6 Chalino Sánchez Songs to Know Before His Biopic Comes Out

Lead Photo: Courtesy of Spotify.
Courtesy of Spotify.
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Before we had Peso Pluma, Natanael Cano, or Fuerza Regida, the OG king of corridos was Chalino Sánchez. Though the Mexican icon’s life was tragically cut short in 1992, his legacy continues to live on through his timeless songs. And with his story set to hit the big screen soon, there has been a renewed interest in the music he left behind. The biopic will be a chance for a new generation to be introduced to a singer that has most likely inspired their favorite música mexicana star of today.

During his lifetime, Sánchez popularized the corrido, which reflected his reality of growing up in Mexico, and later relocated to Inglewood, CA. While he was hustling to make a living on the West Coast, Sánchez reportedly got caught up in selling drugs like cocaine and marijuana. In the early ‘90s, Sánchez’s career started blowing up thanks to the success of his narcocorridos, which romanticized the life of drug traffickers. That may have also played a part in his murder in Culiacán, Sinaloa, on May 15 1992. 

Earlier this month, Peso Pluma tipped his hat to the artists who paved the way for him. He paid tribute to Sánchez during his performance at the Coachella music festival. His name flashed on the screen with other late música mexicana legends like Valentín Elizalde, Ariel Camacho, and Jenni Rivera. 

To celebrate the life of Sánchez, here are six essential songs we hope to see featured in the upcoming biopic. 

"Alma Enamorada"

The most iconic song in Chalino’s discography is also the most haunting. “Alma Enamorada” was one of the songs that he performed the night before his murder. While singing the chilling love song at the Salón Bugambilias in Culiacán, Sinaloa, he received a note that appeared to threaten his life. The moment was also captured in a video in which Sánchez appears stunned by the note. He then crumples it up and continues to sing. The next morning, Sánchez was found shot to death in a ditch near Los Laureles. His murder remains unsolved. 


"Armando Sánchez"

Even while he was alive, Sánchez’s life was filled with tragedy. In 1984, his brother Armando Sánchez was murdered in a hotel in Tijuana, Baja California, following a bad drug deal. The loss of his sibling and some time spent in jail inspired Chalino to write his first corrido. He recorded the song “Armando Sánchez” as a tribute to his late brother. In the heartfelt corrido, Sánchez sang his brother’s praises while calling his murderer a “coward.” This marked the beginning of his relationship with making narcorridos. Last year, the song was also prominently featured in the Blue Beetle movie. 

"Que Me Entierren Cantando" 

One song that celebrates the life of Chalino Sánchez is “Que Me Entierren Cantando.” The song was first recorded by Los Caminantes’ frontman Agustín Ramírez in 1984. The song that is perfect for a final farewell at a funeral took on a new life when Sánchez later recorded his own version. Backed by a banda group, his voice soared as he sang about the hardships he overcame in life. Sánchez’s version of the song is heavenly as he bid the world farewell. Jenni Rivera later recorded the song before her death in December 2012.

"Una Tarde"

Years after the murder of Chalino, his Mexican-American son Adán “Chalino” Sánchez started following in his footsteps. In the 2000s, the younger Sánchez started to solidify his career as a música mexicana star on the rise. In 2002, he paid tribute to the elder Sánchez with the album Homenaje a Mi Padre. The LP included a virtual duet with his dad. Adán re-recorded the classic “Una Tarde,” which blended in his father’s original version. Their voices were very similar and complemented each other well. On March 27, 2004, the younger Sánchez died in an accident that involved a car belonging to his dad. He was riding in the 1990 Lincoln Town Car when it blew a tire and rolled into a ditch.

"Rigo Campos"

As much as Sánchez’s corridos are great music, they are also time capsules of the era. Drug traffickers were fans of his narcocorridos, and he was often commissioned to write songs about their exploits. One famous Mexican drug kingpin was eulogized in his song “Rigo Campos.” The titular Campos often clashed with the Arellano Felix brothers for not paying his fee to them for conducting business in Tijuana. Sánchez’s song talks about the time that the brothers had enough of Campos and decided to have him murdered in a blaze of gunfire. As Sánchez mentioned in the song, Campos’ bodyguards were also killed in the clash and innocent bystanders were wounded.

"Prenda del Alma"

Not all Chalino Sánchez’s songs were narcocorridos. Like with “Alma Enamorada,” he also wrote a lot of beloved romance songs in the música mexicana genre. One of Sánchez’s most powerful love songs is “Prenda del Alma.” Once again, he sang about the power of the soul when it comes to falling in love. In the heartfelt corrido, Sánchez wailed about the struggle to forget his feelings for a soulmate who got away. Through his emotive lyrics, he compared the heartbreaking experience to being condemned to a life of suffering. For more haunting love songs by Sánchez, there’s also “Nieves de Enero” and “Florita del Alma.”