When Consuelo Velázquez wrote “Bésame mucho,” she hadn't even had her first kiss.
By Alonso Martínez
Wishes wander in our dreams. Wishes are our deepest desires, those we haven’t really formulated in our reality, but that our minds have perfectly developed. A kiss in our youth is interpreted in our mind as though we had just climbed the tallest mountain. The love stories we hear or see around us only feed our desire to experience them ourselves. This is probably what Consuelo Velázquez felt in her youth when she wrote the iconic song “Bésame mucho,” since, at the time, she had never kissed anyone.
Despite the fact that she hadn’t experienced that pleasant but also common moment in everyone’s life, Velázquez managed to create what’s probably the best song about kissing. It has everything: the desire and longing to connect with that person we love in an endless kiss. Her rhymes are simple, but the message and the narrative she built are both powerful and extremely evocative.
Though it’s believed she wrote “Bésame mucho” before her 20th birthday, the first formal record of the song is from 1940, when she was already 24 years old. According to investigator Tony Burton, when Consuelo Velázquez was asked who had been the inspiration for such an emotional song, she said she hadn’t actually kissed anyone before and that it had come from her imagination and her own desires. Not only that, she declared she had been educated to believe kissing was a sin.
Consuelo Velázquez was born in Mexico City in 1916. Then, when she was only four years old, she and her family moved to Guadalajara, where she found her passion for music. Eventually, she went back to Mexico City to become a professional pianist and composer. Besides “Bésame Mucho” (considered the most covered song in Spanish), Consuelo Velázquez is also the author of other iconic Mexican songs like “Déjame quererte,” “Pasional,” and “No me pidas nunca.”
Here’s the glorious original version:
Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards