Jose Alfredo Jimenez
One of the giants of Mexican music, Jose Alfredo Jimenez was a musical genius who was reportedly composing songs by the times he was age nine. (He composed the hit song "El Jinete" when he was only eleven years old.) Revered equally for his singing style and for the compositions he fed into the Mexican musical lexicon, Jimenez was also a renegade bolero who shifted bolero's focus from the metaphorical to the physical with songs like "Ella" which spoke eloquently -- and simply -- of love and heartbreak. His delivery of songs like "Cuatro Caminos" has a kind of ferocity that is only rivaled by Chavela Vargas. Jimenez's songs helped shape the careers of artists like Pedro Infante, Amalia Mendoza, Lola Beltran and others. Jimenez was known for his wild lifestyle, which is no surprise in light of the sudden fame and fortune following his first 1950 hit and the string of successes that followed until his death from hepatitis in 1973.