Valentin Elizalde El Gallo de Oro – Gunned Down, Forever 27

Valentín Elizalde is a recent member of the group of young musicians and celebrities known as the forever 27 club. He died on November 26, 2006, murdered in his native country of Mexico. He was 27 years and 297 days old at the time of his death. Elizalde, nicknamed El Gallo de Oro (which stands for the golden rooster) was a very popular and successful singer in the genre known as banda, and had a string of hits over a ten-year career that was stopped short by an apparent assassination related to the drug trade.

Born in the state of Sonora, Elizalde moved several times during his youth until he and his parents and brothers and sisters settled in Sinaloa. His father was a professional singer as well, and he died tragically in a vehicle accident while driving on the Curve of Death in the city of Villa Juarez. Following in his father’s footsteps, young Valentin became a singer of songs in the banda style, which to most Western ears sounds like German polka music – which it essentially is. German immigrants to Mexico had a huge influence on Mexican musical development, and many modern forms are hybrids of the old and the new. Banda, like polka, features percussion and horns prominently, but has added guitars and other instrumentation in an attempt at modernization. Another change has been in the lyrical content, and this is where Valentin got into trouble.

Many of his biggest hits were songs called narcocorridos, a variation on an old ballad form which typically had lyrics which glorified and popularized heroes of the people (vigilantes, cowboys, and outlaws) and discussing current events important to the common folk. In recent years drug lords, trafficking cartels and their activities have become the subjects of these songs. But it became more than just a harmless song when Valentin allegedly took sides and performed an anti-gang tune in the gang’s territory.

The gang known as Los Zetas was the target of a song by Elizalde called A Mis Enemigos (to my enemies), and the ambush happened after a show in which he prominently showcased the tune. Elizalde, his personal assistant, and his driver were all killed in a violent hail of gunfire directed at his limo after the concert. A member of Los Zetas was later convicted and sent to prison for the crime. Of course, El Gallo de Oro was not the only Mexican performer of narcocorridos who died violently.But he was at the age of 27 when it happened to him, making him eligible for membership in the infamous club.

Valentin Elizalde DISCOGRAPHY
Valentín Elizalde Book/Bio

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