Tierra (band)

Last updated

Years active1972–present
Past membersSteve Salas
Rudy Salas
Kenny Roman
David Torres
Bobby Navarette
Bobby Loya
Steve Falomir
Andre Baeza
Rudy Villa

Tierra is an American Latin R&B band, originally from Los Angeles, California, United States, that was first established in 1972 by former El Chicano members Rudy Salas (guitar) and his brother Steve Salas (vocals). [1] The other original members were Bobby Loya , Bobby Navarrete (reeds), Joey Guerra (keyboards), Steve Falomir (bass guitar), Philip Madayag (drums), and Andre Baeza (percussion). [1] Their biggest hit was the 1980 remake of The Intruders' 1967 hit "Together", written by Gamble & Huff, which reached No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100, and No. 9 on the US Billboard R&B chart. [2] It was a number one record on Los Angeles radio. [3] [4]



Tierra has the distinction of being the first Latino band to have four songs on the national chart, with two of them in the Top 100 at the same time. [5]

In 1972, Rudy and Steve Salas formed Tierra and their self-titled debut album was recorded. By the mid-1970s the band consisted of the Salas brothers, Rudy Villa on reeds, Kenny Román on drums and Latin-percussion, Conrad Lozano on bass, Aaron Ballesteros on drums and vocals, Alfred Rubalcava on bass and Leon Bisquera on keyboards. Around that time they recorded the album Stranded for the Salsoul records label. [6]

In 1980, they had a platinum hit with their version of "Together" which was a remake of the 1967 song by The Intruders. [7] The song which was written by Gamble & Huff, reached No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 30 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and No. 9 on the US Billboard R&B chart. [2] A few months later they had another chart hit with "Memories". [1] Later in the year they charted again with "La La Means I Love You". [8]

In 1981, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times Rudy Salas was quoted as saying "Sometimes I couldn't feed my family, I'm going out to get a legitimate job." At those bleak moments, his then wife Martha Salas would intervene. "She would talk me out of it," Salas said. "She knows how I love music. She would tell me, "No way you're gonna quit, you'd just take it out on me and the kids and we'd all be miserable." "She was right". [9] [10]

In 1995, they released their A New Beginning album. [11]

Around 1997, younger brother Steve supposedly quit the band after disputes over leadership of the band, money and management. In an interview he claimed that he was fired by his brother Rudy. He formed his own band and for a period of time there were two bands bearing the name Tierra. The Tierra band led by Steve Salas was booked for three nights at the Conga Room. Rudy Salas's wife Joanna Alvarado Salas contacted the club to inform them that the real Tierra was the one fronted by her husband. This led to the club's booking manager Robert Vargas getting into negotiations and mediating between the two brothers, with a plan to have a band consisting of the two brothers and as many members as possible from their successful years in the early 1980s. An argument developed over the line up, and Steve Salas backed out two weeks before the concert was to take place. He then apologized, and in January 2002, they were booked to play the Conga Room. [12]

Recent years

Their album On Solid Ground was released in 2013. They appeared on Kid Frost's 2001 CD, Still Up in This Shit! , performing a new version of The Notations' "I'm Still Here".

Band member Isaac Avila died at age 49 of a brain hemorrhage on August 30, 2009. [13] Johnny "The Stick" Valenzuela died some time between 2010 and 2013. [14] Bassist Steve Falomir died due to a stroke on January 21, 2012 [15] in Los Angeles. Rudy Salas died from COVID-19 on December 29, 2020, at age 72. [16] Steve Salas died on February 10, 2022, at the age of 70 after a two-year battle myeloma and also contracting COVID-19 in the time leading up to his death. [17] [18]

In the aftermath of passing of Rudy Salas and later Steve Salas, the Salas family has been embroiled in a legal battle for their inheritance rights to the band's trademark. [19] Since the founders' deaths, the ownership of Tierra, the Tierra band, and its intellectual property rights have become the subject of litigation in the Los Angeles Superior Court (Case No. 21 STCV 25207). The lawsuit was initiated by the Salas family against Joanna Salas, Rudy's second wife at the time of his demise. [20]

Associated acts

Tierra Legacy, run by David Salas, son of Rudy Salas' and nephew of Steve Salas. Also includes Rudy and Steve's brother Richard. [21] [22] [23]

DW3 aka Down With Three, that consists of Billy Mondragon (former lead singer of Tierra), Damon Montelongo, and Eric Mondragon. [5] [24]

Band members

1973 Lineup [25]

1981 lineup [26]

Other Past Members [27]


YearTitlePeak chart positionsLabel
1973Tierra- 20th Century Records
1975Stranded- Salsoul Records
1980City Nights38 Boardwalk Records
1981Together Again-Boardwalk Records
1982Bad City Boys-Boardwalk Records
1989A New Beginning-Fiesta Records
1993Tonight- Thump Records
1995Street Corner Gold-Thump Records
2000Greatest Hits-Thump Records
2001Two Worlds - Dos Mundos-Thump Records
2005Welcome to Cafe East L.A.-Thump Records
2005The Rare Collection-I.T.P. Records
2007Greatest Love Songs-Thump Records
2008On the Right Track-M & M Records
2013On Solid Ground-M & M Records
2017Ya Llego-Music Access Inc.
2021Keep It Going-Thump Records

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bread (band)</span> American soft rock band

Bread was an American soft rock band from Los Angeles, California. They had 13 songs chart on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1970 and 1977.

Angel is an American rock band from Washington, D.C., formed in the mid-1970s by Punky Meadows, Mickey Jones, and Gregg Giuffria. They were primarily known for their flamboyant glam stage presence and white satin outfits.

<i>Cmon, Cmon</i> (album) 2002 studio album by Sheryl Crow

C'mon, C'mon is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow, released on April 8, 2002, in the United Kingdom and April 16, 2002 in the United States. Lead single "Soak Up the Sun" peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming one of her biggest hits since "All I Wanna Do". The album was arguably her most pop-influenced to date, a big departure from the folk and rock sound on her previous release, The Globe Sessions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Gap Band</span> American R&B and funk band (1967–2010)

The Gap Band was an American R&B and funk band that rose to fame during the 1970s and 1980s. The band consisted of three brothers: Charlie, Ronnie, and Robert Wilson, along with other members; it was named after streets in the historic Greenwood neighborhood in the brothers' hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

<i>Whats Love Got to Do with It</i> (album) 1993 soundtrack album / studio album by Tina Turner

What's Love Got to Do with It is the first soundtrack by American singer Tina Turner, released on June 15, 1993, by Parlophone. It served as the soundtrack album for the 1993 Tina Turner biographical film of the same name, which was released by Touchstone Pictures that same year. It mostly consists on re-recorded versions of her greatest hits during her period with the Ike and Tina Revue.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Grass Roots</span> American rock band

The Grass Roots are an American rock band that charted frequently between 1965 and 1975. The band was originally the creation of Lou Adler and songwriting duo P. F. Sloan and Steve Barri. In their career, they achieved two gold albums and two gold singles, and charted singles on the Billboard Hot 100 a total of 21 times. Among their charting singles, they achieved Top 10 three times, Top 20 six times and Top 40 14 times. They have sold over 20 million records worldwide.

El Chicano was an American brown-eyed soul group from Los Angeles, California, whose style incorporated various modern music genres including rock, funk, soul, blues, jazz, and salsa. The group's name was from Chicano, a term for United States citizens of typically Mexican descent.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">La Mafia</span> American musical group

La Mafia is a five-time Grammy Award-winning musical group. It has its roots in the Northside neighborhood of Houston, Texas, and has charted a course as a Latin music band.

<i>Beyond Appearances</i> 1985 studio album by Santana

Beyond Appearances is the fourteenth studio album by Santana, released in 1985.

<i>Greatest Hits</i> (Bob Seger album) 1994 greatest hits album by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

Greatest Hits is a compilation album by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, released in 1994. Certified Diamond by the RIAA, it is Seger's most successful album to date. In December 2009, Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan confirmed that with nearly nine million copies sold. Bob Seger's Greatest Hits was the decade's best-selling catalog album in the United States, even out-selling The Beatles' 1 and Michael Jackson's Number Ones. By September 2011, the album had sold a total of 9,062,000 copies in the United States.

<i>Chipmunks in Low Places</i> 1992 studio album by Alvin and the Chipmunks

Chipmunks in Low Places is a country album written by John Boylan and Andrew Gold and performed by Alvin and the Chipmunks. It features cover songs as well as original material. Released on September 29, 1992, the album was certified Platinum by the RIAA, becoming the group's first platinum record and making it the Chipmunks' best-selling album. The album reached number 21 on the Billboard 200, becoming their first album to chart in ten years. The album also managed to peak at No. 6 on Billboard's Top Country Albums, making it the highest peaking album for the group on the chart. In Canada, the album peaked at number 9, and was number 49 in the Top 50 Country albums of 1993.

<i>Jefferson Airplane</i> (album) 1989 studio album by Jefferson Airplane

Jefferson Airplane is the eighth and final studio album by San Francisco rock band Jefferson Airplane, released on Epic Records in 1989. Marty Balin, Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady all returned for the album and supporting tour, though Spencer Dryden did not participate. The album and accompanying tour would mark the last time Jefferson Airplane would perform together until their 1996 induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brown-eyed soul</span> Soul music genre

Brown-eyed soul, also referred to as Chicano soul, Hispanic soul, or Latino soul, is soul music & rhythm & blues (R&B) performed in the United States mainly by Hispanic Latinos and Chicanos in Southern California, East Los Angeles, and San Antonio (Texas) during the 1960s, continuing through to the early 1980s. The trend of Latinos started with Latino rock and roll and rock musicians. "Brown-eyed soul" contrasts with blue-eyed soul, soul music performed by non-Hispanic white artists.

Switch is an American R&B/funk band that recorded for the Gordy label in the late 1970s, releasing songs such as "There'll Never Be", "I Call Your Name", and "Love Over & Over Again". Switch influenced bands such as DeBarge, which featured the siblings of Switch band members Bobby and Tommy DeBarge.

<i>Slow Revival</i> 1994 studio album by Bryan Duncan

Slow Revival is the seventh album by contemporary Christian artist Bryan Duncan. Released on Myrrh Records in 1994, the album was nominated in the Best Contemporary Album category at the 26th GMA Dove Awards.

<i>An Evening with the Allman Brothers Band: 2nd Set</i> 1995 live album by The Allman Brothers Band

An Evening with the Allman Brothers Band: 2nd Set is a live album by the American rock group the Allman Brothers Band. It was recorded in 1992 and 1994, and released in 1995. The recording of "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards, but it lost to "Mariachi Suite" by Los Lobos. The recording of "Jessica" included on the album won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards in 1996.

<i>Working Girl</i> (Original Soundtrack Album) 1989 soundtrack album by Carly Simon

Working Girl (Original Soundtrack Album) is the soundtrack album to the 1988 Mike Nichols film Working Girl, released by Arista Records, on August 29, 1989.

Bobby Espinosa was an influential and important part of the Latin rock scene in Los Angeles from the late 1960s to the 2000s. He was a founding member of El Chicano.

Rudy Salas was a musician who was a member of the group El Chicano. He was also the co-founder of the L.A. Latin R&B band, Tierra. Along with his brother Steve, he was a major part of the Eastside sound from the mid 1960s.

<i>Good Times!</i> 2016 studio album by the Monkees

Good Times! is the twelfth studio album by American pop rock band the Monkees. Produced primarily by Adam Schlesinger, the album was recorded to commemorate the band's 50th anniversary. It is the first Monkees studio album since Justus (1996), marking the longest gap between releases to date, and the first since the death of Davy Jones. The album features surviving Monkees Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork, as well as a posthumous contribution from Jones.


  1. 1 2 3 Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 2494. ISBN   0-85112-939-0.
  2. 1 2 Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 580.
  3. "KRLA 1110 Los Angeles Survey 11/28/80". Las-solanas.com. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  4. Radio & Records (November 14, 1980). "Parallel One Playlists". Surveys for both K-EARTH and KRLA have "Together" at number one.
  5. 1 2 "Tierra's Rudy Salas Talks Music, Performing & More « 94.7 the WAVE". Archived from the original on November 27, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  6. Barrio Rhythm: Mexican American Music in Los Angeles Steven Loza 104 Part I: HistoryTierra
  7. Postnational Musical Identities: Cultural Production, Distribution, and Consumption in a Globalized Scenario Edited by Ignacio Corona and Alejandro L. Madrid Page 141 Assimilation, Reclamation, and Rejection
  8. "Tierra - Chart history | Billboard". Billboard . Archived from the original on December 12, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  9. The Los Angeles Times, Sunday November 8, 1981
  10. The Pantagraph, Saturday, November 21, 1981 - Page 45 Mexican-American bands struggle to make it
  11. "A New Beginning - Tierra | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic . Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  12. Los Angeles Times January 16, 2002 A Band (or Two) of Brothers - Augustin Gurza
  13. 1 2 "The Dead Rock Stars Club - 2009 July to December". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  14. ¡LatinoLA! April 25, 2013 Chicano Music Legend Rudy Salas of Tierra
    The lead guitarist and songwriter for East L.A.'s legacy band speaks up about his new music, his politics, and his family By Belinda Quesada, Contributing Writer
  15. "The Dead Rock Stars Club - 2012 January To June". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  16. Long, Trish (December 30, 2020). "Rudy Salas, Tierra band leader and cofounder, dies at 71 of Covid-19". El Paso Times .
  17. "Steve Salas, co-founder of the pioneering Eastside Chicano rock band Tierra, dies at 69". LA Times. February 16, 2022. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  18. "Obituary Steve Laurence Salas September 20, 1951 - February 10, 2022". Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  19. "Trademark Status & Document Retrieval". tsdr.uspto.gov. Retrieved November 19, 2023.
  20. "Trademark Issue – TIERRA" . Retrieved November 19, 2023.
  21. "Artist Tierra Legacy Is On Air!". BlogTalkRadio. February 18, 2023. Retrieved November 19, 2023.
  22. "Legendary Band, Tierra, Continues its Legacy with Tierra Legacy After The Loss of Their Founders". EIN Presswire. May 2, 2023. Retrieved November 19, 2023 via WesternSlopeNow.com.
  23. "HOME". Tierra Legacy. Retrieved November 19, 2023.
  24. The Electronic Urban Report July 23, 11 DW3 Reintroduces Latin Soul Music with their Hot New Release ‘On the Floor’
  25. Tierra - Tierra, 1973, retrieved November 19, 2023
  26. Tierra - Together Again, 1981, retrieved November 19, 2023
  27. "About us – TIERRA" . Retrieved November 19, 2023.
  28. Lowrider website January 1, 2010 Lifestyle / Entertainment, Tierra of East Los Angeles by Steve Gonzales and Mike Landers
  29. JazzTimes January / February 1998 Various Artists, Latin Legends Live By Marcela Breton
  30. Bisquera, Leon (2018). "Bio". Leonbisquera.com.