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Santa Esmeralda is a U.S./French Disco group formed in the 1970s, which earned a #1 club hit in 1977 with a cover version of the song „Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood“.
Leroy Gómez was born in Wareham, Massachusetts of Cape Verdean descent. Learning how to sing and play the saxophone, Gómez started his own band at 14, and later joined Tavares, a local group of brothers who shared his Cape Verdean heritage, and with whom he would go on to tour North America and Europe. In Paris, Elton John invited him to play sax on his classic album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Amidst this success, Gómez decided to leave Tavares and remain in Europe, getting work as a session player in Paris. There he met Nicolas Skorsky and Jean Manuel de Scarano, songwriters who had launched their own label with the aim of producing artists who would record their compositions. Santa Esmeralda was born of their collaboration, and the album Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, with Gómez on lead vocals, debuted on the independent French label, Fauves Puma. A sudden huge success in Europe, the record was picked up for worldwide distribution by Casablanca Records of Los Angeles, the preeminent label of the Disco era.