During his time at Tablao Torres Bermejas, he met Paco de Lucía, with whom he recorded nine albums between 1969 and 1977. The two toured extensively together during this period.[3] As Paco de Lucía became more occupied with solo concert commitments, Camarón worked with the flamenco guitarist Tomatito.

In 1976, at the age of 25, Camarón married Dolores Montoya, a Romani girl from La Línea de la Concepción whom he nicknamed “La Chispa” (The Spark).[4] At the time La Chispa was only 16. The couple had four children.

Camarón de la Isla y Paco de Lucía

Many consider Camarón to be the single most popular and influential flamenco cantaor (singer) of the modern period. Although his work was criticized by some traditionalists, he was one of the first to feature an electric bass in his songs. This was a turning point in the history of Flamenco music that helped distinguish Nuevo Flamenco. In later years, his health deteriorated due to heavy smoking and drug abuse.[5][6] In 1992, José Monge Crúz died of lung cancer in Badalona, Spain.[7] It was estimated that more than 100,000 people attended his funeral.

On 5 December 2000 the Ministry of Culture of the Junta de Andalucía posthumously awarded to Camarón the ´Llave de Oro del Cante´, the Golden Key of Flamenco.[8] This was only the fourth key awarded since 1862.

In 2005, director Jaime Chávarri released the biopic Camarón in Spain starring Óscar Jaenada as Camarón and Verónica Sánchez – star of popular Spanish TV series Los Serrano – as La Chispa. The film, produced in consultation with Camarón’s widow, was subsequently nominated for several Goya Awards.