Dubbed the “Spanish Frank Sinatra,” Julio Iglesias became one of the most popular singers in the world during the 1980s. His suave, romantic image and music inspired and allured audiences all over the world. By the mid-1980s, he became the first artist to receive the Diamond Disc Award from The Guinness Book of World Records, and one reviewer estimated that a Julio Iglesias song was playing somewhere in the world every 30 seconds. “My goal is to make people dream,” Iglesias told Gerald Clarke in Time magazine. “When they see me onstage, their fantasy of me and the reality meet. I seduce them. But I must seduce myself first.”
“Julio is a true artist,” former Tonight Show host Johnny Carson told Bob Thomas in Billboard. “He has a stage presence that is just incredible, and I have rarely seen anyone whose command of an audience is so total.”
Julio Iglesias was born in Madrid, Spain, to Dr. Julio Iglesias Puga and Maria del Rosario de la Cueva Perignat. His father worked as a prominent gynecologist who supported his family in upper-class fashion. The younger Julio and his brother Carlos went to a Roman Catholic school called Colegio de los Sagrados Corazónes (Sacred Heart School). While growing up, Iglesias and his family spent the summers in either Galicia, where his father was raised, or Peñiscola on the Mediterranean coast.
Iglesias discovered a love for music later in life. Throughout school, he played soccer and landed a spot on the junior reserve squad for the prestigious Read Madrid Club de Fútbol. Beyond the dream of playing professional soccer, Iglesias embarked on the study of law, with plans to enter the Spanish diplomatic service. However, his plans came to a screeching halt in the summer of 1963, when a truck forced his car off the road just outside of Madrid. He went through 14 hours of surgery and came out paralyzed from the chest down.
Iglesias described the ordeal to Cindy Adams in Ladies Home Journal, “I thought I was going to die, and my family just wouldn’t tell me. There I was, a young man of 20, cut down, with no hope for my future. My father took time out from his career for a year to dedicate his whole life to me. He built a hospital room in our house, complete with the machinery I needed for physical therapy.”
For the next year, Iglesias struggled to return to mobility. He worked out for hours at a time every day. To help ease his suffering, a nurse gave him a guitar. He learned to play and revealed his musical talent. Once he had
For the Record…
Born Julio José Iglesias de la Cueva on September 23, 1943, in Madrid, Spain; son of Julio Iglesias Puga (a physician) and Mariael Rosario de la Cueva Perignat; married Isabel Preisler, 1971 (divorced 1979); children: Isabel (“Chabeli”), Julio José, and Enrique. Education: Graduated from Colegio de los Sarados Corazónes.
Began singing career after winning first prize at Spain’s Benidorm Song Festival, 1968; sang “Guendoline” in Eurovision Festival in Holland, 1970; began recording albums for Alhambra, 1971; won Eurovision Festival song contest, 1972; signed with CBS Records International, 1978; debut performance in the U.S., 1983; received Diamond Disc Award from the Guinness Book of World Records, 1983; recorded first American album 1100 Bel Air Place, 1984.
Addresses: Record company —CBS Records, 51 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019.
regained the use of his limbs, his parents sent him to Cambridge, England to improve his English skills. During his stay, he wrote his first song—“La Vida Sigue Igual” (“Life Goes on as Usual”).
On July 18, 1968, Iglesias participated in the Benidorm Song Festival in Costa Dorado, Spain. He performed the song “La Vida Sigue Igual” and won first prize. Despite the recognition, he decided to fulfill his promise to his father and finished his studies in law. For the next year and a half, he put his music career on hold.
In 1970, Iglesias performed the song “Guendoline” at the Eurovision Festival Song Contest in Holland. Although he did not win, by the end of the year the song became a major hit in Europe. Iglesias also traveled to Chile to sing in the Viña del Mar Festival and performed in Guatemala. His notoriety led to roles in a few Spanish-language films, including La Vida Sigue Igual and Todos Los Dias un Dia, but his performances didn’t gain much recognition. “They’re the worst films you can ever see,” Iglesias recalled to Steve Dougherty in People magazine. “I was the most ridiculous actor.”
Iglesias married his first wife, Isabel Preisler (changed to Preysler) on January 20, 1971. Though married for only eight years, the couple had three children: Chabeli, born in 1971; Julio Jose, born in 1973; and Enrique, born in 1975.
Iglesias continued to compete in singing contests and festivals, and finally won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1972. By this time, he had released two albums, Como el Alamo al Camino and Julio Iglesias, on the Alhambra record label. The records had reached Japan, Europe, Latin America, and the Arab countries. Over the next few years, Iglesias continued to release several LPs on Alhambra, including Soy, A Mexico, El Amor, America, A Mis 33 Años, and Emociónes.
He moved on to sign a record contract with CBS Records International in 1978. His next album, Hoy (“Today”), soared to the top of the album charts in 60 different countries, but he had yet to gain any recognition in the United States. In 1981 he released De Niña a Mujer, on which the title track had been inspired by his daughter. In the same year, he released El Disco de Oro and published his autobiography Entre el Cielo y el Infierno (“Between Heaven and Hell”).
By the end of 1981, Iglesias had decided to start conquering English-speaking countries as well. He became the first Hispanic singer to have a No. 1 hit on the United Kingdom charts with a cover of the Cole Porter classic “Begin the Beguine.” Unfortunately, his family was hit with another tragedy after he became successful.
In December of 1981, his father was kidnapped right outside of his clinic in Madrid. The kidnappers, representatives of a Basque terrorist organization, asked Julio Iglesias for the equivalent of two million dollars to release his father. He immediately arranged for the payment, but the police captured the suspects before the exchange was made. From then on, Iglesias, his father, and his children constantly had bodyguard protection.
After the release of his 1982 album, Momentos, Iglesias decided to plan his attack on the United States. In preparation, he traveled there and absorbed everything he could about the culture. He listened to the radio and watched talk shows to see how celebrities responded in interviews. He wanted to gain all the information he could to get himself ready.
“The United States is the biggest market of all, and the biggest challenge,” Iglesias explained to Bob Thomas in Billboard. “I want to succeed where others have failed. I know that many foreign-language artists have tried to crack the American market in the past 20 years, and none has been able to do it. I want to try.” The more he learned about the country and its people, the more he realized that he already had the talent and the tools he needed to succeed. “Little by little,” he told Cindy Adams in Ladies Home Journal, “I began to discover what America is, and I realized that it is a mixture of everybody I was already singing for: Irish, Italian, Jewish, French.”
Iglesias began performing in the United States before he released his first all-English album. He even played for the president at the White House during the Christmas holidays. Also, in 1983 he accepted the world’s first Diamond Disc Award from The Guinness Book of World Records. The award marked his accomplishment as the world’s best-selling recording artist, with over 100 million units sold internationally.
The following year, he released his first American-made LP, 1100 Bel Air Place. It included appearances from saxophonist Stan Getz and the Pointer Sisters. On several of the songs, Iglesias sang with American artists such as Willie Nelson, Diana Ross, and the Beach Boys. This album sold over a million copies within its first five days in the stores. It included the hit duet with Willie Nelson, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” and the album ended up selling more than four million copies in the United States.
His tour for the record included some stops that became gigantic events, with up to 190 people traveling with him just to put it together. In the summer of 1984, he played for ten days at the Universal Amphitheatre during the Los Angeles-hosted Olympic Games. By the end of the 1980s, Julio Iglesias had made his mark in the United States. In 1990 he released Starry Night, which included the hit singles “Mona Lisa” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
He returned with another successful duet in 1994 on his Columbia Records release Crazy, his sixty-ninth record. He teamed up with noted singer Dolly Parton for the single “When You Tell Me That You Love Me.” On the same album, he also recorded covers of American songs, including Santana’s “Oye Como Va” and Sting’s “Fragile.”
During the mid-1990s, his children began their own careers in entertainment. His daughter, Chabeli, hosted her own talk show on the United States Spanish-language television station Univision, starting in 1993. Julio Iglesias agreed to be one of her first guests. In 1996, Enrique Iglesias released his self-titled debut album, which sold almost three million copies and topped the charts. However, Julio Iglesias didn’t find out about his son’s music career until after the album had arrived in stores. “He [Julio] was always into his work,” Chabeli Iglesias told Cynthia Sanz in People. “When he had time, he was with us, but family was never his strong point.”
By 1997 his recording schedule had slowed down a bit. He had sold more than 200 million albums worldwide and performed on every continent but Antarctica. He formed a business venture with a Spanish businessman and marketing consultant named Jorge Roura to promote wine. They organized a group of wines in 1997 with a “Julio Iglesias Wine Selection” label on the bottle to identify his own favorites. Iglesias started the business in an effort to expose Americans to a variety of outstanding wines, one of his own beloved interests.
Despite his decreasing recording pace, Iglesias continued to tour the world and claimed he was far from finished with music. “When my legs quit, I will quit touring, not before,” he told Edna Gunderson in TV Guide. “I will do albums until the record company says, ‘No more.’ I’m not tired, and I feel younger than ever. I don’t understand any other way of life.”
Como el Alamo al Camino, Alhambra, 1972.
Julio Iglesias, Alhambra, 1972.
Soy, Alhambra, 1973.
A Mexico, Alhambra, 1975
El Amor, Alhambra, 1975.
America, Alhambra, 1976.
A Mis 33 Años, Alhambra, 1977.
Emociónes, Alhambra, 1978.
Hoy, CBS Records International, 1980.
De Niña a Mujer, CBS Records International, 1981.
El Disco de Oro, CBS Records International, 1981.
Momentos, CBS Records International, 1982.
1100 Bel Air Place (includes “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before”), CBS Records, 1984.
Nonstop, CBS Records, 1988.
Starry Night (includes “Mona Lisa” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love”), CBS Records, 1990.
Crazy (includes “When You Tell Me That You Love Me,” “Oye Como Va,” and “Fragile”), Columbia Records, 1994.
Billboard, August 11, 1984; August 23, 1986; October 1, 1994.
Entertainment Weekly, December 6, 1996.
Ladies Home Journal, August 1985.
Maclean’s, September 2, 1996.
People, August 29, 1988; November 22, 1993; May 23, 1994; August 29, 1994.
Time, September 10, 1984.
TV Guide, November 24, 1990.
Wine Spectator, March 31, 1997.
"Iglesias, Julio." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 9, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/iglesias-julio
"Iglesias, Julio." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved July 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/iglesias-julio
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Iglesias, Julio: 1943—: Singer
Julio Iglesias: 1943—: Singer
Since the late 1960s, singer Julio Iglesias has established himself as an international star and sex symbol. By 1983 he had sold over 100 million records, setting a Guinness World Record, and by 2002 that figure had risen to more than 200 million. "There's an oddly appealing mix of pride and modesty about Julio Iglesias," wrote Andrew Paxman in Variety. "One moment he'll tell you that his career is entirely built on luck. … The next moment he'll tell you he's the greatest Latin singer in history—and then flash you a self-mocking smile." During his long career, Iglesias has released more than 75 albums and performed at nearly five thousand concerts. Iglesias told Leila Cobo of the Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, "After two or three generations, you can't fool an audience. I'm still alive. At this point, to artistically kill me, you would have to physically kill me."
Car Accident Changed Career
Iglesias was born on September 23, 1943, in Madrid, Spain, the son of Julio Iglesias Puga, a prominent doctor, and Maria del Rosario de la Cueva Iglesias. His family was wealthy, and Iglesias imagined following in his father's footsteps. "Like everybody else, I wanted to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer," he told Steve Dougherty in People Weekly. He studied law at the University of Madrid for a short time, then became a goalie for Spain's premier soccer team, Real Madrid. In 1963, however, an automobile accident ended his career in sports. "One day I was a guy full of strength," he told Dougherty. "And the next I was completely paralyzed."
Iglesias remained in convalescence for three years, at which time a nurse gave him a guitar to take his mind off his physical difficulties. Iglesias knew he could no longer play soccer, but he missed being in the spotlight. He decided to try singing, though he had never been interested in it before. "I was 19 years old when I first got the guitar," he told Ramiro Burr in the Houston Chronicle. Soon he had learned to play and was writing songs. His parents, he later recalled, were less than enthusiastic about a musical career for their son. "They realized I was serious about this," he told Burr, "and I guess it helped when one day they came home and our neighbor said, 'Is this your son, the one who sings?'"
At a Glance . . .
Born Julio Jose Iglesias de la Cueva on September 23, 1943, in Madrid, Spain; son of Julio Iglesias (a gynecologist) and Maria del Rosario (maiden name, de la Cueva Perignat) Iglesias Puga; married Isabel Preisler, January 20, 1971 (annulled 1979); children: Julio José, Enrique, Chaveli. Education: Graduated from law school in Spain.
Career: Singer, songwriter, concert performer and recording artist, 1968–.
Awards: First prize, Spain's Benidorm Song Festival, 1968; first prize, Eurovision song contest, 1972; Recipient Medaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris, 1983; Diamond Disc award Guiness Book of World Records, 1983; Grammy award for best Latin pop performance, 1987.
Address: Office— c/o Rogers & Cowan, 1888 Century Park E Ste 500, Los Angeles, CA, 90067-1709.
He attended Cambridge University for three months, studying language by day and singing Mediterranean love songs at night. He returned to Spain in 1968, where he entered and won first prize in the Benidorm Song Festival with "Life Goes on as Usual." In 1970 he represented Spain at the Eurovision Festival, and in 1972 he returned to the festival and won first prize. To please his parents, he also completed his law degree during this time. In 1971 Iglesias moved to Hong Kong, where he remained for two years. He married Isabel Preisler, and the couple had three children, but they parted in 1979.
Popularized More Romantic Musical Style
In 1977 Iglesias recorded his first project with Ramon Arcusa, a producer and arranger who would remain the singer's right-hand man over the next 25 years. Paxman wrote that "the Iglesias-Arcusa partnership reached a zenith with 1980's Hey!, regarded by many aficionados as Julio's finest hour." The partnership would also see the growth of Iglesias's music into new markets. Arcusa told Paxman, "My mother-in-law, who is English, once said: 'I don't understand one word of what he's singing, but I believe it.'"
After Iglesias established himself in Spain, he became popular in Latin America, Portugal, Italy, Germany, and Japan. "What Iglesias has done, more than any other performer," noted Gerald Clarke in Time, "is bring back to popular music the romantic style of the '40s and '50s." He signed to Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) International around 1980 and attempted to break into English-speaking markets. Unknown to him, however, a group of British tourists had already promoted his career by bringing a number of his albums back from Spain. The records circulated in the music industry, and British deejays began to air Iglesias's version of Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine." The song reached number one, a first for a Hispanic singer in England, and CBS decided to release English versions of his albums.
During the 1980s Iglesias recorded 1100 Bel Air Place, his first English-language album. His single recorded with Willie Nelson, "To All the Girls I Loved Before," reached number one on the singles chart and propelled the album to triple platinum status. Iglesias told John Lannert in Billboard, "The most memorable era for me was between 1978 and 1984, when I discovered a new world—the music in the U.S. I sang with American artists, which was a whole different world." He made appearances on talk shows, attended events, and received an invitation to the White House from Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
Named Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF
In 1987 Iglesias won a Grammy for Un Hombre Solo, and in 1989 he was named goodwill ambassador to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). On 1992's Colar, Iglesias sang different versions of the songs in German, Italian, French, and Portuguese for separate releases. "It's so complicated to go into the studio to do an album and then do it in different languages," he told John Lannert in Billboard. His 1994 album, Crazy, included duets with Dolly Parton and Sting, and sold three million copies worldwide. Burr noted of 2000's Noche de Cuatro Lunas, "The CD has the usual Iglesias earmarks—superb musicianship, gorgeous melodies and soothing emotive vocals."
Iglesias remains an international star, with each new album selling at least two million copies. "I think I am what I am because I don't want to lose my audience," Iglesias told Cobo. "I'm in love with them." He lives a lavish lifestyle that includes $700-a-day hotel rooms, $900 Magnum bottles of champagne, and a five-million-dollar residence in Miami. Despite his success, he maintains an active touring schedule and laughs when interviewers ask him if he is a sex symbol. "Not when I look in the mirror in the morning," he told Clarke. "But my goal is to make people dream. When they see me onstage, their fantasy of me and the reality meet. I seduce them. But first I must seduce me."
A Flor de Piel, Sony, 1974.
Hey!, Columbia, 1980.
1100 Bel Air Place, Columbia, 1984.
Un Hombre Solo, Sony, 1989.
A Mis 33 Anos, Sony, 1989.
Calor, Sony Discos, 1992.
Crazy, Columbia, 1994.
Tango, Columbia, 1996.
Noche de Cuatro Lunas, Sony, 2000.
Billboard, June 27, 1992, p. 17; May 27, 2000, p. 73.
Houston Chronicle, September 24, 2000, p. 13.
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, June 23, 2000.
People Weekly, August 29, 1988, p. 50.
Time, September 10, 1984, p. 60.
Variety, June 8, 1998, p. M33.
"Julio Iglesias," All Music Guide, www.allmusic.com (January 3, 2003).
"Julio Iglesias," Biography Resource Center, www.galenet.com/servlet/BioRC (January 3, 2003).
—Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
"Iglesias, Julio: 1943—: Singer." Contemporary Hispanic Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 9, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/iglesias-julio-1943-singer
"Iglesias, Julio: 1943—: Singer." Contemporary Hispanic Biography. . Retrieved July 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/iglesias-julio-1943-singer
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Spanish-born singer Julio Iglesias has sold more albums than any other singer in the world—over one hundred million as of 1984. He started out singing in Spanish and winning audiences from his homeland and from Latin American countries. Then Iglesias branched into singing in Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Japanese, and English, gaining fans throughout Europe and Asia, and finally in Great Britain and the United States. Though he did not catch on until the early 1980s with non-Hispanic American audiences—traditionally difficult for foreign acts—when he did, he broke through in a big way, filling concert halls in New York, Los Angeles, and other major U.S. cities. His popular 1984 album 1100 Bel Air Place included duets with many American music celebrities, notably the hit “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” recorded with country singer Willie Nelson.
Iglesias, whose full name is Julio José Iglesias de la Cueva, was born September 23, 1943, in Madrid, Spain. The son of a prominent physician, Iglesias had a comfortable childhood. His parents sent him to Catholic school, where his grades were mediocre at best and he did not measure up to the standards of the choir. Instead, he began to excel at soccer. Though as he grew older Iglesias became more concerned with his studies and aimed at Spain’s diplomatic service, he continued to play soccer and earned a membership at the age of sixteen in the junior reserve squad of the prestigious Real Madrid Club de Futbol.
When Iglesias was about twenty years old and working towards a law degree, however, his hopes for a future as a soccer star were dashed by a near-fatal automobile accident. The encounter with a runaway truck that forced his car off the road left him paralyzed from the chest down. But Iglesias was determined not to use a wheelchair, and worked at physical therapy almost unceasingly. And during the long months of his recovery, one of his nurses presented him with a guitar in an effort to take his mind off his disabilities. Iglesias began trying to play along with the songs he heard on the radio; when he had learned to do that, he began composing his own. While still crippled, he watched a telecast of a music festival competition with his mother and told her that someday he himself would win one.
Not long after Iglesias regained the use of his legs (he still retains a slight limp from the accident), he began to push himself towards that goal. On a trip to England to improve his English, he composed the song “La Vida sigue igual” (title means “Life Goes on as Usual”), and used it to win the 1968 Benidorm Song Festival on the Spanish Mediterranean coast. This was the first step on Iglesias’s way to international stardom, but although he continued to enter contests such as 1970’s Eurovision
Full name, Julio José Iglesias de la Cueva; born September 23, 1943, in Madrid, Spain; son of Julio Iglesias Puga (a gynecologist) and Maria del Rosario (maiden name, de la Cueva Perignat); married Isabel Preisler, January 20, 1971 (annulled 1979); children: Julio José, Enrique, Chaveli. Education: Attended law school in Spain.
Singer, songwriter, solo concert performer and recording artist, 1968—.
Awards: Won first prize at Spain’s Benidorm Song Festival in 1968; won first prize in Eurovision song contest in 1972. With approximately 350 gold albums and 100 platinum, holds world’s record for number of albums sold.
Festival, for which he wrote the song “Guendoline,” he devoted most of his time to completing his law degree in accordance with his parents’ wishes. When he finished, though, he concentrated on his singing career with great fervor. Iglesias won 1972’s Eurovision contest; by that time he had signed a contract with Alhambra Records and was being heard not only throughout Europe but in Latin America, Romania, Japan, and the Middle East.
Since then Iglesias has released over one hundred albums; he averages roughly eight in a year. He has gained a reputation as a Latin-lover-type sex symbol though he has been married and divorced and has three children. Iglesias’s biggest fans are mostly women over twenty-five; his appeal was explained by Italian psychologist Erika Kaufmann to Gerald Clarke in Time: “He rouses middle-aged women, especially the depressed ladies with no dreams. When he sings, they come alive.” But Iglesias’s phenomenal success is not merely the result of filling the needs of lonely females. “Behind Iglesias’s undeniable mystique,” asserts Jim Miller in Newsweek, “lies an astonishing amount of sheer hard work.” He often spends over nine months a year in recording studios, doing many takes of each song until he is completely satisfied, frequently working into the early hours of the morning. “The result,” lauded Miller, “is records that shimmer in the mind like the memory of a Mediterranean sunset.”
Despite switching to the larger CBS International record company in about 1980, Iglesias still found it difficult to get through to an English-speaking audience. When it happened, it began by accident—British tourists in Europe brought Iglesias’s records home with them. They circulated among British disc jockeys and received airplay, and Iglesias became the first Hispanic singer to have a number one song in England—a Spanish-language version of Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine.” CBS took notice, and prepared to release Iglesias albums in English. The company also planned to promote the singer in the United States. Iglesias began appearing at events with American celebrities, on American television talk shows. After former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy saw him in a Washington, D.C., performance, he received invitations to sing at the White House.
By the time Iglesias released 1100 Bel Air Place, he had already become well-known in the United States. The album featured duets with stars like Diana Ross, the Beach Boys, and the Pointer Sisters. While some critics, such as Lynn Van Matre in the Chicago Tribune, denigrated Iglesias’s multi-genre approach as an attempt to please too many diverse tastes, it proved effective. His biggest American splash, perhaps, was made in the country music audience. “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” his duet with Willie Nelson, rose to the top ten of Billboard’s music charts. With the addition of fans in the United States, Iglesias’s world conquest was complete.
Como el Alamo al camino, Alhambra, 1972.
Julio Iglesias, Alhambra, 1972.
Soy, Alhambra, 1973.
A Mexico, Alhambra, 1975.
El Amor, Alhambra, 1975.
America, Alhambra, 1976.
A mis 33 anos, Alhambra, 1977.
Emociones, Alhambra, 1978.
Hoy, CBS, 1980.
De nina a mujer, CBS, 1981.
El Disco de oro, CBS, 1981.
Momentos, CBS, 1982.
Julio, CBS, c. 1983.
1100 Bel Air Place (includes “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before”), CBS, 1984.
Daly, Marsha, Julio Iglesias, St. Martin’s, 1986.
Chicago Tribune, February 26, 1984.
Ladies’ Home Journal, August, 1985.
Newsweek, July 11, 1983.
Time, September 10, 1984.
"Iglesias, Julio." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 9, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/iglesias-julio-0
"Iglesias, Julio." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved July 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/iglesias-julio-0