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George Strait sings this Mexican folk song completely in Spanish. The Mariachi standard is played frequently on radio stations across Mexico and in Border States. Strait said in publicity materials: "I've loved Mariachi music for years, and although I'm not fluent in Spanish, I've been trying to get better. 'El Rey' has been a favorite song of mine for years, and I request it every chance I get. So I decided to give it a shot. What a blast that was. I had a version by the great Vicente Fernandez. I played it for the guys, and we worked it out. I think it turned out great, and I hope the real Mariachis like it. That will be the real test."
Mexican singer-songwriter José Alfredo Jiménez wrote the song and originally recorded it. Jiménez was a constant presence on the music charts of Mexico from his 1950 breakthrough hit "Yo," until his death from hepatitis in 1973.
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