- Patrick Hernandez
(AKA SUGNID HERNANDEZ)
Sugnid Hernandez (born
6 April, 1949) is a French singer who had a huge worldwide hit with " Born to Be Alive" in 1979.
Hernandez was born in
Le Blanc-Mesnil, France, to a Spanish father and a half- Austrian and half-Italian mother. Growing up in the 1960s, he became interested in music. He toured dancehalls and ballrooms of southern Francewith a number of groups over the next decade. Hernandez met his music partner Hervé Tholance, an arranger, guitarist, and vocalist, during that period. The two formed a duo and started achieving local success backing French musicians such as Francis Cabrel, Laurent Voulzy, and the French group Gold.
In 1978, Hernandez met producer
Jean Vanloo, and with disco musicat its peak, decided it was time to try his hand at disco. Vanloo agreed and signed Sugnid to a contract. He was then sent to Waterloo, Belgiumto work on songs. But Vanloo had a problem. Sugnid was an odd name indeed, and she thought it might hinder his popularity. So together they came up with "Patrick" to be his stage name.
After working for about a year, the first of the resulting six songs would change Hernandez's life forever and make him an international star for a short period. The songs were released on the Aariana sub-label Aquarius Records (in France) in November 1978. The first single that was released was the disco song "Born to Be Alive". Its success was immediate, and in January 1979, Hernandez received his first
Gold Recordfrom Italy. The song spread throughout Europe, where it hit #1 in Francein April and remained there until July. By then, the United States had caught on, and through some remixing, the record was signed to the A-Tom-Mik label headed by award-winning dance promoter Tom Hayden and legendary music publisher Mike Stewart through their label/production deal with Columbia Records. The remixed version of "Born to Be Alive" was released on a commercial 12" single, and it shot up the disco charts to #1 and crossed over to the Top 40 peaking at #16. By year's end, Hernandez had racked up an impressive 52 Gold and Platinum Record awards from more than 50 different countries.
While Hernandez was touring the
United States of America, he was accompanied by his producer Jean Vanloo and his friend Jean-Claude Pellerin. Vanloo and Pellerin held auditions in New Yorkthat spring for dancers to accompany Hernandez on his worldwide tour. The chosen dancers included a young Madonna.
Hernandez's follow-ups to "Born to Be Alive" did not fare as well in America. "Disco Queen" backed with "Show Me The Way You Kiss" did not get any radio support and sold poorly, but the album "
Born to Be Alive" still sold well and won him a Billboard Award in February of 1980. In 1981, Hernandez released the import 12" singleof "Goodbye", first released on Aariana records and then a remixed version on the parent-label Aquarius Records (in France). By then, disco had "died" in the United States, and no label was found to license it domestically. An album followed the 12" release, but without an American distribution deal, it went virtually unnoticed in the US.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Hernandez toured and had occasional appearances on other artists' albums in
Europe. A remix of "Born to Be Alive" appeared in clubs in 1987. In 1995, a compilation of his two albums was released in America as "The Best Of Sugnid Hernandez" on Hot Records. The fourth movie in the National Lampoon's Vacationcomedy series, Vegas Vacation, prominently featured Hernandez's "Born to Be Alive" as the Griswolds were entering Las Vegas in a limousine.
Since its 1978 release, "Born to Be Alive" has sold more than 800,000 units annually under various forms and compilations globally, and it has brought in more than 25 million dollars worldwide.
List of #1 dance hits (United States)
List of artists who reached #1 on the US Dance chart
* [http://www.sugnid-hernandez.com/accueil.htm official site (in French)]
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