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Vicente Fernandez was born on February 17, 1940, in Huentitan el Alto, Jalisco, Mexico, and grew up in Guadalajara. Fernandez was the son of a rancher and spent his early years on this ranch; however, after losing the ranch, the Fernandez family moved to Tijuana. Vicente Fernandez dropped out of school in fifth grade in order to support his family. He started playing guitar at age eight.
Vicente Fernandez's first claim to fame came in 1954 when he won an amateur contest at a local television station. However, he really started focusing on music after 1960, when he returned to his hometown of Guadalajara and began performing on the streets. After years of trying but failing to sign with a record label, Fernandez finally got a chance to become a star in 1966 when popular traditional singer Javier Solis died. Vicente Fernandez signed with CBS Mexico and released his debut album, Perdoname the same year. Other popular work includes Volver, volver and 15 Grandes con el numero uno.
Vicente Fernandez has released over 50 albums and appeared in 25 movies throughout his 35 year career. Fernandez's success can be found in the way he prepares his albums and treats his fans. For his albums, he records 30 or more songs, and then with his producer chooses the 12 best of these. His concerts are an even more spectacular display of the commitment he has to his art. While many artists will spend a bit over an hour performing, Vicente Fernandez's concerts typically run three hours long. His long career has attracted sell-out crowds to his concerts, and millions of copies of his music sold. Vicente Fernandez has been married to Maria de Refugio Abarca Villasenor since 1963. They have four children, and his son, Alejandro, is a famous musical artist in his own right.