“Feliz Navidad” is one of the world’s biggest Christmas songs and did you know it has ties to SWFL?
Even if you don’t speak Spanish, everyone knows the words to “Feliz Navidad” and Jose Feliciano’s recording of the song is one of the most popular and enduring Christmas songs of all time. The simplicity of the song, combined with Feliciano’s soulful vocals, has made it a holiday favorite for generations.
What’s the tie to SWFL?
Born in Puerto Rico, Feliciano moved to New York City as a child, but lived for a time in Lehigh Acres as well and still has family in SWFL today. In fact, back in 2010, Feliciano called the police after getting harassing phone calls to his home.
“Feliz Navidad” has only contains three chords, and the lyrics are just 19 words- 6 in Spanish and 13 in English. Feliciano said he wrote the song in just 10 minutes. But despite its simplicity, the song has a powerful message of goodwill and peace that continues to resonate with people all over the world.
75 year-old Feliciano recently told NBC’s Today show: “For some reason, this little song has united everyone. Nobody can get angry that you made them sing ‘Feliz Navidad’ because it’s in Spanish. Nobody can get angry because you made them sing the English part. I wanted to wish you a merry Christmas. And I think it’s wonderful.”
The song was released in 1970 and quickly became a surprise hit after performing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. It quickly rose to the top of the Billboard Easy Listening chart. The song has since been covered by numerous artists, including Pentatonix, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. It has also been featured in several films and television shows, including Elf and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
In addition to his musical career, Feliciano is also a successful painter and supports various charitable causes. He was inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2018.
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