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Sunny Ozuna: still rocking after all these years

AmongTejano's top pioneers one name certainly stands out - Sunny Ozuna. From the '60s onward Ozuna has delivered a ton of hits in the Tex-Mex field. Our correspondent Ramón Hernández profiles Ozuna in this feature.

We can’t say, “Whatever happened to . . . ?” because the subject of this article continues

to record and wow audiences with his showmanship. In fact, his most recent performance in the Alamo City was a complete sell-out.

As Ildefonso Fraga Ozuna, his names may not ring a bell, but as Sunny of the Sunglows and the Sunliners band, he is a permanent part of history in the annals of Tejano music. 

Considered -- also with Isidro López and Little Joe -- to be one of the “Founding Fathers of La Onda Chicana” before it became known as Tejano music

Freddie Martínez, Augustine Ramírez, Roy Montelongo, Joe Bravo and Carlos Guzmán are also pioneers, who are jointly responsible for the popularity of modern Tejano orchestral music during the 1960s.

Sunny began warbling when he and three Burbank High School classmates formed a vocal group named the Galaxies; and in 1958, he and high school chum Rudy Guerra formed Sunny and the Sunglows. Their manager was none other than acclaimed recording producer Manny Guerra, also a former drummer with the Isidro Lopez Orchestra.

This first record to chart on San Antonio’s American radio waves was “Just a Moment,” which he also wrote. Since then, that tune has been recorded by Jimmy Clanton, Freddy Fender, Frankie Ford, Roland Stone, Warren Storm, Larry Lange plus a few other vocalists. Today, it ranks among the Top Ten Cajun tunes of all time.

This living legend has the distinction of being the Tejano artist on appear on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand, play the famed Hollywood Palladium and with “Talk to Me,” the first among his peers to make Billboard charts and have a Top Ten hit in the American market on a national scale.

With over 50 albums under his belt, one would have to possess the memory of an elephant to name all his hits, not to mention the amount of space it would take in this paper.

His life story could fill a book and this writer is also half-way through penning his biography, which incorporates some of his aforementioned peers. With that i



 

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