Florencia Bisenta de Casillas-Martinez Cardona (born July 19, 1941), known by her stage name Vikki Carr, is an American vocalist. She has a singing career that spans more than four decades. Born in El Paso, Texas to parents of Mexican ancestry, she has performed in a variety of musical genres, including pop, jazz and country, while her greatest success has come from singing in Spanish. She established the Vikki Carr Scholarship Foundation in 1971. Vikki Carr has won three Grammys and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Latin Grammys in 2008 at the 9th Annual Latin Grammy Awards.
|Birth name||Florencia Bisenta de Casillas-Martinez Cardona|
|Born||July 19, 1941|
El Paso, Texas, U.S.
|Genres||Latin pop, pop, traditional pop, Mariachi|
|Labels||Liberty, Columbia, UMG|
Cardona was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1941. In 1958, she graduated from Rosemead High School in Rosemead, California, in a class that included famed fashion designer Bob Mackie. Under the stage name "Vikki Carr" she signed with Liberty Records in 1962. Her first single to achieve success was "He's a Rebel", which in 1962 reached No. 3 in Australia and No. 115 in the United States. Producer Phil Spector heard Carr cutting the song in the studio and immediately recorded a cover version which reached No. 1 in the United States, billed to the Crystals, although this was in fact incorrect as the actual recording artists were the Blossoms. In 1966, Carr toured South Vietnam with actor/comedian Danny Kaye to entertain American troops. The following year her album It Must Be Him was nominated for three Grammy Awards. The title track reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in 1967, sold more than 1 million copies and received a gold disc. Carr had two other songs make the US Top 40: 1968's "The Lesson" and 1969's "With Pen in Hand". Around this time, Dean Martin called her "the best girl singer in the business". Carr had 10 singles that made the US pop charts and 13 albums that made the US pop-album charts.
In 1968, Carr taped six specials for London Weekend TV. She appeared on various television programs, such as ABC's The Bing Crosby Show in the 1964–1965 season. In 1970, she was named "Woman of the Year" by the Los Angeles Times. She guest-hosted The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1973, With hit records like "With Pen in Hand" and "It Must Be Him". There were frequent television appearances. A favorite of Johnny Carson's, she appeared more than 30 times on "The Tonight Show," even hosting on occasion. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1981. Carr also achieved the rare feat of singing for five presidents during her career: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Bill Clinton.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Carr had enormous success in the Latin music world, winning Grammy Awards for Best Mexican-American Performance in 1986 for her album Simplemente Mujer, Best Latin Pop Album in 1992 for Cosas del Amor and Best Mexican-American Performance in 1995 for Recuerdo a Javier Solís. She also received Grammy nominations for the discs Brindo a La Vida, Al Bolero, A Ti (1993) and Emociones (1996). Her numerous Spanish-language hit singles include "Total", "Discúlpame", "Déjame", "Hay Otro en Tu Lugar", "Esos Hombres", "Mala Suerte" and "Cosas del Amor". "Cosas del Amor" spent more than two months at No. 1 on the US Latin charts in 1991, her biggest Spanish-language US hit. Her Spanish-language albums have been certified gold and platinum in Mexico, Chile, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador. She also voiced Georgette in the Latin American dub of Disney's Oliver & Company.
In 1999, Carr taped a PBS TV special, Vikki Carr: Memories, Memorias, in which she performed popular bilingual tunes from the 1940s and 1950s. Her guests were Pepe Aguilar, Arturo Sandoval and Jack Jones. In 2001, she released a bilingual holiday album, The Vikki Carr Christmas Album.
Carr appeared to great acclaim in a 2002 Los Angeles production of the Stephen Sondheim musical Follies, which also featured Hal Linden, Patty Duke and Harry Groener. In 2006, Carr made a cameo appearance in a straight-to-video thriller called Puerto Vallarta Squeeze. Carr hosted a PBS TV special in 2008, Fiesta Mexicana, which celebrated the music and dance of Mexico. Later that year she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Recording Academy. Carr marked the occasion with an appearance on the Latin Grammy telecast in which she performed "Cosas del Amor" with Olga Tañón and Jenni Rivera.
In 2014, Vikki was invited by producer Gerry Gallagher to record with Latin rock legends El Chicano, Alphonse Mouzon, Brian Auger, Alex Ligertwood, Salvador Santana, Ray Parker Jr., Lenny Castro, Siedah Garrett, Walfredo Reyes Jr., Pete Escovedo, Peter Michael Escovedo, Jessy J, Marcos J. Reyes and David Paich, and is featured on a remake of the Latin classic "Sabor A Mi" from a 2019 Gallagher studio album. In August, she headlined a benefit in El Paso for the Walmart shooting victims of the 2019 El Paso shooting.
Carr married paint-company executive Michael Nilsson on August 20, 1979. The bicultural nature of her fame has meant that she has recorded with Vicente Fernandez and Pepe Aguilar while the likes of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were friends.
Carr devotes time to charities including the United Way, the American Lung Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and St. Jude's Hospital. For 22 years she hosted benefit concerts to support Holy Cross of San Antonio Middle and High School in San Antonio, Texas. In 1971, she established the Vikki Carr Scholarship Foundation dedicated to offering college scholarships to Hispanic students in California and Texas. The foundation has awarded more than 280 scholarships totaling more than $250,000.
|Year||Album||US 200||US Latin||UK
|1963||Color Her Great!||-||-||-|
|Discovery Vol. II||-||-||-|
|1965||Anatomy of Love||-||-||-||liner notes by Ethel Merman|
|1966||The Way of Today!||-||-||31|
|It Must Be Him||12||-||12||UK release differs from US release|
|Don't Break My Pretty Balloon||-||-||-|
|1969||For Once in My Life||29||-||-||live|
|1970||Nashville By Carr||111||-||-||recorded in Nashville|
|1971||The Ways to Love a Man||-||-||-|
|Que Sea El||-||-||-|
|Vikki Carr's Love Story||60||-||-|
|1972||The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face)||146||-||-||Song Sung Blue in UK|
|Live at the Greek Theatre||172||-||-|
|1974||One Hell of a Woman||155||-||-|
|1976||The Story of a Woman||-||-||-||live from Japan (JP release only)|
|1980||Y El Amor||-||-||-|
|1981||El Retrato Del Amor||-||-||-|
|1985||Simplemente Mujer||-||-||-||No. 3 US Regional MX / No. 15 US Latin Pop|
|Esta Noche Vendras||-||-||-|
|OK Mr. Tango||-||-||-||with Mariano Mores|
|1987||Dos Corazones (with Vicente Fernández)||-||-||-||No. 2 US Regional MX|
|1988||Esos Hombres||-||-||-||No. 4 US Latin Pop|
|1990||Set Me Free||-||-||-||several songs from Esos Hombres sung in English|
|1991||Cosas del Amor||-||-||-||No. 1 US Latin Pop|
|1992||It Must Be Him – The Best of Vikki Carr||-||-||-|
|1993||Brindo a La Vida, Al Bolero, A Ti||-||-||-|
|1994||Recuerdo a Javier Solís||-||35||-||No. 10 US Latin Pop|
|1998||Con el Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán||-||-||-|
|1999||Memories, Memorias||-||-||-||from the PBS TV Special|
|2001||The Vikki Carr Christmas Album||-||-||-|
|2012||Viva La Vida||-||49||-||No. 16 US Latin Pop|
|2014||The First time ever + 9 Bonus track|
|Love again: The Lost Columbia Masters|
1960s and 1970sEdit
- Years represent year of release, not necessarily the chart peak year.
|Year||Titles (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
|US 100||CB||US AC||UK
|1962||"I'll Walk the Rest Of The Way"
b/w "Beside A Bridge (Along The River Tiber)"
|"He's A Rebel"
b/w "Be My Love"
|1963||"The Rose and Butterfly"
b/w "From Nine To Five"
b/w "Look Again"
|-||-||-||-||-||Color Her Great|
|"Medley: Poor Butterfly/Stay"
b/w "The Right Kind Of Man" (Non-album track)
b/w "Her Little Heart Went To Loveland"
|-||-||-||-||-||It Must Be Him|
|1965||"Busca Ese Camino"
b/w "No Seas Asi"
|"The Color Of Love"
b/w "There Goes My Heart"
b/w "Theme From Peyton Place"
|"I Only Have Eyes For You"
b/w "None But The Lonely Heart"
|-||-||-||-||-||Anatomy Of Love|
b/w "Santiago" (from Unforgettable)
b/w "True Love's A Blessing" (Non-album track)
|-||-||-||-||-||Anatomy Of Love|
|"My Heart Reminds Me"
b/w "Can I Trust You"
|-||127||31||-||-||The Way Of Today!|
|"Summer Samba (So Nice)"
b/w "It Must Be Him" (from It Must Be Him)
|"Until Today" /||-||-||39||-||-||Non-album track|
|"Now I Know The Feeling"||-||-||28||-||-||Unforgettable|
b/w "Fly Away" (Non-album track)
|-||-||-||-||-||The Very Best Of Vikki Carr|
|"There I Go"
b/w "One More Mountain" (from It Must Be Him)
UK release only
|"It Must Be Him"
b/w "That's All" (from That's All)
|3||5||1||2||1||It Must Be Him|
b/w "One More Mountain" (from It Must Be Him)
|"She'll Be There" /||99||92||13||-||-||Don't Break My Pretty Balloon|
|"Your Heart is Free Just Like the Wind"||91||-||32||-||-|
|"Don't Break My Pretty Balloon"
b/w "Nothing To Lose"
|"A Dissatisfied Man"
b/w "Happy Together" (from For Once In My Life)
|-||-||18||-||-||The Ways To Love A Man|
|"With Pen In Hand"||35||42||6||39||-||For Once In My Life|
|1969||"Can't Take My Eyes Off You"||-||-||-||-||-||It Must Be Him|
b/w "I Will Wait For Love" (Non-album track)
|79||69||5||-||-||The Best Of Vikki Carr|
|1970||"Singing My Song"
b/w "Make It Rain"
|-||-||30||-||-||Nashville by Carr|
|"I'll Be Home"
b/w "Call My Heart Your Home"
|96||117||7||-||-||Vikki Carr's Love Story|
|1971||"Six Weeks Every Summer (Christmas Every Other Year)"
b/w "If You Could Read My Mind"
|"I Can't Give Back the Love I Feel for You"
b/w "I've Never Been A Woman Before" (from Vikki Carr's Love Story)
|"I'd Do It All Again"
b/w "I'm Gonna Love You"
|1972||"The Big Hurt"
b/w "Cabaret" (from The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face))
|"Grande, Grande, Grande"
b/w "Y Volvere"
|-||-||-||-||-||Los Exitos De Hoy Y De Siempre|
|"Let the Band Play On"
b/w "We Didn't Know The Time Of Day"
|"Leave A Little Room"
b/w "Have You Heard The News"
|-||-||-||-||-||Live At The Greek Theatre|
|1974||"Sleeping Between Two People"
b/w "Borrowed Time" (Non-album track)
|-||-||-||-||-||One Hell Of A Woman|
|"Wind Me Up"
b/w "One Hell of a Woman"
b/w "El Pajaro Herido"
|"Puttin' Myself In Your Hands"
b/w "I Don't Want A Sometimes Man"
1980s to the presentEdit
|Year||Song||US Latin||Original Source|
|1980||"Disculpame"||-||Y El Amor|
|"Abrazame"||-||Y El Amor|
|1981||"Total"||-||El Retrato del Amor|
|1982||"Todo Me Gusta de Ti"||-||Vikki Carr|
|"Prefiero Amar un Extraño"||-||El Retrato del Amor|
|"Eso No"||-||El Retrato del Amor|
|1985||"Ni Princesa Ni Esclava"||-||Simplemente Mujer|
|"Ni Me Viene Ni Me Va"||-||Simplemente Mujer|
|"Yo Creo en un Mundo de Amor"||-||OK Mr. Tango|
|"Esta Noche Vendras"||33||Esta Noche Vendras|
|"Tu Dicha, Tu Calma"||-||Esta Noche Vendras|
|"Asi es la Vida"||-||Esta Noche Vendras|
|1987||"Que No Que No"||-||Me Enloqueces|
|"Fallaste Corazon"||-||Me Enloqueces|
|"Me Parece Perfecto"||-||Me Enloqueces|
|"Dos Corazones" (duet with Vicente Fernández)||10||Dos Corazones|
|"Juntos los Dos"||-||Dos Corazones|
|1988||"Mala Suerte"||3||Esos Hombres|
|"Hay Otro en Tu Lugar"||14||Esos Hombres|
|"Esos Hombres"||37||Esos Hombres|
|1991||"Cosas del Amor" (duet with Ana Gabriel)||1||Cosas del Amor|
|"Me Estoy Volviendo Loca"||-||Cosas del Amor|
|"Con los Brazos Abiertos"||-||Cosas del Amor|
|1993||"Dejame"||30||Brindo a La Vida, Al Bolero, A Ti|
|"Nadie"||-||Brindo a La Vida, Al Bolero, A Ti|
|"Una Mujer"||-||Brindo a La Vida, Al Bolero, A Ti|
|1994||"Amaneci en Tus Brazos"||-||Recuerdo a Javier Solis|
|"Sombras"||-||Recuerdo a Javier Solis|
|"En Mi Viejo San Juan"||-||Recuerdo a Javier Solis|
|"Que No Se Rompa la Noche"||-||Emociones|
|1998||"No Soy de Piedra"||-||Con El Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitan|
- In the Family Guy episode "Total Recall", Peter remarks, "So what? She can name a kind of car. Big whoop, I can do that, too. Vikki. Vikki Carr".
- At a November 12, 1974 state dinner, Don Penny was dancing with Betty Ford while President Gerald Ford was dancing with Vikki Carr. Carr ask the president "What’s your favorite Mexican dish?" to which he said, "You are." Betty Ford was not amused.
- In the 1987 film Moonstruck, Cosmo is a fan of the singer, and Rose remarks "Now he's going to play that damn Vikki Carr record and when he comes to bed he won't touch me."
- In The Nanny season 2 episode "Strange Bedfellows", several nannies celebrate the retirement of Mona, played by Tyne Daly. Bemoaning how little she received after devoting her life to raising the children of other people, Mona says "you give somebody's kids the best years of your life and what do you get? A pat on the back and a couple of stinking Vikki Carr CDs."
- During the first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, the credits include John Cleese saying "The final score, Pigs 9, British Bipeds 4. The Pigs go on to face Vikki Carr in the finals."
- Telgen, Diane; Kamp, Jim (1993). The Notable Hispanic American Women. ISBN 9780810375789. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
- "History". Gaston Gazette. Retrieved December 10, 2020. Cite journal requires
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 95. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "How Vikki Carr's life changed after her husband's dementia diagnosis". October 12, 2019. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 217. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- "Vikki Carr". GRAMMY.com. November 19, 2019. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
- Hirschhorn, Joel (June 17, 2002). "Follies". Variety. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
- "Belinda, Vikki Carr, Flex y Rosario to Perform on the 9th Annual Latin GRAMMY®". Latin GRAMMYs (in Spanish). Retrieved September 2, 2020.
- "How Vikki Carr's life changed after her husband's dementia diagnosis". October 12, 2019. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
- "Marriages". Billboard. September 1, 1979. p. 72. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
- "Vikki Carr Scholarship Foundation - Donate on ALMA". ALMA. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
- "San Antonio Area Foundation > About > News > Vikki Carr Scholarship". saafdn.org. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
- "Family Guy: Season 11, Episode 18 script | Subs like Script". subslikescript.com. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
- "Don Penny - Gerald R. Ford Foundation". Geraldrfordfoundation.org. May 28, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
- "Quotes from "Moonstruck"". IMDb.com. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
- "YouTube". YouTube.
- "Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969–1974)". IMDb.com. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vikki Carr.|
- Official website
- Vikki Carr Exclusive Booking Agents ~ Paradise Artists
- Vikki Carr at IMDb
- Vikki Carr at Billboard.com
- "In the Spotlight with Vikki Carr" hosted by Ron Roberts. A one-hour monthly internet radio program streaming worldwide, devoted to the music of Vikki Carr: 3:00 – 4:00pm NYT, with rebroadcasts as per the program schedule.