Los Lobos

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Los Lobos
Los Lobos at the White House.jpg
Los Lobos performing at the White House in 2009
Background information
Origin East Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Chicano rock, roots rock, Latin rock, Tex-Mex, country rock, Americana, heartland rock, cowpunk
Years active1973present
Labels Slash/Warner Bros. Records, Rough Trade, London, Mammoth, 429 Records, RCA
Associated acts Latin Playboys, Los Super Seven
Website www.loslobos.org
Members David Hidalgo
Louie Pérez
Cesar Rosas
Conrad Lozano
Steve Berlin
Enrique González
Past membersFrank González
Richard Escalante
Victor Bisetti
Cougar Estrada

Los Lobos (pronounced  [los ˈloβos] , Spanish for "the Wolves") is an American rock band from East Los Angeles, California, United States. Their music is influenced by rock and roll, Tex-Mex, country, zydeco, folk, R&B, blues, brown-eyed soul, and traditional music such as cumbia, boleros and norteños. The band gained international stardom in 1987, when their cover version of Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba" topped the charts in the U.S., the UK and several other countries. In 2015, they were nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. [1] In 2018, they were inducted into Austin City Limits Hall of Fame.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily from the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly from a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

East Los Angeles, California Census-designated place in California, United States

East Los Angeles, or East L.A., known in the 1920s as Belvedere or Belvedere Gardens, is an unincorporated area and census-designated place (CDP) in Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 126,496. It is 96% Latino—the highest percentage of any neighborhood in Los Angeles County, and the highest of any census-designated place in the United States with a population of 100,000 or more.

Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s from musical styles such as gospel, jump blues, jazz, boogie woogie, and rhythm and blues, along with country music. While elements of what was to become rock and roll can be heard in blues records from the 1920s and in country records of the 1930s, the genre did not acquire its name until 1954.



1973–79: Formation and early releases

Vocalist and guitarist David Hidalgo and drummer Louie Pérez met at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, California, and bonded over their mutual affinity for obscure musical acts such as Fairport Convention, Randy Newman and Ry Cooder. [2] [3] Pérez recalls, "We’re looking at each other, 'You like this stuff? I thought I was the only weird one.' So I went over to his house one day for about a year, which we spent listening to records, playing guitars, and starting to write songs." [2] The two borrowed reel-to-reel recorders from a friend and created multitrack recordings of music spanning from parody songs to free-form jazz. [2] They later enlisted fellow students Frank Gonzalez, Cesar Rosas and Conrad Lozano to complete the group's lineup, in 1973. [3] Their first album, Los Lobos del Este de Los Angeles , was recorded at two studios in Hollywood in 1977 over a period of about four months. At that time, they all had regular jobs, and it was hard to get together for the sessions. To accommodate that situation, their producer Louis Torres would call the engineer, Mark Fleisher, who owned and operated a high-speed tape duplicating studio in Hollywood, to find a studio when he knew all the band members could get off work that night. Most of the songs were recorded at a studio on Melrose Avenue, located next to the Paramount studios at the time, and a low-priced studio on Sunset Boulevard.

David Hidalgo American musician

David Kent Hidalgo is an American singer-songwriter, best known for his work with the band Los Lobos. Hidalgo frequently plays musical instruments such as accordion, violin, 6-string banjo, cello, requinto jarocho, percussion, drums and guitar as a session musician on other artists' releases.

Louie Pérez American songwriter, percussionist and guitarist

Louis Frausto Pérez, Jr. is an American songwriter, percussionist and guitarist for Los Lobos and Latin Playboys.

Fairport Convention British folk rock group

Fairport Convention are a British folk rock band, formed in 1967 by Richard Thompson, Simon Nicol, Ashley Hutchings, and Shaun Frater, with Frater replaced by Martin Lamble after their first gig. They started out heavily influenced by American folk rock and singer-songwriter material, with a setlist dominated by covers of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell songs and a sound that earned them the nickname “the British Jefferson Airplane.” Vocalists Judy Dyble and Iain Matthews joined them before the recording of their self-titled debut in 1968; afterwards, Dyble was replaced by Sandy Denny, with Matthews leaving during the recording of their third album.

The band members were unsatisfied with playing only American Top 40 songs and began experimenting with the traditional Mexican music they listened to as children. [3] This style of music received a positive reaction from audiences, leading the band to switch genres, performing at hundreds of weddings and dances between 1974 and 1980. [3] However, Los Lobos took notice of the popular groups on the Hollywood music scene and added influences of rock to its sound. [3]

Originally, they called themselves Los Lobos del Este (de Los Angeles) ("The Wolves of the East [of Los Angeles)]"), which was a play on the name of the norteño band Los Tigres del Norte; also, there was another conjunto band at the time named "Los Lobos Del Norte", who had released several albums already, and in fact Los Lobos del Este were from east L.A. The name was quickly shortened to Los Lobos. [4]

Los Tigres del Norte Mexican band

Los Tigres del Norte are a Mexican norteño band from Mocorito, Sinaloa and based in San Jose, California, United States.

1980–88: How Will the Wolf Survive? and commercial success

The band's first noteworthy public appearance occurred in 1980 at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, when they were hired by David Ferguson and CD Presents to open for Public Image Ltd. In 1983, the band released an extended play entitled ...And a Time to Dance , which was well received by critics but sold only about 50,000 copies. [5] However, the sales of the EP earned the group enough money to purchase a Dodge van, enabling the band to tour throughout the United States for the first time. [5] Los Lobos returned to the studio in the summer of 1984 to record its first major-label album, How Will the Wolf Survive? , in 1984. [6] The album's title and the title song were inspired by a National Geographic article entitled "Where Can the Wolf Survive", which the band members related to their own struggle to gain success in the United States while maintaining their Mexican roots. [5]

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of nearly four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood, the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.

David Ferguson (impresario) American music promoter

David Ferguson was an American international outsider-culture impresario, activist, music producer and concert promoter. Over his career, most of which has been spent on the West Coast, he worked with musical acts such as The Avengers, John Lydon, Billy Bragg, Iggy Pop, Bad Brains, Black Flag, and Butthole Surfers and visual artists Vaughn Bode, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Barry McGee. Ferguson worked with multi-discipline artists such as avant-garde musician and spoken-word artist Lydia Lunch and the psychedelic drag queen performance group The Cockettes.

Extended play Musical recording longer than a single, but shorter than a full album

An extended play record, often referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is usually unqualified as an album or LP. Contemporary EPs generally contain a minimum of three tracks and maximum of six tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

The film Colors includes "One Time, One Night" in the opening credits, although the song was not included on the soundtrack album. In 1986, members of Los Lobos appeared alongside Tomata du Plenty in the punk rock musical Population: 1 . In 1987, they released a second album, By the Light of the Moon . In the same year, they recorded some Ritchie Valens covers for the soundtrack of the film La Bamba , including the title track, which became a number one single for the band. In 1988 they followed with another album, La pistola y el corazón , featuring original and traditional Mexican songs.

<i>Colors</i> (film) 1988 film directed by Dennis Hopper

Colors is a 1988 American police procedural action crime film starring Sean Penn and Robert Duvall, and directed by Dennis Hopper. The film takes place in the gang ridden neighborhoods of 1980s' South Central Los Angeles, East Los Angeles and Northwest Los Angeles, and centers on Bob Hodges (Duvall), an experienced Los Angeles Police Department CRASH officer, and his rookie partner, Danny McGavin (Penn), who try to stop the gang violence between the Bloods, the Crips, and Hispanic street gangs. Colors relaunched Hopper as a director 19 years after Easy Rider, and inspired discussion over its depiction of gang life and gang violence.

David Xavier Harrigan, aka Tomata du Plenty was an American singer of the late 1970s and early 1980s Los Angeles electropunk band The Screamers. He was also the founder of Seattle's counterculture troupe Ze Whiz Kidz. During the later part of his life he focused on painting.

<i>Population: 1</i> 1986 film by Rene Daalder

Population: 1 is a 1986 punk rock musical film written and directed by Rene Daalder.

1988–94: The Neighborhood and Kiko

In the late 1980s and early 1990s the band toured extensively throughout the world, opening for such acts as Bob Dylan, U2 and the Grateful Dead.

Los Lobos returned with The Neighborhood in 1990, and the more experimental Kiko (produced by Mitchell Froom) in 1992. In 1991, the band contributed a lively cover of "Bertha", a song which they often performed live, to the Grateful Dead tribute–rain forest benefit album Deadicated. In 1994 they also contributed a track, "Down Where the Drunkards Roll", to the Richard Thompson tribute album Beat the Retreat.

On the band's twentieth anniversary they released a two-CD collection of singles, outtakes, live recordings and hits, entitled Just Another Band from East L.A.

1995–98: Papa's Dream and Colossal Head

In 1995, Los Lobos released the prestigious and bestselling record Papa's Dream on Music for Little People Records along with veteran guitarist and singer Lalo Guerrero. The band also scored the film Desperado . The album track "Mariachi Suite" won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance and stands as their last Grammy Award to date (the other two Grammy Awards were in the category of Best Mexican-American Performance in 1983 and 1989 for the song "Anselma" and the album La Pistola y el Corazón).

In 1996, they released Colossal Head. In spite of the fact that the album was critically acclaimed, Warner Brothers decided to drop the band from their roster. Los Lobos spent the next few years on side projects. The band contributed along with Money Mark to the AIDS benefit album Silencio=Muerte: Red Hot + Latin , produced by the Red Hot Organization, on which they performed "Pepe and Irene."

1999–2006: Mammoth Records, subsequent releases

Los Lobos 2005, LosLobos.jpg
Los Lobos 2005,

Los Lobos signed to Mammoth Records and released This Time in 1999. Mammoth also reissued 1977's Del Este de Los Angeles. In 2000, Rhino/Warner Archives released the boxed set Cancionero: Mas y Mas.

In 2001, Los Lobos was awarded the El Premio Billboard Award. [7]

The band released their Mammoth Records debut, Good Morning Aztlan in 2002. They released The Ride in 2004. The Ride featured Tom Waits, Mavis Staples, Bobby Womack, Elvis Costello and others covering Los Lobos music along with the band.

Los Lobos released its first full-length live-show DVD Live at the Fillmore in 2004. The DVD captures the band's act over a two-day period in July at the famed San Francisco venue.

In September 2006, Los Lobos released The Town and the City (Mammoth Records) to much critical acclaim. [8] [9] The album's lyrics deal with Louis Perez's childhood in East Los Angeles, while the music provides complex and original soundscapes reminiscent of their previous release Kiko. Cartoonist Jaime Hernandez did the artwork for the album. [10] The album is told in the first person, with each song serving as an episodic step. [11]

2007–present: Tin Can Trust

2017-06-11 Los Lobos, Cesar, Conrad & Enrique. 2017-06-11-0581 Los Lobos, Cesar, Conrad & Enrique.jpg
2017-06-11 Los Lobos, Cesar, Conrad & Enrique.

In 2007, the group performed a cover of Bob Dylan's "Billy 1" (from Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid ) for the soundtrack to Todd Haynes's film I'm Not There . Also in 2007, they participated in Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino (Vanguard), contributing their version of Domino's "The Fat Man".

In 2009, the group under contractual obligation to Disney Music released an album of Disney covers, Los Lobos Goes Disney (Disney Sound/Walt Disney Records) [12] and more enthusiastically participated in a tribute album to the late Doug Sahm, Keep Your Soul: A Tribute to Doug Sahm (Vanguard).

In 2010, Cesar Rosas and David Hidalgo were featured artists in the Experience Hendrix Tour. On August 3, 2010, the group released their first album of new material in 4 years, entitled Tin Can Trust , through Shout! Factory, which features two Spanish-language tracks. [13]

In 2011, the group was awarded the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. [14] [15]

In 2013, the group toured Europe supporting Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

On October 9, 2015, Los Lobos was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the first time. [1]

In 2017, Los Lobos appeared in the multi award-winning documentary film The American Epic Sessions directed by Bernard MacMahon, where they recorded, “El Cascabel”, [16] live direct-to-disc on the first electrical sound recording system from the 1920s. [17] During their session, the belt holding the 100Ib weight that powered the 1924 cutting lathe broke and Jack White had to rush to an upholstery shop to repair it. [18] [19]

Los Lobos was inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame in 2018. [20]


Former members

Touring musicians



Live albums


Extended plays

Soundtrack, compilation, and guest appearances



YearSinglePeak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
1981"Under the Boardwalk"Non-album songs
"Farmer John"
1983"Ay Te Dejo en San Antonio"...and a Time to Dance
1984"Let's Say Goodnight"
"Don't Worry Baby"57How Will the Wolf Survive?
"Will the Wolf Survive"3878
1987"Shakin' Shakin' Shakes"By the Light of the Moon
"Set Me Free (Rosa Lee)"4599
"Come On, Let's Go"1325992414221821La Bamba(soundtrack)
"La Bamba"2111121111
"One Time, One Night"By the Light of the Moon
1990"Down on the Riverbed"The Neighborhood
1991"Bertha"Deadicated: A Tribute to the Grateful Dead
1992"Bella Marie de Mi Alma"Just Another Band from East LA: A Collection
"Reva's House"Kiko
"Kiko and the Lavender Moon"
2000"Cumbia Raza" This Time
"—" denotes releases that did not chart
2010"Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" Rick Trevino Non-album song

See also

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