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Tejano Music Legend Johnny Canales Passes Away at 77

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Tejano music lost a legendary figure as Johnny Canales, the influential and beloved host of ‘The Johnny Canales Show,’ has passed away at the age of 77 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Known for his infectious charisma and dedication to promoting Latino music and culture, Canales leaves behind a rich legacy that touched the lives of many.

Born in Mexico and raised in Robstown in the Coastal Bend region, Canales had a profound impact on the Tejano music scene. After serving in the Army in Germany during the 1960s, he returned to Texas and began his career as a disc jockey at a Spanish-language radio station and formed his band ‘Johnny Canales y su Orchestra’.

‘The Johnny Canales Show’ premiered in 1983 on KRIS, a local Corpus Christi TV station, quickly becoming a hub for Tejano music. Canales’ signature catchphrase, ‘You got it, take it away,’ became iconic, symbolizing the show’s blend of live music and engaging entertainment.

With a mix of Tejano artists like the Texas Tornados, Little Joe, and La Mafia gracing his show’s stage, Canales expanded its reach by speaking primarily in Spanish, appealing to a broader audience beyond Texas. The show’s success led to syndication across the state, with Univision eventually picking it up in 1988 before it gained international fame.

Notably, a young Selena Quintanilla, performing with her band Selena y Los Dinos, made memorable appearances on the show in the mid-80s. As Canales transitioned the show to Telemundo in 1996, its popularity endured, showcasing the best of Tejano music until 2005 when the network canceled it.

In 2010, Johnny and Nora Canales launched ‘El Nuevo Show de Johnny y Nora Canales,’ continuing their dedication to celebrating Latino music. Canales received recognition for his contributions, including a star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars in 2016, further solidifying his status as a Tejano music legend.

Despite health complications following a stroke in 2008, Johnny Canales remained a beacon of joy for his fans and the music community. His passing leaves a void in the world of Tejano music, but his spirit and influence will live on through the lives he touched and the music he championed.

Rachel Adams

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