Born William Anthony Colón Román on April 28, 1950, in the Bronx, New York, Willie Colón is an influential American salsa musician, composer, and trombonist. Often regarded as one of the architects of modern-day salsa music, his unique sound combines elements from jazz, rock, and Puerto Rican folk music. His journey in the music industry began at an early age. He signed his first record deal with Fania Records at the age of 15, and his studio debut, the boogaloo-tinged El Malo (1967), sold over 300,000 copies. Produced by Jerry Masucci and Johnny Pacheco, the album featured the talents of another rising salsa star, Héctor Lavoe. This partnership would prove to be one of the most important in salsa history, as Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoe went on to record a series of critically acclaimed albums for the legendary Fania label, including Cosa Nuestra (1970), La Gran Fuga (1971), and El Juicio (1972). These albums produced enduring hit singles such as "La Murga," "El Titán," and "Che Che Colé," all of which have become classics in the genre. Apart from his collaboration with Héctor Lavoe, Willie Colón worked with other notable musicians, including Rubén Blades and Celia Cruz. The 1978 album Siembra, a collaboration with Blades, is considered one of the best-selling salsa albums of all time, featuring hits like "Pedro Navaja" and "Plástico." Willie Colón also joined forces with Cruz in 1981, resulting in the critically acclaimed album Celia & Willie, which included the popular song "Dos Jueyes." Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Willie Colón's solo career continued to flourish. He released successful albums such as Fantasmas (1981) and Top Secrets (1989) with Legal Alien, while also engaging in important collaborations, such as the 1983 EP Vigilante (his last official release with Lavoe) and the albums The Last Fight (1982) and Tras la Tormenta (1995) with Rubén Blades. Over the following years, some of his most memorable songs were featured in compilations like The Best II (1995), Greatest Hits (2008) or Mis Favoritas (2010), which contained the classic "Idilio." His extensive body of work has earned him numerous accolades and awards, including 11 Grammy nominations, an induction into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 1999, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Latin Recording Academy in 2004.