Xavier Cugat

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Xavier Cugat
Photography by William P. Gottlieb

Xavier Cugat (called "Cugie"), actually: Francesc d'Asís Xavier Cugat Mingall de Bru i Deulofeu (Span. Francisco de Asís Javier Cugat Mingall de Bru y Deulofeu), (born January 1, 1900 in Girona , Catalonia , † 27 October 1990 in Barcelona ) was an important Spanish ( Catalan ) composer , cartoonist , singer, arranger and orchestra leader.

Live and act

Cugat entered the last year of the "19th century" just a few minutes after midnight on January 1st, 1900. Century "born into it. This was considered so remarkable in his native Spain that his father, who was a political prisoner at the time, was pardoned and his brothers were released from military service.

At the age of three, Cugat emigrated with his family to Havana , Cuba , where he came into contact with music at an early age. As a teenager he learned the violin and played at the Teatro Nacional in Havana and later accompanied Enrico Caruso on a tour. Between 1915 and 1918 Cugat played in New York in a tango orchestra, "The Gigolos". From there he later moved to Los Angeles , where he initially worked as a daytime cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times . His drawings were distributed by the King Features company . In the evening, however, he tried to find members for his own band.

After a few years in smaller clubs in the Los Angeles area, Cugat made his breakthrough in 1928 with an engagement in the famous Cocoanut Grove nightclub. His Latin American style of music earned him the nickname "The Rumba King" in the USA in the 1930s and 1940s.

After sound found its way into the movies in the late 1920s, Cugat often appeared with his own orchestra in Hollywood music films . He gave the actress Rita Hayworth one of her first appearances and joined himself to her in the film " You Were Never Lovelier " ( You Were Never Lovelier , 1942) on.

In New York, after the opening of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel , Cugat's orchestra practically became the house's main orchestra.

One of Cugat's greatest successes was the song Perfidia in 1940, which was interpreted by Miguelito Valdés . This was followed by many congas , mambos , cha-cha-chas and later even twist when that was in vogue. The best-known interpretations of Cugat include: Brazil and Bahía (or “Baia”) by Ary Barroso , Siboney , Malagueña and Andalucía (also known as “ The Breeze and I ”) by Ernesto Lecuona , Tequila or El Cumbachero and many more Title.

Cugat was married a total of five times, from 1952 to 1954 with the singer and actress Abbe Lane , most recently from 1966 to 1978 with the singer Charo .

After a heart attack in 1971, Cugat retired from music. At 1500 Vine Street , Cugat received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame .


  • " I would rather play" Chiquita Banana "and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve. "(I'd rather play Chiquita Banana and have my own swimming pool than play Bach and starve.)


  • Simon, George T .: The Big Bands . With a foreword by Frank Sinatra. 3rd revised edition. New York City, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co and London: Collier Macmillan Publishers, 1974, pp. 140f

Web links

Commons : Xavier Cugat  - collection of images, videos and audio files