ISSUE DATE: May 24, 1999
Outside a Tower Records store in Manhattan, a chorus of screams is going up. Mostly sopranos, a few altos, no tenors and certainly no basses. “Riiiiiickyyyyyyyyyyyy! I love you!” The crowd of 5,000, mainly young women between the ages of Dawson’s Creek and Felicity (with a few Rugrats and Ally McBeals mixed in), have gathered to catch a glimpse of the latest heartthrob, their corazon. The fans at the front of the line enter the store and stumble out with a signature scrawled across a CD or on a poster or even on their skin. Some leave crying tears of joy. At a multiplex across the street, Fox is holding one of the first screenings of The Phantom Menace. You can see a flicker of hesitation on the faces of a few Phantom ticket holders. I thought I was in the red-hot center, the flicker seems to say. What’s going on over there?
Ricky Martin is what’s going on. The hip-shaking Latin pop star has the No. 1 song in America, “Livin’ la Vida Loca.” His self-titled new CD is setting sales records at stores across the U.S. And Martin is at the center of something bigger than himself. A host of other Hispanic performers, including vocalist Marc Anthony and actress turned pop diva Jennifer Lopez, are poised to release highly anticipated Latin-tinged CDs soon.
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