Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA: Music legend and icon, Al Hurricane, often referred to as ‘Godfather of New Mexico Music’ passed away Sunday evening at 81 years old. Two of his daughters were at his side. His son, Al Hurricane, Jr., said his father died from complications related to a long battle against prostate cancer. Al Hurricane is survived by seven children.
Hurricane, Jr. said his father had already said his goodbyes to his friends, fans and his children. “He didn’t want people crying when it was his time to go,” his son said.
His death came two years after his announcement that he had Stage 4 prostate cancer. Afterwards, he went on a farewell tour and kept performing despite chemotherapy treatment.
Two years ago, Al Hurricane announced he had Stage 4 prostate cancer, after which he embarked on a farewell tour and kept performing despite chemotherapy treatment.
Al Hurricane’s legacy in sixty years of performing is well known throughout the US southwest. Al Hurricane was known as the “Godfather of New Mexico music” for developing a distinct sound bridging New Mexicos’s unique Hispanic traditions with country and rock.
Born Alberto Nelson Sanchez on July 10, 1936, in the tiny village of Dixon, New Mexico, he was raised for a time in Ojo Sarco before moving to Arizona and later Albuquerque. He learned to play the guitar thanks to his mother and his father, a miner.
Al Hurricane began his professional music career by singing in Albuquerque Old Town restaurants before releasing his first songs, “Lobo” and “Racer” under the band Al Hurricane & the Night Rockers in 1962. He released his first album, “Mi Saxophone,” in 1967. The album contained his signature song “Sentimiento,” a ballad he wrote for his first wife and mother of his four children. Years later, a young Tejano singer named Selena would hear the song and record her own version of it.
In 1969, while on a trip to Colorado, a car carrying Hurricane and five band members skidded on an icy bridge and flipped five times. A piece of glass struck Hurricane’s right eye, causing him to lose it. He’d wear an eye patch for this rest of his life, and it would become part of his unique look.
Al Hurricane was honored back in May, with the stage at Civic Plaza being named in his honor.