Patrick Hernandez (born 6 April 1949 in Le Blanc-Mesnil, Seine-Saint-Denis) is a French singer who had a worldwide hit with "Born to Be Alive" in 1979.
Born to a Spanish family, Hernandez grew up in the 1960s and was interested in music. He toured dancehalls and ballrooms of southern France with a number of groups over the next decade. Hernández met his music partner Hervé Tholance, an arranger, guitarist, and vocalist, during that period. The two formed a duo and started achieving local success backing French musicians such as Francis Cabrel, Laurent Voulzy, and the French group Gold.
In 1978, Hernandez met the producer Jean Vanloo with disco music at its peak, and signed a recording contract. Hernández went to Waterloo, Belgium to work on songs.
"Born to Be Alive"
After working for about a year, the songs were released on the Aariana sub-label Aquarius Records (in France) in November 1978. The first single that was released was the disco song "Born to Be Alive". Its success was immediate, and in January 1979, Hernandez received his first gold record from Italy. The song spread throughout Europe, where it hit #1 in France in April and remained there until July. By then, the United States had caught on, and after some remixing, the record was signed to the A-Tom-Mik label and later Columbia Records. The remixed version was released on a commercial 12" single, and it peaked in the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart at #1 and crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100 peaking at #16. It sold over one million copies in the US. The track reached #10 in the UK Singles Chart. By year's end, Hernandez had racked up fifty-two gold and platinum record awards from more than fifty different countries.
Post-"Born to Be Alive"
While Hernandez was touring the United States, he was accompanied by Vanloo and his friend Jean-Claude Pellerin. Vanloo and Pellerin held auditions in New York that spring for dancers to accompany Hernández on his worldwide tour. The chosen dancers included a young Madonna.
Hernandez's follow-ups to "Born to Be Alive" did not fare as well in the US. "Disco Queen" backed with "Show Me the Way You Kiss" sold poorly, but the album Born to Be Alive sold well and won him a Billboard Award in February 1980.
In 1981, Hernandez released the import 12" single of "Goodbye", first released on Aariana Records and then a remixed version on the parent-label Aquarius Records (in France). It was not released in the US, although an album followed the single's release, but found no market in the US.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Hernandez toured and had occasional appearances on other artists' albums in Europe. Another remix of "Born to Be Alive" appeared in the nightclubs in 1987. In 1995, a compilation of his two albums was released in the US, titled The Best Of Patrick Hernandez on Hot Records. The fourth movie in the National Lampoon's Vacation comedy series, Vegas Vacation, prominently featured "Born to Be Alive". In Canada, the song was used in television advertisements for the Dodge SX 2.0 economy car.
Since its 1978 release, "Born to Be Alive" has sold more than 800,000 units annually under various forms and compilations globally, and it has brought in more than 25 million dollars worldwide. It has also been covered in the Pump It Up series of rhythm dance games.
He was married to Spanish-born singer Luisa Fernández, who appeared on the hit albums Lay Love on You, Disco Boy, and Spanish Dancer, among others. He now lives in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue together with Laetitia, his wife since 1990, and his daughter Victoria.