Héctor Juan Pérez Martínez (September 30, 1946 – June 29, 1993), better known as Héctor Lavoe, was a Puerto Rican salsa singer. He is credited with starting the salsa movement in 1975.
Lavoe was born and raised in the Machuelo Abajo sector of Ponce, Puerto Rico. Early in his life, he attended a local music school and developed an interest inspired by Jesús Sánchez Erazo. He moved to New York City when he was 17 years old. On his first week living in the city, he worked as the vocalist of a sextet formed by Roberto García. During this period, he performed with several other groups, including Orquesta New York, Kako All-Stars, and the Johnny Pacheco band.
In 1967, Lavoe joined Willie Colón's band and performed as the band vocalist. With the Willie Colón band, Lavoe recorded several hit songs, including "El Malo" and "Canto a Borinquen". Lavoe moved on to become a soloist and formed his own band, where he performed as lead vocalist. As a soloist Lavoe recorded several hits including "El cantante", "Bandolera" and "Periódico de ayer" ("El Cantante" was composed by Ruben Blades, "Bandolera" by Colón and "Periódico" by Tite Curet Alonso.) During this period he was frequently featured as an invited vocalist in the Fania All Stars, and recorded numerous tracks with the band.