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JULIO IGLESIAS by Marsha Daly (St. Martin's: $11.95).

March 23, 1986|RITA HERSCOVICI

Women who get goose bumps listening to Julio Iglesias' love songs may feel cheated when Marsha Daly explains how the "Spanish Sinatra" is basically just a "good salesman." "The truly great artists," says Julio Iglesias, "are the ones who package themselves in the image the fans want." For him, the "art of singing isn't as important as the art of enchanting," and Iglesias is successful at what he himself admits is "the selling of dreams." At age 40, he's sold 100 million albums in six languages. Iglesias' decision to become a singer was far less calculated, though: After his soccer career was ended by a car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down, a hospital nurse gave him "an old guitar that someone was about to throw away." Iglesias struggled--and strummed--his way to recovery. Soon, the new career became an obsession, a point Daly underscores through frequent quotes about the singer's need to have "perfect" shows, "perfect" albums, even "perfectly" tailored white tuxedos. To make it in the United States, Iglesias hired a top public relations firm and, Daly writes, the results were dramatic: Without a single record in English, "Julio had become a superstar, even if many of his admirers did not have the foggiest notion of what he did for a living." Daly offers valuable insights on what led to Iglesias' rise in the states: the P.R. firm spread Iglesias' name through tactics that would surprise his fans: giving discounts, for example, to its superstar clients so they would make public appearances with Iglesias.

And stardom took its tolls. Americanizing his act, Iglesias says, caused nothing but "pain, pain, pain, because when I have the accent, sometimes I don't have the feeling, but when I have the feeling, the accent is not so good." His marriage failed; his new relationships were fleeting at best. Yet Daly's profile, however engaging, only lists Iglesias' disappointments; we never discover how the singer feels about a life lived in transit between recording studios, hotel rooms and performance stages.

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