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Leroy Gomez (Santa Esmeralda) interview podcast hosted by Lenny Fontana # 127 - True House Stories®

Santa Esmeralda is a French-American disco group formed in the 1970s. The group had hits with its remake of the 1960s hits “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and “House of the Rising Sun”. Santa Esmeralda featured original lead singer Leroy Gómez in 1977-1978 and singer Jimmy Goings from late 1978 until 1983. Gómez rejoined the group in the 1990s.

The band was formed in 1977 by French producers Nicolas Skorsky and Jean Manuel de Scarano, singer-songwriters who launched a label with the aim of producing artists who would record their compositions. Upon meeting singer Leroy Gómez in Paris, the duo recruited him for the group’s first record, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, which debuted on the independent French label, Fauves Puma.

A sudden success in Europe, the record was picked up for worldwide distribution by Casablanca Records and the rest is history. Leroy will come on True House Stories and share it all.

Leroy Gomez (Santa Esmeralda)

Biography Leroy Gomez (Santa Esmeralda)

Leroy Gomez is an American, native of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He started his musical experience in the group “Tavares” , and for several years toured with them the USA, Canada, Caribbean Islands and Europe. First stop Italy.

Leroy loved Italy so much that he decided to leave Tavares to stay in Europe and see the rest of this new found land. He went to Paris, where very quickly he became one of the top session saxophone players and vocalists. He worked with many great artists, among them : Gilbert Becaud, Claude Francois , Patrick Juvet , and many more. He played saxophone on the famous Elton John album “Yellow Brick Road” His first solo success was a single “Here we go Round” which was an instant hit in France, Europe and Latin America.

His world wide success “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” from the album Santa Esmeralda starring Leroy Gomez broke the record of album sales with 15 million LPs sold within a few months. To date more than 25 million, Santa Esmeralda “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” is a N° 1 Disco hit in the world with 48 Gold albums and 42 platinum albums. Twice elected best live show in Europe by the Federation of European press awarded the “Mask of Success”. Winner of 6 Cash Box and Billboard awards in the USA.

The First foreign artist ever to be presented the “Gondola D’Oro” at the Venice Music Festival “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” was recently featured in Quentin Tarentino’s hit film Kill Bill”. Leroy is also a songwriter, with the Hit song “You’re My Everything” to add to his list of credits. “Santa Esmeralda starring Leroy Gomez” is a great disco sound to which the whole planet has danced. It has recently been revealed that Leroy’s work has been sampled by over 80 artists. From Madonna to Rap, Hip Hop and Pop artists such as Janet Jackson , LL Cool J, Naughty by Nature Mary J. Blige, Etc. Etc. While recording as a saxophonist in Paris.

Leroy recorded with the group Lafayette Afro Rock Band collaborating on their first album Lafayette Afro Rock Band Soul Makassa. Leroy wrote and produced on this album the song “Hihache”, which has been sampled regularly for over 20 years by artists as diverse as Janet Jackson, Biz Markie, LL Cool J, De La Soul, Digital Underground, Naughty by Nature, and the Wu-Tang Clan and many more.

“Hihache”, has also been used as a sample on Madonna’s Erotica ( Madonna’s in My Jeep Mix) LL Cool J feat Timbalad’s, Feel The Beat, Mary J. Blige feat The Notorious B.I.G’s Real Love(Remix), 2 Pac’s Onley Fear of Death , Chris Rock feat Gerald Levert’s No Sex (In The Champagne Room) and the list goes on and on.

To see and hear the compositions of artists that where inspired and samples Leroy’s song “Hihache”. Also while recording with Lafayette Afro Rock band Leroy collaborated on the bands second album:Lafayette Afro Rock Band Malik. Leroy soulful Saxophone interpretation on a song written by Michael McEwan “Darkest Light” has been sampled on over 27 Rap and Hip Hop productions.”Darkest Light” has been sampled in Public Enemy‘s “Show ‘Em Whatcha Got”.

After Public Enemy’s sample of “Darkest Light” was highly praised, “Darkest Light” was sampled in numerous culturally significant songs, including “Back to the Hotel”, the multi-platinum 1992 single “Rump Shaker” by New Jack the group Wreckx-n-Effect and rapper Jay-Z‘s 2006 single “Show Me What You Got”. Leroy’s Saxophone solo in Michael McEwan’s “Darkest Light” was also sampled in Ice Cube’s Friday , Queen Latifah’s Latifah’s Law, Heavy D & the Boy’s Slow Down, Kurious’s Spell It With A J (Yes, Yes Jorge).

And again the list goes on and on. To see and hear the complete list of artists that found inspiration from samples Leroy’s horn from Lafayette Afro Rock Band, Michael McEwan’s “Darkest Light”.


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