabel Preysler Arrastia, who came from a rich aristocratic family, in 1971. They had three children, of whom Enrique Iglesias grew up to become a famous Spanish singer like his father. Unfortunately the couple divorced in 1979.
Julio Iglesias then went on to live with the Dutch model Miranda Rijnsburger, who was 22 years younger than him. They later got married in 2010 and had five children. He lives with his family in the Dominican Republic, where he owns several hotel complexes.
He has contributed huge amounts for charity and was recognised with the prestigious ‘Paul Harris Medal’ by Rotary International.
He invested in a number of prime properties including the Punta Cana International Airport, which he owned jointly with the fashion designer Oscar de la Renta.
His daughter Chebeli Iglesias is also a singer and producer in show business.
He was one of the judges in the Miss Universe pageant, 1979.