Legendary Tejano music host Johnny Canales dies at 77

SAN ANTONIO – Legendary Tejano music host Johnny Canales has died at 77, just weeks after he addressed the public about reports that he was gravely ill.

“With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Johnny Canales,” a Facebook post from El Show de Johnny y Nora Canales stated. “He was more than just a beloved husband, father, TV host, musician, and entertainer; he was a beacon of hope and joy for countless people. His infectious charisma and dedication to promoting Latino music and culture left a large mark on the world. Johnny’s spirit will continue to live on through the countless lives he touched and the legacy he built.”

Canales’ life

Canales was born in Mexico before his family moved to Robstown, which is approximately 20 miles west of Corpus Christi. When he was old enough, Canales went to Germany to serve in the Army during the 1960s.

When Canales returned to the Coastal Bend, he earned a job as a disc jockey at a Spanish-language radio station while also starting his own band called “Johnny Canales y su Orchestra.”

Canales became the host of the eponymous “The Johnny Canales Show,” a half-hour Tejano music-centric television variety show that began airing on KRIS, a Corpus Christi TV station, in 1983. His friendly “You got it, take it away” morphed from a shorthand transition to an unforgettable catchphrase.

A combination of Canales’ personality, compelling Tejano artists and an appetite for live music on television sent the “The Johnny Canales Show” into the stratosphere.

Canales and the performers primarily spoke Spanish on the show, which broadened its appeal to music fans in more places. Half-hour episodes became hour-long episodes. The show soon became syndicated in more Texas markets like Laredo, the Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio before the show’s popularity stretched beyond Texas. Univision picked up “The Johnny Canales Show” in 1988, taking the show from its U.S. beginnings and making it international.

Tejano artists who graced the show’s stage include the Texas Tornados, Little Joe and La Mafia as well as a teenage Selena Quintanilla performing as Selena y Los Dinos in 1985.

The show continued airing on Univision before Canales decided to move the show to Telemundo in 1996. Its run on Telemundo stretched into the 21st century, but the network canceled the show in 2005.

Canales and his wife, Nora, launched another show called “El Nuevo Show de Johnny y Nora Canales” in 2010, according to a news release. Canales was later honored for his contributions to pop culture with a formal induction on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars in 2016.

Canales’ wife said Canales had been dealing with complications connected to a stroke he suffered in 2008.

In the post announcing the Tejano music host’s death, his family thanked the public for supporting Canales during his health struggles.

“We thank you all for your kind words, love, and support during this difficult time. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers,” the post said. “Remember him not with sadness, but with the joy and passion he always brought into our lives.”

Copyright 2024 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

First appeared on www.ksat.com

Leave a Comment