José Alfredo Jiménez was the undisputed king of ranchera, the dramatic and sentimental singing style that originated in the cities of Mexico during the 1950s and '60s. Jiménez began his musical career at the age of ten, when his parents' deaths resulted in his leaving school and starting a musical group with a friend, Jorge Gabilondo Patiño. In the late '40s, Jiménez formed a trio, Los Rebeldes, with a pair of brothers, Enrique and Valentin Ferrusca. The group's first break came when they were hired to become regular performers on Mexican radio station XEW. In addition to performing with the trio, Jiménez sang with top-ranked artists such as Jorge Negrete, Pedro Infante, Pedro Vargas, and Miguel Aceves Mejia. In 1950, Jiménez's composition "Yo" was recorded by Andres Huesca y Sus Costenos. The success of the song resulted in Jiménez meeting with Mariano Rivera Conde, who booked Los Rebeldes to perform at his club. The trio's appearance was a major success, and the group became extremely popular with a young audience. After the breakup of Los Rebeldes in 1953, Jiménez continued to write songs about the joys of drinking tequila and the violence of bad relationships. His best-known tunes include "Ella," "Cuatro Caminos," "La Que Se Fue," and "Guitteras de Media Noche." In 1968, Jiménez was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. He died in a Mexican hospital in November 1973. Vicente Fernandez has recorded several albums of Jiménez's compositions.
In 2018, to mark the 45th anniversary of Jiménez death, Camilo Lara (Mexican Institute of Sound) produced Un Mundo Raro: Las Canciones de José Alfredo Jiménez, a various-artists compilation of reworked, modern versions of the composer's songs. The set's contributors included Enrique Bunbury, Carla Morrison, Lila Downs, Julietta Venegas, and Los Lobos' David Hidalgo. ~ Craig Harris~ Rovi