Meet Johnny Canales, the Texas TV Host Who Helped Put Selena on the Map

This is Johnny Canales.

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Credit: RoelATejano / YouTube

He’s a legendary Texas-based TV host and singer.

In the ’80s and ’90s, you watched this show if you wanted to see the latest in Tejano and regional Mexican music:

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That’s right, The Johnny Canales Show. The show, which began in Texas, was aired nationally on Univision and later moved to Telemundo.

The moment you heard these six words, you knew someone at home was watching Johnny Canales:

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YOU GOT IT! TAKE IT AWAY! Although the show was conducted in Spanish, both Canales and his guests would often break into English during their interviews. And it never felt forced, it was just people speaking Spanglish the way they were used to doing at home.

Canales showcased big-name acts like Ramon Ayala…

Credit: Freddy Lechuga / YouTube

Bronco…

Credit: elguerote / YouTube

And helped break local Tejano acts like La Mafia:

Credit: Tejano to the Bone / YouTube

In the mid-80s, this young singer made an appearance on The Johnny Canales Show

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Credit: selenafan / YouTube

And after several appearances on the show…

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Credit: The Johnny Canales Show / Univision / Telemundo

She blossomed into, you guessed it, the one and only ? Selena? .

Credit: Tejano to the Bone / YouTube

Selena made her first appearance on The Johnny Canales Show when she was only 13 years old. Canales said Selena stood out for her ability to sing and dance. According to Canales, there weren’t many artists around Texas who could do both.

Canales says when he first met Selena, he scolded her for not speaking Spanish. He noted that by the time he interviewed her in 1994, her Spanish had improved considerably. Here’s their final interview:

Not only did he help make Selena a star, Canales would also take his show on the road, where large crowds would gather to watch their favorite acts perform. And to send a few saludos:

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Credit: The Johnny Canales Show / Univision

And Canales wasn’t just a charismatic host, he could also sing:

Credit: The Johnny Canales Show / Univision

Here he is singing “Botoncito de Cariño” with Los Huracanes del Norte.

After several decades on the air, The Johnny Canales Show went on hiatus when Canales ran into health problems.

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Canales had a stroke and went through five heart bypass surgeries. He even showed off his scar to Telemundo’s Levantate.

Canales was down, but not out. He’s back and more colorful than ever.

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Canales now works on a show with his wife of 20 years, Nora.

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Credit: El Nuevo Show de Johnny y Nora Canales / YouTube

It’s called El Nuevo Show de Johnny y Nora Canales and it continues to feature some of the brightest talent in Texas. And how does Canales feel about breaking artists such as Selena, La Mafia and Intocable? Canales recently told The Monitor News: “I never say that I made anybody, because they made themselves. But I think we had something to do to get them where they are right now.”

READ: Disney Princesses Getting the Selena Makeover Prove La Reina is Still the Best

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