Who was Chalino Sanchez?

Mexican singer-songwriter Rosalino ‘Chalino’ Sanchez Felix was born in Municipio de Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico, on 30 August 1960, meaning that Virgo was his zodiac sign. He’s widely recognized as one of the most influential narcocorrido singers of all time; Chalino launched his career by composing songs for inmates who had stories to tell.

He was murdered on 16 May 1992 by unidentified assailants, and was called ‘El Rey del Corrido’ after his death.

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Education and early life

Chalino was raised on his parents ranch Las Flechas in Sinaloa; he had six siblings and their mother was Senorina Felix, while their father was Santos Sanchez; Senorina passed away in 1991, and Santos in 1964.

Chalino’s sister Juana revealed that the family was very poor, and that Chalino was deeply curious and mischievous while growing up. He began dreaming of becoming a famous singer at a very early age, inspired by the musicians who his parents would often play at home.

One of Chalino’s sisters was raped when he was 15, and two years later in 1977, he saw the man at a party and killed him in revenge; he then moved to Tijuana, Mexico and there worked as a ‘coyote’, helping immigrants reach the US. Before turning 18, Chalino himself went to the US as an undocumented migrant worker; he lived in Oregon prior to moving to Los Angeles, California where he had an aunt.

He worked various jobs while living there, including selling used cars, washing dishes, and selling cocaine and marijuana.

Chalino’s career

Chalino’s brother Armando, who was running an immigrant smuggling operation, was killed in a hotel in Tijuana in 1984; this was the inspiration behind Chalino’s first song.

He was arrested around the same time because he didn’t have documents, and then in jail began composing songs for inmates. His compositions began earning money, and Chalino was thus gifted many presents by his customers, most of which were firearms. He was then advised to visit the Los Angeles recording studio San Angel Records, but the artist who was to sing Chalino’s songs cancelled, and Chalino thus sang his own sons.

His first cassette was completed in 1989, comprising 15 songs, and Chalino sold it out of his car trunk; he was then introduced to Mexican immigrant Pedro River, who had his own small recording studio, and the two men began working on songs together. They focused on making ‘prohibited corridos’ songs, which glorified murderers and drug smugglers, but not long after this, many clubs around Los Angeles wanted Chalino to perform there.

Murder attempt

Chalino performed at the Plaza Los Arcos nightclub on 25 January 1992, and somewhere near the end of the night began taking song requests from people there; local mechanic Eduardo Gallegos, who was 32 at the time, requested “El Gallo de Sinaloa”, and then jumped onto the stage and pointed a gun at Chalino.

Chalino drew his own waistband gun, however, Eduardo, who was under the influence of alcohol and heroin fired four shots, hitting Chalino twice in the chest, while one bullet hit musician Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Hernandez in the leg. Chalino missed Gallegos and shot 20 years old Claudio Rene Carranza, who passed away a few hours later; the gunfight ended after a bystander wrestled Eduardo, and his gun fired in his own face.

Both Eduardo and Chalino were taken to Desert Regional Hospital in a critical state, and both survived; Chalino wasn’t charged with murder because he had fired his gun in self-defense, while Eduardo was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for attempted murder.

Chalino’s death

Four months after the above mentioned incident, on 15 May 1992, Chalino performed at the Salon Bugambilias in Culiacan, Mexico; he was given a note during his performance, which some people believe to have been a death threat, but this remains unconfirmed.

After the party was over, Chalino, his two brothers and several women drove away but were pulled over by black Chevrolet Suburbans; a group of armed men pretended to be police officers and took Chalino with them. He was found dead by an irrigation canal a day later; his wrists had rope marks, he was blindfolded and was shot twice in the back of the head.

Love life and marriage

Chalino preferred to keep his wife and son away from media. He was introduced to Mexican non-celebrity Marisela Vallejos by his cousin Rosalba; it was love at first sight for the two, and they married in a small and private ceremony in 1984. Their son Adan Santos Sanchez Vallejo was born on 14 April 1984, and was followed by their daughter Cynthia Sanchez; Chalino and Marisela remained together until his untimely death.

Their son Adan followed in Chalino’s footsteps and became a popular Regional Mexican singer, however, he was involved in a serious car accident aged 19, and succumbed to his injuries.

Interesting facts and hobbies

Chalino’s songs became highly popular following his death, and some are listened to even today, millions of times on the internet.

He was signed to a number of record labels, including Balboa Records Edimusa, Cintas Acuario and Discos Linda.

Chalino became highly popular after Eduardo tried to kill hi – some people believed that the entire thing was staged, but this theory has been proven false.

Chalino loved to travel, and visited several US states, while he loved to perform back in Mexico; he enjoyed the attention which he was receiving from his fans, especially from women.

He was passionate about sports, and occasionally played soccer with his friends.

Chalino was a huge fan of American actor Clint Eastwood, and some of his favorite movies were “Dirty Harry”, “A Fistful of Dollars” and “Escape from Alcatraz”.

Height, eyes and wealth

Chalino would’ve been 62 today. He had brown eyes and hair, was 5ft 3ins (1.6m) tall and weighed around 130lbs (58kgs).

Chalino’s net worth, at the time of his death, was estimated at over $1.5 million.

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