Legendary Voice of Tejano Music Johnny Canales Dies

Nuestro Stories Staff
 | June 14, 2024

Tejano music promoter, television host, and cultural icon Johnny Canales passed away on June 13, 2024. The announcement of his passing came weeks after his family informed the public that he was sick. Canales was 77.

Born on May 21, 1947, in General Treviño, Nuevo León, Mexico, Canales emigrated to the United States as a young boy, eventually settling in Robstown, Texas.

“He was a household name for many people growing up in South Texas,” KSAT 12 news says.

‘The Johnny Canales Show’

Canales’ career began in radio, where his infectious enthusiasm quickly earned him a loyal following. However, it was his career in TV that cemented his legacy.

In 1983, he launched “The Johnny Canales Show,” a half-hour variety show that featured Tejano, regional Mexican, and Latin music artists. The show started locally in Corpus Christi, Texas, but eventually became an international hit. His catchphrase, “You got it! Take it away!” became synonymous with him and the show.

Helping Selena and Others

Canales provided a stage for many performers including Selena Quintanilla. He promoted Latino talent during a time when such opportunities were limited.

“Johnny Canales was a pioneer whose showcasing of exclusively Latino music reached listeners around the world,” San Antonio news outlet KENS 5 reports. “He is known for launching the careers of Tejano greats like Selena Bobby Polio, Shelly Lares and La Sombra. ”

His Legacy

Throughout his career, Canales remained deeply committed to his roots. He was a tireless advocate for Tejano music and culture, often traveling to small towns and communities to connect with fans and support local musicians. 

His show ran for over 20 years, ending in 2005. But he returned to do what he loved the most, supporting artists, on a new show co-starring his wife, “The Johnny and Nora Canales Show.”

His family posted the following on the new show’s Facebook page: He was more than just a beloved husband, father, TV host, musician, and entertainer; “ … he was a beacon of hope and joy for countless people. His infectious charisma and dedication to promoting Latino music and culture left a large mark on the world. Johnny’s spirit will continue to live on through the countless lives he touched and the legacy he built.”

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