Over the last couple of months, Throwback Thursday has become a sort of sacred ritual here at Remezcla, a space to reflect on the past, contemplate the present, and build toward a more perfect future. And in keeping with the solemn, ceremonious nature of this weekly observance, the topic of today’s Throwback Thursday is (drumroll please)… Sunday.
It might sound a bit confusing, but we’re not talking about just any Sunday. In fact, we’re talking about every Sunday from 1969-1998, because over the course of 29 glorious years, only one show was always on: Siempre en Domingo. (Get it?)
Now some of you may have been Sábado Gigante folks, in which case Don Francisco was the voz cantante that gave meaning and structure to long weekends filled with good food, family, and spontaneous living room dance-offs. Others, however, opted to sit Saturday out, setting aside post-misa Sunday afternoons for the venerable Raúl Velasco, Siempre en Domingo’s indefatigable host and the man that brought the Spanish-speaking world the unforgettable phrase: “Y aún hay más!”
So this week, in honor of Velasco’s passing eight short years ago on the 26th of November, 2006, we take a look back at some of the most memorable moments from this televisual institution.
Velasco himself rose up from humble origins, moving to the gargantuan DFectuoso (Mexico City, that is) from the provincial city of Celaya, Guanajuato to pursue work as a journalist. After making his name as a film writer for a number of periodicals (I, too am still holding out hope for television stardom), he was offered a Sunday time slot for his musical review and variety show on what was then Televisión Independiente de México (now Televisa).The rest is television history.
Admittedly, Televisa doesn’t exactly have the cleanest reputation as a multi-tentacled TV conglomerate. The channel has been repeatedly accused of operating like a telecom mafia, colluding with corrupt politicians, and not making much of an effort to elevate its rapt audience with quality programming. Velasco himself was often accused of using pay-to-play tactics and making shady deals with politicians. But hey, politics aside (aren’t they always?), Siempre en Domingo did feature an impressive list of international superstars — often before they were household names — and left an indelible imprint on the collective consciousness of Nuestra América.
Here are a few unforgettable moments so we can remember the good times.
Selena: “Si una vez / El chico del apartamento 512”
Yes, here at Remezcla we would do “anything for Salinas” and so would the thousands of rabid fans that packed the house to see what would sadly be Selena’s last performance on Siempre en Domingo. Poise, class, sexiness and stage presence… what more could you ever ask for in a woman? Take notes, Ariana Grande, there’s still time.
Maná: “Como te deseo”
Yes, Siempre en Domingo was a shameless practitioner of the nefarious “playback” technique, and perhaps nowhere was this more evident than in this massive performance by tapatío rock legends Maná. But let’s be honest, it’s not always about the live music, sometimes hip thrusting and flowy shirts are all the crowd really needs (other times it’s a small misstep that turns into an epic stage fall).
Luis Miguel: “1+1 = 2 Enamorados”
Luis Miguel has come a long way over the years, and here’s the proof. In this video we find an early performance by El Sol de México, dressed as a Sargent Peppers reject hell bent on dethroning the Beatles with his silky locks and and a seductive pre-pubescent gaze at 00:28. While he may not have caught up with the Beatles, he has come damn close and was a regular performer on Siempre en Domingo up until the show’s cancellation in 1998.
Locomía: “Loco Mía”
Words could never do this clip justice. Just watch in awe.
El General and Anaika: “Rica y Apretadita”
Way before there was anything called reggaetón, there was El General, and Siempre en Domingo showed its ear for the cutting edge in Latin music by bringing the Spanish-language dancehall pioneer onto the show alongside Anayka, a Connecticut girl with a set of golden pipes who laid down the melodic chorus to one of his most recognizable hits. It might be playback, but even lip synching the words “mamita”, “rica” and “apretadita” so many times in such a short period of time would leave any mere mortal on the ground heaving for air. Not El General.
The original Mexican rockers might look exceptionally cleaned up for this performance, but it’s worth putting your hair in a bun if Raúl Velasco’s going to be introducing you a few million viewers across Latin America and beyond. And rightfully so. The band’s dense, heady combination of rock and traditional Mexican music seemed to be a true crowd pleaser. Check the 80s-style pogo dancing at 1:52 for some moves to study up on before Friday night comes around.
Cyndi Lauper: “Primitive”
Siempre en Domingo wasn’t just about Latin American artists, and there were plenty of crossover moments, with performances by everyone from Donna Summer to Sting to The Village People.
In this clip of the Ozone Park wild woman Cyndi Lauper, Velasco lays on the charm as he calls her a “duende” and compares her to an 8 year old girl. Admittedly, that wouldn’t be my go-to script for winning over an international pop star, but you can’t deny that Velasco looks genuinely giddy as he praises Lauper’s unique energy.