Selena Quintanilla-Perez would have been 37-years old today. The Corpus Christ, Texas singer only made it to 23. She was gunned down in cold blood, literally shot in the back, by the president of her fan club in March, 1995.
She went by her first name only, and began her singing career at age 8. She was a Texas girl influenced by soul singers such as Aretha Franklin and eclectic singers such as Donna Summer. Her father Abraham had been a do-wop singer in the 50s. He realized she might have a career in in Tex-Mex music, so he taught her to sing in Spanish by rote. She spoke only English, but she ruled as Queen of Tejano Music. Bidi Bidi Bom Bom was a big hit – and this live version shows her brother, Abraham Quintanilla, on bass and her husband, Chris Perez, on lead guitar.
Selena was a huge success. She won a Grammy and had begun her own clothing line. She’d signed a major record deal and had begun recording her first English album, an album she hoped would be a crossover hit. Just a weeks before she died, she performed before the largest crowd to see a musical event in the Houston Astrodome, more than 61,000. If you think of her as a Mexican singer, you’ll be stunned at how she opened the concert.
Selena survived less than five weeks. In late March, Selena learned that her fan club president had been stealing from her, and she went to a motel in Corpus Christi to confront the woman. Inside the motel room, Yolanda Saldivar pulled out a gun. As Selena turned to run, Saldivar fired, hitting the Selena in the back. She fled to the motel office where she bled to death. Here’s a compilation of the news coverage
The songs Selena recorded for her crossover album were released after her death. She never got to make videos for them, but her family put together video of her life for I Could Fall In Love.
Happy birthday, Selena, we miss you greatly.