It would feel ridiculous to give each of these gentlemen his own post with the same song — and virtually the same arrangement of the same song — so I've combined them.
The song in question is a Spanish-language rewrite of the 1984 Italian hit "Tutta la vita" by Lucio Dalla. Both Franco and Emmanuel have claimed to be the first to record and release it; the verdict of history has generally been on Emmanuel's side, as he's had the longer and more successful career. But Franco beat him to the number-one spot by a week, and they would spend four more weeks swapping back and forth; my guess is that the people who bought the single or requested it to be played on the air weren't too concerned with which version they got. (If I'm wrong, and there were organized phone-in campaigns and packs of girls whose hair was crisp with product bought as many copies of their favorite as they could find to keep the drama of who would be on top the next week alive, please correct me.)
Franco was a Cuban-born entertainer based in Miami attempting to orchestrate a pop career for himself. Emmanuel had been a Mexican child star in the 70s and made a significant name for himself in the 80s with big, weepy ballads; here, you can hear how his talent for emotionalism helps him to sell the song more passionately — feel the soul-like grit in his voice — than the slicker, more anonymous Franco.
It's a song that demands a certain amount of passion; the repeating musical figure that runs throughout is an echo of the insistence of the singer on getting his own way, on not being tied down, on the usual litany that men sing in songs like this. And this bird you'll never chain, etc. But the tension and release only end in crazed repetition: "TODA LA VIDA" ("all my life"). This song, too, is about a man who protests too much, as the closing lines admit. He has to keep telling himself that he values his freedom "coleccionando mil amores" (collecting a thousand loves) and "descubriendo puertas escondindas" (discovering hidden doors) because "tú [eres] al final la mas querida" (you are after all the one he loves).
It is, in fact, a better song than either Franco or Emmanuel are able to make it; and though I'd give Emmanuel a slight edge, with his Rod-Stewart-fronting-Roxy-Music performance, I can see why there was never a clear winner in the chart; it was al final pretty much the same record.