It is hard to imagine that a Cuban-born singer could become a raging success by pounding a drum and singing "babalu" at the top of his lungs, but that is exactly what happened to Desi Arnaz. Almost everyone has heard of the television show I Love Lucy that Desi produced with his wife, Lucille Ball. Desi and Lucy became America's most beloved television stars.
Desi was born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, on March 2, 1917. His father became the youngest mayor that his city ever had, and the family was wealthy. Unfortunately, the family's security did not last long. Desi's family fled to Miami, Florida, in 1933 because of political turmoil. The family worked at odd jobs to make ends meet in their new country.
Desi found solace in his music. His formal career began in 1936 when he played guitar and percussion for a Latin orchestra. He then decided to try his luck in a bigger place and moved to New York City. After studying music there, he went back to Miami and formed his own band. He recorded his famous song, Babalu, in 1937, and it became a hit. America loved the zesty Cuban's rich voice and lively drum accompaniment.