Tony Melendez is a thalidomide baby and was born without arms. Despite that physical challenge, he plays the guitar. He played for Pope John Paul II and I dare you to watch the video without weeping. The song he played is entitled 'Never Be The Same'. When he finished, the Pope walked up to Tony and embraced him.
Tony has traveled across the United States and forty foreign countries, making countless television appearances, including The Today Show, Good Morning America, Geraldo, CBS This Morning, The Late Show with Arsenio Hall, 700 Club, Robert Schuller, and prime-time network specials for Variety Clubs and Very Special Arts. He also performed at The World Series, where he sang the National Anthem for the fifth game of the 1989 series. Tony has had the opportunity to give four additional performances for the Pope, twice in the Vatican and the another in the Pope’s homeland of Poland, and in Denver Colorado for World Youth Day 1993. Along with television and major personal appearances, newspapers and magazines articles have appear on him through out the world. Now an author his best-selling autobiography, A Gift of Hope, was published in 1989 by Harper & Row.
Tony Melendez has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including special commendations from President Reagan, The State of California, Variety Clubs of America, Very Special Arts, The City of Los Angeles, and countless other civic and charitable organizations. He has also received the first annual Inspirational Hero Award from the NFL Alumni Association at Super Bowl XXIII in Miami.
A highly talented composer and musician, Tony recorded his first album in 1989, a collection of contemporary Christian songs entitled, Never Be the Same, which resulted in nominations for Best New Artist of the Year from Cashbox Magazine and the Gospel Music Association. His debut Spanish LP, El Muro Se Cayo And The Walls Came Tumblin’ Down, was released to critical acclaim by Latin radio stations across the country. Ways of the Wise, Tony’s second Christian album, includes the musical talents of Gary Chapman and Phil Keaggy. The fall of 1990 CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) Magazine Top Pop List charted Ways of the Wise, Tony’s first single released from the album, at #3.