Background: At the end of the 50's, the boom of rock 'n' roll dominated over Latin American traditional music and was easily received by the youth in the Latin American countries."An important landmark was the version of the traditional song "La Bamba" that Ritchie Valens recorded, which became the first Spanish-Language hit in Rock music. In Latin America, rock 'n' roll music started to be known because of adaptations of American hits in Spanish-language songs made by mexicans bands. Although in the beginning rock was related with popular music, it would later become a part of the counterculture movement and would be used as a special form of political manifestation. In the United States in the 70's, Chicano rock created a fusion of rock, funk and R&B, whereas in the 80's the spirit of punk music would allow bands in Latin America to fuse with the salsa, ska and reggae. A new wave of rock bands acquired greater popularity than before and the industry started to call it 'Rock en español'"
In the 90's, diverse styles were interpreted by diverse bands throughout Latin America and Spain and were embraced by different urban sub-cultures. Also in this decade, many rock bands became part of the international crossover scene at the same time as they formed a particular identity in the Latin American culture.
"Latin rock" used to apply abroad to rock fused with afro-caribbean rhythms or other latin american genres, but "latin rock" is a term that applies to a very complex rock culture formed by bands of different styles and they have become part of a Contemporary tradition in Latin music. Another terms used in spanish are "rock hispanoamericano" (hispanic-american rock) or "rock iberoamericano" (ibero-american rock including Brazilian scene)
Latin Rock in the United States includes a variety of bands and sounds, creating a diverse and innovative music scene. In the earliest rock and roll styles of the late 1940s and early 1950s, the piano or saxophone was often the lead instrument, but the guitar replaced or supplemented these instruments in the middle to late 1950s. After World War II, many Chicano bandleaders and musicians like Don Tosti and Lalo Guerrero stepped onto the stage, forging a sound and culture that reflected their desire to be "American."
The Mexican American sound they created was characterized by a fusion of African American musical communities south of downtown, English language lyrics and Latin American musical traditions. The most famous pioneer of the genre is Ritchie Valens, the first Mexican-American music star and one of The Beatles' major influences. In the early 1960's, producer Eddie Davis dreamed of creating a Latino-flavored Motown on his Rampart Record label (Brown Eyed Soul), noting the unique Latino feel in the way these bands played R&B. This unique flavor can be seen in "Whittier Boulevard" by Thee Midniters, which influenced garage bands around the country and popularized the inexpensive farfisa organ.
The definitive Latin rock group was Santana, whose combination of bluesy electric guitar, Latin percussion and organ caught the imagination of national and international audiences, beginning with their break-out performance at the 1969 Woodstock festival. Santana had hits both with original compositions and with rock-flavored covers of Latin dance numbers, including Oye Como Va, first recorded by Tito Puente in 1963. The success of the band Santana in the late 1960s led numerous young musicians in California to experiment with combining elements of rock, blues, funk, soul, latin jazz and Afro-Caribbean rhythms. Chicano rock adopted the rhythm and blues-based style of African American music and utilized the electric guitar. It also melded influences from Latin American music and included themes of the Chicano culture of the southwest.
The vigorous R&B, rock and roll, punk scenes of L.A.'s Chicano Eastside helped shape American popular music, even as the constant infusion of immigrant laborers from Mexico and Central America continued to provide new musical ideas and identities. Since the 80's, bands like Los Lobos embraced American roots music, while infusing plenty of their own cultural perspective into the mix. Puerto Ricans and Caribbean Latinos also participated in the development of those styles and, by the mid-20th century, their population grew not only in numbers, but in the music industry. Boogaloo became the first response of Caribbean music that tuned with the sound of rock n' roll.
The Golden Age of Rock en Español in Latin America and the proliferation of Spanish-language media in the United States during the 80's and 90's facilitated communication between the artists in the US and artists across the border. Latin alternative music, a term used in recent years, has current demographics in its favor, as the Hispanic minority in the United States grows and extends beyond the established urban centers. This population shift brings the promise of a public that will increasingly embrace bilingual music as a reflection of their own experiences in the United States.
Criteria: The next list ranked the 10 most important song that made a contribution to Latin Rock and US Contemporary music but also become part of the music history of American music. After this, the songs are listed chronologically according to cultural and musical Impact at the time since Proto-Rock N Roll until Latin Alternative.