Frankie Ruiz’s Impact on Salsa
When Frankie Ruiz died, the Salsa music world came to a standstill for a moment. Another addition to the growing list of careers destroyed by drug abuse, Frankie Ruiz died at the age of 40 after succumbing to liver cirrhosis, as a result of years of substance abuse.
Born to Puerto Rican parents, in New Jersey 1958, young Frankie was hooked on to drugs at a very early age, but that did not stop his passion for singing.
In 1971, he sang his debut with The Charlie López Orchestra. He wrote the song “Salsa Beuna”, which was released in 1993 as a CD titled Charlie López y La Orquesta Nueva – Canta: Frankie Ruiz. In 1974 he left New Jersey for Puerto Rico with his divorced mother, and there he performed with bands La Dictadora and La Moderna Vibración. In 1977, his mother secured him a job with the band La Solucion with whom he recorded two songs. Ruiz recorded a new version of his self penned “Salsa Buena”, and delivered a single “La Rueda” which became a hit.
Three years later Frankie Ruiz joined hands with the famous Salsa bandleader Tommy Olivencia. His song with Olivencia, “Lo Dudo” was a major hit, and Ruiz’s solo debut album Solista pero no Solo, topped the Salsa charts of Billboard and other Latin American charts. The album was one of the best Salsa albums of the 80s. In 1987, he released another album Voy Pa’ Encíma which had six hits including the famous “Desnúdate Mujer”(Take Off Your Clothes Woman).
Frankie Ruiz continued to deliver hit after hit in the consecutive years, amidst arrests and time in prison for drug abuse and possession.His final public appearance was at Madison Square Garden before his tragic death in 1998, and the world bid farewell to a Salsa legend.
Such was the impact that Frankie Ruiz had on Salsa, that dance halls across the world continue to play his tunes to this day.