The Latin Rock scene has blessed us with timeless tracks that make us sing at the top of our lungs at concerts, jump up and down with a bunch of friends at clubs, or just transport us to another state of mind.
Many Latinos will always feel a special connection to songs that have transcended generations such as “La Ingrata”, “Musica Ligera” and “Clavado en un Bar”, because after all, they are the party lighting.
But before today’s Manas and Café Tacvbas, “Rock en Español” was a whole world to explore in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
One of the early pioneers of the genre was the Chicano rock artist Ritchie valens, who adapted a Mexican folk song and merged it with rock melodies, to release “La Bamba” in 1958. Due to the song’s success, Mexico became one of the first countries to introduce the new wave Latin American rockers, such as Teen Tops. We can also owe part of the birth of the genre to The Beatles, who with their rock and roll songs inspired many budding groups in countries like Argentina, Spain, Peru and Brazil.
Meanwhile, in the United States, the Mexican-American guitarist Carlos santana formed Santana, bringing to the fore not only their musical style which fuses Latin American and Caribbean rhythms, but also the Chicano Rock movement. It was then, in the 1970s, that the genre was invented under the name “Rock Latin”. During this same decade, Argentines Charly garcia and Luis Alberto Spinetta became two of the key artists who formed the “Rock en Español” movement, opening the doors to many popular acts today.
Experimenting with pop, new wave, heavy metal and punk, the genre exploded in the 1980s with the formation of groups such as Heroes del Silencio (Spain), Hombres G (Spain), Los Prisioneros (Chile), Stereo Soda (Argentina), Caifanes (Mexico) and Enanitos Verdes (Argentina). Rock in Spanish began to gain international attention in the late 1980s and early 1990s when groups such as Aterciopelados (Colombia), Cafe Tacvba (Mexico), La Ley (Chile), Bersuit Vergarabat (Argentina) and mana (Mexico) came to play.
Although the genre was at its peak during this decade, a new wave of rock artists have continued to revolutionize the genre while being a game-changer.
It was around the time that Molotov (Mexico) presented us their shameless rap-rock, Los Amigos Invisibles (Venezuela) started making us dance with their “pura gozadera”, Illya Kuryaki and the Valderrama (Argentina) blessed us with their cool funk, Maldita Vecindad (Mexico) made us jump on their ska-punk, and Robi Draco Rosa (Puerto Rico) presented us his indie soul jams.
Fast forward to today, in a world dominated by reggaeton and Latin pop, artists like Alejandra Guzman, Shakira, Juanes, Bomba Estereo, Y La Bamba, and Nathalie Lafourcade continue to keep Rock en Español alive with their own unique twists.
Discover a list of timeless songs that best summarize the evolution of the Rock en Español genre.
1. Ritchie Valens – “La Bamba”
2. Santana – “Black magic woman”
3. Luis Alberto Spinetta – “Muchacha Ojos de Papel”
4. Alaska and Dinarama – “Ni Tu Ni Nadie”
5. Soda Stereo – “Cuando Pase El Temblor”
6. Los Fabulosos Cadillac – “Matador”
7. Los Prisioneros – “Tren Al Sur”
8. Heroes del Silencio – “Maldito Duende”
9. Mana – “Oye Mi Amor”
10. Enanitos Verdes – “Lamento boliviano”
11. Café Tacvba – “La Ingrata”
12. Aterciopelados – “Florecita Rokera“
13. The Ley ft. Ely Guerra – “El Duelo”
14. Pedro Suarez Vertiz – “Globos del Cielo”
15. Molotov – “Puto”
16. Shakira – “Inevitable”
17. Juanes – “A Dios Le Pido”
18. Robi Draco Rosa – “Mas y Mas”
19. Los Amigos Invisibles – “Mentiras”
20. León Larregui – “Brillas”
21. Natalia Lafourcade – “Hasta La Raiz”
22. Y La Bamba – “Boca Llena”
23. Alejandra Guzman – “Soy Asi”
24. Mon Laferté – “Biutiful”
25. Zoe – “Karmadame”