Roberto Sánchez

Roberto Sánchez, known as Sandro, was born on August 19, 1945 at the Sardá maternity hospital, located at Esteban de Luca 2151 in the Parque Patricios neighborhood, in the city of Buenos Aires. He was the only son of Vicente Sánchez and Irma Nydia Ocampo, both of Spanish origin. They lived in Valentín Alsina (Lanús district), where he spent his childhood and adolescence. Over time, he bought a mansion located in the residential area of Banfield, a city near his place of origin, where he lived until his death.


His paternal grandfather, of Hungarian descent, belonged to the Roma people, and his last name was Popadopoulos. However, when he emigrated to Spain he changed it to Rivadullas, a new identity with which he emigrated to Argentina. Sandro adopted that inheritance, eventually assuming the nickname of Gypsy.


His primary studies were completed at School No. 3 República de Brasil, at 3018 Presidente Juan Domingo Perón Street, in Valentín Alsina. Like many other Argentine teenagers and preteens of that time, he was strongly attracted to the music and performances of the American singer Elvis Presley, from his beginnings in 1955-1957, whom he began to imitate in his last year of attendance. to primary school.


His first performance, which would mark him for the rest of his life, was on Argentine Independence Day, July 9, 1957, at his school's event, when his 6th grade teacher invited him to perform his well-known imitation of Elvis, receiving applause and ovation from the public.


At the age of thirteen he abandoned his secondary studies and began working helping his father in the delivery of wine in demijohns, then as a butcher shop delivery boy, a pharmacy piece worker, and a turner. He bought his first guitar on credit and in his free time, he dedicated himself to learning to play it and perfecting his dance steps on stage. He owed his first lessons to a guitarist friend named Enrique Irigoytía. They both formed a voice and guitar duo with which they began to participate in singing contests and perform serenades upon request, in which the young Roberto Sánchez made versions of fashionable boleros, especially “Qué sera,” by composer Pablo Beltrán Ruiz. They immediately achieved great recognition and began to form various groups. Of the varied repertoire, Sánchez was in charge of singing boleros, tangos and some rock and roll, while Irigoytía sang coastal songs and also rock. Some of the names of those first bands were “El Trío Azul”, made up of Roberto Sánchez, Enrique Irigoytía and Agustín Mónaco, and the duo “Los Caribes”, with his friend Enrique Irigoytía.


Sandro himself reflected years later on his start in music: “I was nourished by rock. Thanks to rock I left the streets, knives and chains, and picked up a guitar. I left the leather jacket and the gangs. Rock saved me. “He saved me from maybe being a criminal.”


At the beginning of the 1960s, Roberto Sánchez adopted the name that his parents had wanted to give him and the authorities did not allow it, and from then on he introduced himself as Sandro. His first performance with that pseudonym was in a place called “Recreo Andrés”, located on Cnel Street. Warnes, from Villa Jardín, Lanús party.


In the early years of rock, he had not yet leaned towards the romantic ballads that a couple of years later would launch him into stardom. However, he had already achieved some popularity with some pure rock and roll singles sung in Spanish and which had led him to appear on television, where he was known for his Elvis-like clothing and his pelvic movements.


Then he formed “Los De Fuego”, which were five guitarists, Roberto Sánchez, Enrique Irigoitía, Héctor Centurión, Armando Luján and Juan José Sandri, and they performed at school festivals, competitions, and dances.


They tried out several times at record companies, but were rejected. By insisting a lot, Sandro managed to record two simple ones, without his group: "Do you call this love?" and "Dulce", which sold just two thousand copies. He convinced them to return to the studio, but with Los de Fuego. The band's first recording was on November 13, 1963 at CBS Columbia studios: "There's a lot of agitation", a cover of the Jerry Lee Lewis hit. From there, he would begin an admirable career: in total, he recorded 52 albums and sold 8 million copies ("Rosa, Rosa" reached one and a half million). He also acted in 16 films.


The wear and tear of performing up to five shows a night led to the dissolution of Los de Fuego. Sandro then sang accompanied by “The Black Combo”, released some singles, an LP and abandoned rock. The Combos were: Negro Orlando (guitar), Adalberto Cevasco (bass), Fernando Bermúdez (drums), Bernardo Baraj (sax) and Miguel Abramec (percussion).


With the money he began to earn with his performances and albums, in 1966, Sandro, along with other Argentine rockers, rented the La Cueva venue, on 1723 Pueyrredón Street, in the Recoleta neighborhood, to form a meeting and dissemination center for rock. Argentinian. La Cueva hired Litto Nebbia and Los Gatos as the venue's permanent band, a band that shortly after (1967) would record the song "La balsa", giving rise to what has come to be called Argentine "national rock".


In 1972 he was the first artist to sing at Luna Park in Buenos Aires, until then an exclusively boxing venue, with widespread success. In the US he received the Grand Ball award for singer of the year, and the keys to the city of Miami.


El Gitano detached himself from the rebellion of the original rock: his true success was in the romantic.


He fought an implicit duel with Palito Ortega: while the later Governor of Tucumán was the good boy, "the ideal boyfriend for my daughter", Sandro represented wild love, passion. His most important songs are "Asi", "As I did it", "I want to fill myself with you" and, of course, "Rosa, Rosa". His first big call was during the 1971 Carnival, when he sang before 60,000 people at the San Lorenzo stadium.

The legend says that it all started when Sandro was returning by car after giving a recital. It was a stunning full moon night. He parked on Pavón Avenue, between Quintino Bocayuva and Castro streets, in the Boedo neighborhood, got out and told his companions that there, on that block, he imagined a castle shining under the same light that silvered the neighborhood's trees. The truth is that, in 1980, Roberto Sánchez bought a property located at Pavón 3939, originally a chorizo house with 8.66 meters in front and 60 meters deep. He ordered the complete demolition and he himself made the plans for the new project, although his vocation for drawing had been limited, until then, to costume sketches and choreography. Roberto had no specific knowledge and had only completed primary school, but he read architecture books, sat in front of a design board and began drawing lines. The plans, designed by Sandro but supervised and signed by an architect, were approved on November 27, 1985. "Everyone wants to have a castle and I built one in Boedo," he said. Construction took about twelve years and the project survived the country's economic instabilities. With the work finished, already in the “convertibility” (1 peso = 1 dollar) of the 90s, Roberto Sánchez realized that it was cheaper for him to go to record in the United States than to do it here, so the castle It was only intended for offices (his and his manager Aldo Aresi) and a warehouse for instruments, musical equipment and show sets. Pablo Ferraudi, son of Olga Garaventa, Sandro's last wife, head of the School of Wines at the Inter-American Open University (UAI), partnered to enhance the building and to develop a new project, called the Center of the Arts and Viticulture of Argentina (CAVA) whose headquarters currently operates there.


When the turn occurred, the rockers did not hesitate to despise it. They described it as a "commercial product", "mellow" and, of course, "greasy". Years later, the environment would recognize him as a great: “What always attracted the most was his enigmatic personality, the raised eyebrow, the trembling of his lips and above all things... the mystery that surrounded him” (Patricia Sosa in Noticias , 07/11/93).


«Sandro is a true master of rock, and few people know that, because later he dedicated himself to another genre, which he does very well too. Sandro is a great rocker, he was a great teacher for all of us », explains Javier Martínez (V.Pintos, page 71).


Charly García and Pedro Aznar invited him in 1990 to sing on their album "Tango 4". On the occasion, they revived a Shakers classic, "Rompan todo."


In 1993 he returned to the stage with a recital called “Thirty Years of Magic” performed at the Gran Rex theater in Buenos Aires. The influx of the public led him to perform 18 performances, surpassing the record of 13 performances for that traditional theater held by the band Soda Stereo, and bringing together 60,000 people. That same year, the Venezuelan soap opera “El Destino” was presented with a version by Sandro and Olga Guillot of the bolero “Arráncame la vida” by Chico Novarro, becoming a success. At the end of the year he received the ACE Gold Award from the Association of Entertainment Chroniclers.


In 1998 he presented a new show, “Thank you... 35 years of loves and passions”, which included a tribute to the tango singer Alberto Morán, singing the tango “Pasional”, and to Miguel de Molina, singing “Te lo uro yo ”. Simultaneously, rock groups and singers paid tribute to him, including Bersuit Vergarabat, León Gieco, Molotov, Attaque 77, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Divididos, Aterciopelados, among others, in the CD that was titled: “Tributo a Sandro, un rock album.”


In 1999, for his outstanding musical career, he was awarded the Carlos Gardel Gold Award, in the first edition of the award.


After a long lung illness, Sandro underwent a double lung and heart transplant towards the end of 2009. He remained hospitalized in a sanatorium in Mendoza, where he died on the night of January 4, 2010.