Consuelo Velázquez, hailing from Ciudad Guzmán, Mexico, was the youngest of five daughters in the Velázquez de Valle family. Her father, Isaac Velázquez de Valle, was not only a soldier but also a poet, and her mother was María de Jesús Torres Ortíz. From a tender age, Consuelo displayed an exceptional affinity for music. Her most renowned creation, the iconic song “Bésame Mucho,” found its melody in the Cuban bolero genre when she was merely 16 years old. Although she left her mark as a Mexican concert pianist and composer, it’s her prowess as a songwriter that truly shines in her legacy. Throughout her lifetime, she composed music for numerous Mexican films.
The song “Bésame Mucho” achieved such iconic status that it crossed language barriers, being translated into over 20 languages. You might know it as “Kiss Me Kiss Me Much,” “Kiss Me a Lot,” “Kiss Me Again and Again,” “Embrasse-Moi,” or “Stále ma bozkávaj.” This melody has become an emblem of popular music, particularly in the United States, where it resonated with women waiting for their beloved soldiers during World War II.
“Bésame Mucho” is a tune that brims with the promise of love rather than the reality of it. It’s unanimously recognized as one of the most romantic songs in the annals of Latin music. Remarkably, in 1943, it made history by becoming the first Mexican song to top the New York charts. Even more astonishing, it held the number one spot on the United States hit parade for an astonishing 12 consecutive weeks in 1999.
Consuelo Velázquez’s songwriting seems almost prophetic, as if she had penned the song for the likes of Gregory Peck, foreseeing his arrival in her life and the ensuing sparks of affection. This may well be the origin of the persistent legend suggesting that she created the song.
Now, let’s dive into the original version of “Bésame Mucho” and some remarkable interpretations by renowned artists, such as Bob Eberly and Kitty Kallen with Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra in 1944, Frank Sinatra, The Coasters, The Beatles, and Luis Miguel.
Notably, one rendition has garnered over 60 million views on YouTube alone. The song’s popularity also extends to streaming platforms, boasting over 100 million streams, including various interpretations.
If you’re in the mood for a delightful performance, check out Andrea Bocelli’s live rendition of “Besame Mucho” at Lake Las Vegas Resort, USA, in 2006: Watch it here.
Recently, a festival known as the Bésame Mucho festival emerged as a cultural sensation. While Consuelo Velázquez may not be in the limelight at this event, those in the know understand the enduring impact she had on the world and Latin culture. Her legacy is a testament to the enduring power of music to touch hearts across generations.
Below are some of our favourite interpretations.