Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman meets a singer whose musical odyssey took him from the barrio to pop stardom.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.
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Sunny Ozuna was born in San Antonio on Sept. 8, 1943. Although he faced the same poverty and discrimination that many Hispanics before him had faced, Ozuna was part of the new World War II “baby boomer” generation that had unprecedented access to public education and economic opportunities. Drawing from both traditional Mexican folk music and the newly-emerging genre known as rock and roll, Ozuna recorded the 1963 smash hit “Talk to Me,” which earned him a coveted appearance on Dick Clark’s popular television show American Bandstand. Sunny Ozuna was an inspiration to other young Tejano artists who hoped to use music as a path out of the barrio. Ozuna went on to build a successful career in the Spanish-language music market that continues today.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll learn about one of country music’s most famous singers who at first tried to sound like anyone but himself.