Johnny Pacheco, the Co-Founder of Fania, Dies at 85


Johnny Pacheco Fania Clarinet

Johnny Pacheco, considered by many to be the “godfather of salsa music” passed away today at age 85 from an undisclosed cause.

Pacheco, originally from the Dominican Republic, moved to the Bronx in the 1940s where he developed his talent for music. Pacheco attended the Juilliard School in New York City, and started his own orchestra in the 1960s.

In 1963, Johnny Pacheco partnered with his attourney, Jerry Masucci to form Fania records, which grew to become the largest music label for Latin music in the 1960s and helped to spread the popularity of salsa music around the world.

In addition to managing the record label, Pacheco also served as Fania’s bandleader, performing with many of the biggest names of salsa such as Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. He was well known for playing the clarinet, which he learned from his father.

Pacheco was also a prolific composer, and wrote and recorded over 150 salsa songs including hits such as “Mi Gente”, “Quítate Tú”, and “Acuyuye”.

Johnny Pacheco is a salsa music legend, and will forever be remembered for his contributions to creating the music genre that many of us enjoy to this day.

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