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Ricky Martin: 1971—: Singer, Actor

Unforgettable Grammy Performance

By now Martin was a superstar in Latin and South America, but he had not yet achieved similar status in the United States, particularly with English-speaking audiences. His fourth release, Vuelve, came out in 1998 and climbed to number one on the charts in 22 countries, largely due to its smash single, "La Copa de la Vida" ("The Cup of Life"). And when it became the official song of the World Cup soccer championship that year, Martin's popularity rocketed to an international level.

It was an unforgettable performance by Martin of "La Copa de la Vida" at the 1999 Grammy Awards ceremony that opened the eyes of U.S. audiences to Martin's talent. A leather-pants-clad Martin took the stage and stole the show from Shania Twain, Sheryl Crow and Madonna. The number made news across the nation. Time wrote that Martin "performed the musical equivalent of CPR." Entertainment Weekly remarked that his performance "single-handedly goosed a very dull telecast, earning him a standing ovation." Martin himself told Billboard, "[I was] glad to let 2 million people all over the world in different cultures know who I am and what kind of music I make."

That one televised appearance did more for Martin's career in the United States than anything he had done previously. The Houston Chronicle quoted one record store manager as saying, "Ever since he appeared on the Grammys, [Martin's albums have been] blowing out the door. I don't know what those leather pants did. It just like turned everybody on." According to Rolling Stone and other sources, Martin's Grammy number increased sales of his Vuelve album by 500 percent.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Al Loving Biography - Loved Painting from Early Age to Alice McGill Biography - PersonalRicky Martin: 1971—: Singer, Actor Biography - Joined Latin Boy Band Menudo, Released First Solo Album, Unforgettable Grammy Performance, Released English-language Album