A big part of Latin Rock is associated with Argentina. The development in styles, iconic bands and the core of this genre is located west of Rio de la Plata. This is not a historical narrative about what happened but a song selection so you can get introduced to Latin Rock. Today it will all be about the fundamentals, we will go to the beginning: Luis Alberto Spinetta & Charly García.
Warning: There are more songs, a lot more. All of them very good. This is not enough.
It is important to tell you that this is a personal selection of songs and it has nothing to do with quality (Of course I won’t recommend bad songs, hopefully) or renounced media/specialist rankings. In this particular post I will use the songs I know so if you think some songs are missing (because there will be) feel free to post them on the comments.
If marked with (S) it is Spinetta’s, if with a (CH) it is Charly’s.
Socrates & Plato – Spinetta & Charly Garcia
Cementerio Club – Pescado Rabioso (S)
This song’s guitar riff alone can make you feel whatever Spinetta wants you to. This is a song in which you can find the same origins you do Anglo Rock, the sweet southern black blues combined with a jazzy accompaniment and a strong guitar lead. If you do care about lyrics this masterpiece won’t disappoint because it is a reflection about death and the feeling after having lost a key member of your life. With just two verses this will immerse you into the deep reflection of sadness and pain. My personal experience with this song has their origin in Soda Stereo’s unplugged album in which they include the guitar riff on their song Té para tres. As a guitar player myself and music lover I recognize this riff as one of the best in Latin Rock history.
Canción Para Mi Muerte – Sui Generis (CH)
If Spinetta was the original guitar legend, Charly Garcia is the original piano myth. This is a song with an iconic (and classic) Charly Garcia context, he thought he was about to die because of an amphetamines overdose. Musically this song is everything you can find on Charly’s best sellers, the leading piano melody getting complement by a beautiful guitar riff on the back, nice lyrics, his grasp voice and a lightly distortioned guitar solo. This is a song that will introduce you not only to the Latin Rock genre, but with Charly Garcia as a person too. He is known because of his craziness reflected in every aspect of his life, from the bicolor mustache to the live shows anecdotes everything about Charly Garcia is just pure rock.
Tema de Pototo (Para saber cómo es la soledad) – Almendra (S)
Have you ever asked how to describe loneliness? Spinetta answers you in one of his best songs ever written. With his first band “Almendra”, “El Flaco” achieved to honor his admiration to The Beatles. With a clear influence of the English band’s eight album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” he describes what loneliness is and tells us how he felt after losing a friend. Musically this is an example of Anglo Rock influences on Latin Rock as you can hear the keyboard influence, George Harrison rock style and constant tempo switch along the song. If you want to start safe and hear a song you can relate on, then you can listen to this Spinetta’s song to get started.
Demoliendo Hoteles – Charly Garcia
During his solo career Charly has written a lot of reflective music, this is not one of them. If you are looking to express yourself and rock yourself out with an almost punk nonsense then this is the song you are looking for. With fast pace drums to start and a rage vocal style on the lyrics, this song gets you jumping in no time. He expresses what he feels about Argentina’s oppression under Videla’s dictatorship and what he did about it. How did he free himself of the oppression lived in his home country? Destroying hotel rooms, living the life of a rock star, jumping from a 9th floor to a pool (you can find it on YouTube), breaking instruments live and having multiple conflicts with fellow musicians. He concentrates every aspect of the rock star life’s madness and records it on this song.
No llores por mí Argentina – Serú Girán (CH)
This is not Evita’s soundtrack or a parody of it. This is a composition that will define a certain style for the future of Latin Rock. This is certainly a revolutionary song in every corner. The song is recorded live and live only, of course after some studio edition this is the track and it works nicely because it gives the sensation of a massive crowd behind the idea it carries. At the same time the style is more of a new wave genre. The fast pace rhythm with Charly’s vocals fill every moment with anger and frustration, the guitar in the behind and the whole band are always trying to run from something. Lyrics about how the situation was in the country during the dictatorship melt perfectly with this national anthem and you can hear it and enjoy it.
Rezo por vos – Spinetta/García
Have you ever wished The Beatles and The Rolling Stones played together? It has happened sometimes Elton John & George Michael, Queen & David Bowie or Michael Jackson & Eddie Van Halen are some examples of it happening. In Latin Rock we have our own version of it in Rezo Por Vos, the only product of both Spinetta and Charly working together. You can feel a relief style on the track with a let-go musical composition as a mirror of Argentina recovering democracy the year before. This song is pure genius, perfect fit in every aspect and magic everywhere. The disappointment of Spinetta/Garcia not ending in a full album was real, but sometimes one song only is just enough.
Check out more Latin Rock songs on my series! Find it here.