A new homage lives on Corrientes Avenue: the sculpture of Sandro situated at the gates of the Gran Rex Theater was welcomed with thrill by his fans and of course by "his babies".
Roberto Sánchez was born on August 19, 1945 in Buenos Aires
, without even suspecting that one day he would become an icon in the history of Argentinian movies and music: Sandro.
His passion for music started when he was a child. Like many teenagers in those days, he was fascinated by the works of American singer Elvis Presley. His first performance, which would leave an imprint in his life, was on July 9, 1957, at a school act on Argentinian Independence Day. He was warmly applauded by the audience and realized he had found his vocation.
At the age of 13, he quit high school and started to work in order to help his parents. He devoted his spare time to music. His first steps were guided by his guitarist friend Enrique Irigoytía, with whom he formed a vocal and guitar duet. In the early 1970s, Roberto Sánchez adopted the artistic name Sandro, a name his parents had wanted to give him but were not allowed by the authorities.
He began to be known with his band Los del Fuego
(formerly called “Los Caniches de Oklahoma”
). They started by doing covers of classic Anglo-Saxon rock but in Spanish. They paid tribute to artists such as The Beatles, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones and Paul Anka, among others.
In the late 1970s, Sandro changed his style completely: he changed rock for a more popular repertoire: romantic ballads. He contributed poses and rhythms he took from rock and roll, which made him provocative and attractive for the youth of the time, especially the ladies.
The fans of the Gypsy -his nenas
, which stands for "babies" in Spanish- became as important as himself. His presentations created an atmosphere of frenzy and sexuality. It was usual for girls to throw their underwear onto the stage.
Sandro published 52 original albums and sold over 8 million copies. His song “Tengo” was considered number 15 among the 100 best songs of Argentinian rock by Rolling Stone Magazine. He starred in 16 movies famous all throughout Latin America, Europe and the Latin communities in the United States.
On January 4, 2010, Argentinian Elvis passed away at Hospital Italiano in Mendoza. On January 5, people queued from very early in the morning to say their last good-bye to the Argentinian idol at Salón de los Pasos Perdidos, in the National Congress. Over 50 thousand people bade farewell and more than 100 thousand escorted the funeral cortège.
On Monday, December 3, 2012, a new homage to the Gipsy was inaugurated. On the 50th anniversary of his first performance, beloved Roberto Sánchez was commemorated on Corrientes Avenue in the presence of three thousand people who attended the event.
The life-size sculpture was made by artist Fernando Pugliese, the same who made the sculpture of Olmedo and Portales located on the corner of Uruguay Street and Corrientes Avenue. The artist was present during the inauguration ceremony along with the singer's widow, Olga Garaventa, his son Pablo, singer Raúl Porchetto and the always present "babies". Sandro's musicians performed on the stage of the Gran Rex Theater and a video with images of his concerts was projected.
The sculpture of Sandro will stay at the entrance of the Gran Rex Theater during the day. Sitting on a sofa, he is waiting for his babies to say hello and give him a kiss. At night, the Gypsy will sleep inside the theater, to avoid vandalism.
It is unquestionable that Sandro was, is and will always be an Argentinian icon. His songs traveled the world and were interpreted by musicians of all genres, and his movies keep captivating audiences.
Sandro is a character loved by the Argentinian people. There is no one who does not know at least a line of his lyrics. Sitting next to him, embracing him and being taken a picture is a dream and a pleasure for many. Today it is possible to do it.