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Cuba native Gloria Estefan fronted the band Miami Sound Machine. Songs like "Conga" and "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" topped the charts in the 1980s and 1990s.
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A short biography of Gloria Estefan who brought Latin music into the mainstream with her band the Miami Sound Machine. The group rose to the charts with songs like "Bad Boys," "Conga," and "Coming Out of the Dark."
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Although Estefan was somewhat plump and very shy when she joined the band, she slimmed down with a rigorous exercise program and worked to overcome her natural reticence.
After several months on a professional level, Emilio and Gloria's professional relationship turned personal, and in September 1978, they were married. Their son Nayib was born two years later, about the time that Emilio quit his job at Bacardi to work full-time with the band, then made up of bassist Marcos Avila,
drummer Kiki Garcia, keyboardist, arranger, and saxophonist Raul Murciano, keyboardist Emilio, and soprano Gloria.
By 1980 the group had signed a contract with Discos CBS International, the Miami-based Hispanic division of CBS Records. Between 1981 and 1983 the Miami Sound Machine recorded four Spanish-language albums made up of ballads, disco, pop, and sambas. The Miami Sound Machine first met with success in Spanish-speaking countries. The group had dozens of hit songs around the worldvëparticularly in Venezuela, Peru, Panama, and Honduras—but enjoyed little recognition in the United States.
The Miami Sound Machine's first North American hit was from the band's first English album, Eyes of Innocence. The disco single "Dr. Beat" went to the top of the European dance charts. The song's popularity prompted CBS to move the group to Epic, a parent label, and inspired group members to write songs in English, first with a couple of numbers on the otherwise Spanish-language record Conga. The rousing dance number "Conga" itself became the first single to crack Billboard's pop, dance, black, and Latin charts simultaneously.
In 1986 the album Primitive Love, the band's first recording entirely in English, set off a string of hit singles. "Bad Boys" and "Words Get in the Way" made their way onto Billboard's Top 10 pop chart. Behind the scenes was the work of the trio known as the "Three Jerks" producer/drummer Joe Galdo and his partners Rafael Vigil and Lawrence Dermervëwho wrote, arranged, and performed the majority of the music on Primitive Love and the follow-up album, Let It Loose.
As a band, the Miami Sound Machine developed a split personality. In the studio the "Three Jerks" and session players made records, and for concerts the road band, which included Garcia and Avila, performed. Estefan was the common denominator. Extensive tours, concerts in 40,000-seat stadiums, and music videos on MTV and VH-1 made the Miami Sound Machine a leading U.S. band.
Estefan gradually became the star attraction, and the act came to be billed as Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine or sometimes simply Gloria Estefan. Some commentators on the popular music scene called Estefan a demure, Hispanic version of Madonna.
After the Let It Loose album, Galdo and friends quit working with the Miami Sound Machine, so the band was on its own creatively. Early in its evolution, the band's biggest hits were rousing dance numbers, but by the end of the 1980s it was Estefan's ballads that engendered its success.
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