He was born in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, on March 25, 1935 and inherited the passion for music from his father, Rafael Azarias Pacheco, who was director and clarinetist of one of the most famous orchestras of that time, the Santa Orchestra. Cecilia. The first musical instrument is received from his father at an early age. When he was eleven years old, the Pacheco family emigrated to New York where Johnny continues to hone his musical skills. From a young age he learned to play the accordion, violin, saxophone and clarinet. He attended the prestigious Julliard music school where he studied percussion, which led him to become the best percussionist of the moment. He is one of the most recognized Salsa interpreters of all time and has made recordings with the most prominent artists of the time. In 1960 he organized his first orchestra, the legendary: Pacheco y Su Charanga. The orchestra signs with the record label Disco Alegre with which it sells more than 100,00 copies of its first album entitled: “Johnny Pacheco y su Charanga” Vol. 1.
This is considered a classic and the best selling album of all time. During his triumphant career he introduced a new style of dance that he called the “Pachanga”. This new form of dance led him to be a highly recognized international star and to extensively tour the great cities of the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America to present its music. Likewise, Pacheco y Su Charanga was the first Latin orchestra as the main attraction at the famous Apolo Theater in Harlem in 1962 and 1963. At the end of 1963, his career took a historic turn, when he created the Fania Record Company with Jerry Masucci. In 1964, the record company released another of his musical hits that he titled: “Cañonazo”. As a company executive,
1968 marks the beginning of the legendary Stars of Fania. Pacheco organizes an orchestra that brings together the best musicians of the time and that is how an incredible era for Latin music arises in the Salsa scene, which has continued for more than thirty years under the direction of maestro Johnny Pacheco. In more than forty years of his career, Pacheco has been one of the most in-demand artists in the music industry in general. He has been featured as a soloist and guest artist at countless World Jazz Festivals. Pacheco has played with the greatest interpreters of Latin music of all years such as: Pérez Prado, Xavier Cugat, Tito Rodríguez, Tito Puente and Celia CruzDuring his extensive musical career he has performed and collaborated with different legends of Jazz and popular American music such as: Quincy Jones, Stan Kenton, Tony Bennet, George Benson, Sammy Davis – Son-, Ethel Smith, Stevie Wonder and others. His productions Pacheco manages to be one of the most requested producers in Latin music, working with the most recognized Salsa music performers such as Celia Cruz, Willie Colón, Héctor Lavoe, Rubén Blades Cheo Feliciano and Pete “El Conde” Rodríguez.
Among his creations, there are more than 150 songs and most of them are considered classics. Some of the best known are: “La Dicha Mía”, “Quitate Tu Pa ‘Ponerme Yo”, “Acuyuye”, “The King of Punctuality” and “The Hundred Number” by Tito PuenteLikewise, Pacheco has produced the music for some films. He was the musical director of the film: “Nuestra Cosa Latina”, the first film about Salsa and its influence on Latinos in New York. In 1974, he worked on a second film titled Salsa. During the 1980s, he wrote the musical themes for the film Mondo Nueva York and Algo Salvaje. He also participated in the film Los Reyes del Mambo. For decades, Johnny Pacheco has been at the center of the Latin music universe. His nine Grammy nominations, ten Gold Records, and numerous other awards pay tribute to his creative talents as a composer, manager, conductor and producer. Pacheco is the pioneer of an unforgettable musical era that changed the face of tropical music history,
En noviembre de 1998, su nombre fue instalado en el Teatro Latino de Fama Internacional. Entre los premios recibidos por sus logros podemos mencionar los siguientes: el premio Bobby Rodríguez Capó Achievement Award 1997, presentado por el Gobernador de Nueva York, George Pataki; Medalla Presidencial de Honor otorgada por el Presidente de la Republica Dominicana, Joaquín Balaguer en el 1996; Primer Galardón Internacional a un Artista Dominicano presentado en los reconocidos Premios Casandra en junio de 1996, además es el primer productor de música latina en recibir el Premio NARAS (Academia Nacional de Artes Magnetofonías y las Ciencias) del Gobernador de la Ciudad de Nueva York.
Seriamente comprometido a colaborar y contribuir con la comunidad latina mundial crea el Fondo de Beca Johnny Pacheco con la intencion de darle una oportunidad al joven músico talentoso para que pueda desarrollarse como artista y beneficiarse de una buena educación en la universidad. Él se mantiene muy activo en la industria magnetofónica interpretando y grabando con su grupo como la fuerza generadora detrás de la música tropical. Johnny Pacheco se adelanta a su tiempo y es uno de los más reconocidos y admirados músicos en el mundo artístico. Johnny Pacheco es un pionero, un innovador y, más significativo, una leyenda viviente.