Tejano industry mourns the loss of producer and musician Bob Gallarza


Bob Gallarza | Courtesy photo

The Tejano industry is mourning the loss of Grammy-winning producer and musicianBob Gallarzaon Thursday (April 15) from colon cancer. He was considered the “Quincy Jones of Tejano Music” because of his “tell it like it is” approach and award-winning music productions.

His daughter,Sonia De La Cruz, made the announcement of his death via social media. “I am the daughter of Bob Gallarza, the legend of Tejano music. I am sad to inform you that my dad just passed away. Please keep us all in prayer,” she wrote.

The California native began his career in the 1960s performing at popular night spots in Hollywood, eventually playing guitar for 15 years with multiple Grammy-winning groupThe 5th Dimension, which offered him opportunities to work with greats like Frank SinatraSammy Davis, Jr.Gladys KnightNeil Sedaka, and more.

In 1984, Gallarza moved to Texas in hopes of finding a new sound. He joined forces with long time friend and music legend,Little Joe(Little Joe y La Familia), taking on the prestigious duties of producer, record executive, arranger, guitarist and musical director, and became a major player in the emerging Tejano genre. Gallarza went on to produce such artists as Ruben RamosStefani MontielElsa GarciaLatin Breed, and David Marez to name only a few. Gallarza won numerous awards including two GRAMMY awards and was inducted into the Tejano R.O.O.T.s Hall of Fame.

Music legendJohnny Hernandezshared on Facebook that his first album was produced by Gallarza and was saddened by the loss of his longtime friend. “Bob was one of the all-time greatest producers and arrangers,” he said. “When Bob found out he only had about a year left to live he called me and told me, I have to say he took it extremely well. I am very saddened by his passing and will miss him dearly.”

Stefani Montiel, who worked on many projects with Gallarza and was planning to work on a future project shared her thoughts on his passing via social media, “I just can’t believe he’s gone. From the beginning of my Tejano career, he has been one of my biggest supporters and always asked me to be part of his productions. He always said that I needed to do music outside of the Tejano genre and always encouraged me to do so. I’ll forever be in awe of his incredible talent and “tell it like it is” attitude. I’m going to miss our conversations about music, and our industry. He was truly one of the most knowledgeable and honest people I’ve met in music and I will cherish his friendship always.”

Grammy winner Ruben Ramos said, “I am very sadden to hear about Bob Gallarza passing. I was fortunate to work with him on some projects. He was a great friend, great influence in the music industry. May he rest in peace.”

Grammy winnerRick FuentesofThe Brown Expressand former member ofThe Mexican Revolutionsaid, “Rest in peace Bob Gallarza. Thanks for the inspiration and opportunity to make music with you. You are with our Lord now.”

Mike Torres IIIofLa 45and former member ofLittle Joe Y La Familiasaid, “R.I.P. Bob Gallarza. A great producer, arranger, and giant of la onda Chicana.”

Gallarza once wrote in a social media post, “You’re only as good as what you leave behind…record good music!” That he definitely did as he will be remembered as one of the best in the business.

Funeral arrangements are pending, Tejano Nation will have more information as it becomes available.

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