1. Los Llopis, “Estremécete”
From: Estremécete. Zafiro Z – E 105, 1960, 45 rpm.
Manuel Llopis “Ñolo”: guitar and voice; Francisco Llopis: steel guitar; Leandro Torres: saxo and piano; Manolo Vega: voice. Music: E. Presley and O. Blackwell.
Los Llopis were a Cuban band who translated international hits into Spanish. “Estremécete,” (Shake) was a cover of Elvis’ “All Shook Up” (1957). Their successful covers of Anglo-American songs were essential in spreading transnational styles in Spain.
2. José Guardiola y su Orquesta,
From: Mustapha. La Voz de su Amo, 7EPL 13.459, 1960, 45 rpm.
José Guardiola: voice. Music by Merle Travis.
José or Josep Guardiola released several covers of foreign hits, such as “Dieciseis toneladas” (Sixteen Tons, by Merle Travis) and “Venecia sin ti” (Venice Without You, by Charles Aznavour). He participated in several song contests, including Eurovision in 1963. Because of his voice and musical style, he is considered a Spanish crooner.
3. El Dúo Dinámico, “Quince años tiene mi amor”
From: Botón de Ancla. La Voz de su Amo, 7EPL 13.538, 1960, 45 rpm.
Manuel de la Calva: voice, guitar; Ramón Arcusa: voice, guitar.
The Dúo Dinámico is one of the most successful bands during the first half of the 1960s. They reached top positions in sales and popularity charts and had hundreds of thousands of fans. Their music was a blend of international trends (Anglo-American and European) with a slight Spanish touch.
4. Los Pekenikes, “Madrid”
From Madrid / Apache / Ramona / Jinetes en el Cielo. Hispavox HH 17-162, 1961, 45 rpm.
Eddie Guzmán: drums and voice; Ignacio Martín Sequeros: bass; Lucas Sáinz: guitar; Alfonso Sáinz: saxophone; Tony Luz: guitar.
Los Pekenikes, one of the first Madrid bands, gained early success with their covers of Anglo-American hits. They were the stars of the matinées in the Circo Price. “Madrid” is a famous chotis (popular song from Madrid) with rock arrangements.
5. Los Brincos, “Flamenco”
From: Los Brincos. Novola, NL 1001, 1964, 33⅓ rpm.
Created in 1964 with musicians coming from other bands, Los Brincos would soon come to be known as the “Spanish Beatles”. Musically they sounded pretty much like the “Fab Four” but they also brought a Spanish touch: “Flamenco”, for instance, begins with a typical flamenco guitar introduction but follows in a Mersey beat style sung in Spanish. They also brought Spanishness to their looks, wearing traditional tuno (student minstrel) capes and shoes with small bells. Los Brincos represented a stage of maturity in Spanish popular music, giving aesthetic priority to stylistic emulation and to originality over translations and covers, as well as making Spanishness explicit.
6. Los Mustang, “El submarino amarillo”
From: Submarino Amarillo / El Gran Flamingo / Verano en la Ciudad / El Ritmo del Silencio. La Voz de su Amo, EPL 14.296, 1966, 45 rpm.
Los Mustang, from Barcelona, represent the epitome of the cover style. After several recordings of less known versions of Anglo-American and European hits, in 1966 they released with La Voz de su Amo (Spanish HMV) an EP containing four disparate songs: “El submarino amarillo” (Yellow Submarine), “El gran flamingo” (Pretty Flamingo), “Verano en la ciudad” (Summer In The City) and “El ritmo del silencio” (The Sound Of Silence) obtaining immediate and massive success. Their versions were considered to be more popular than the originals.
7. Los Salvajes, “Soy así”
From: La Neurastenia. Regal SEDL 19.507, 1966, 45 rpm EP.
Gaby Alegret: voice; Andy González: guitar; Francisco Miralles: guitar; Sebastián Sospedra: bass; Delfín Fernández: drums. Music: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards; Lyrics: Los Salvajes.
Los Salvajes, a band created in 1962 in Barcelona, specialized in a garage sound and chose The Rolling Stones as reference, with high quality covers of “Satisfaction” and “19th Nervous Breakdown.” But they also recorded original songs, like “Soy así” (This Is The Way I Am”, 1966), which could well stand as a generational musical and cultural metonym: in a rock and roll style, sampling the main riff from “Satisfaction”, it conveys a new young autochthonous identity, forged upon transcultural influences: foreign looks (long hair, tight trousers, looking English) and music but sung in Spanish.
8. Los Bravos, “Black Is Black”
From: Los Bravos. Columbia ME 265, 1966, 45 rpm.
Mike Keneddy: voice; Antonio Martínez “Tony”: lead guitar; Manuel Fernández: Keyboards; Miguel Vicents: bass; Pablo Sanllehí: drums. Music and lyrics: M. Grainger, T. Hayes and S. Wadey.
Los Bravos was a well-designed musical product with members of previous bands, which for the first time managed to reverse the tendency and to export Spanish pop music abroad. They represent the total assimilation of Anglo-American styles, blending in the international musical currents, as if they were “really” foreign. With “Black Is Black” (1966), they reached number two in the UK and number four in the US. That success was considered a national achievement.
9. Conchita Velasco, “Chica Ye Ye”
From Chica Ye Ye / ¡Oh, John!. Belter 07.180, 1965, 45 rpm.
Conchita Velasco: voice. Music: A. Algueró; Lyrics: A. C. Guijarro.
Conchita Velasco was a very popular singer and actress in Spanish popular cinema during the 1960s. She incarnated the new model of feminine yé-yé, apparently modernized but paying quasi-total respect for traditional values.
10. Rafael, “Mi gran noche”
From: Digan lo que digan. La Voz de su Amo EPL 14.372, 1967, 45 rpm.
Rafael: voice. Music and lyrics: M. Alejandro.
Raphael was the iconic male Spanish star in the 1960s and 1970s. Coming from a working-class background, he managed to get into the star system and to mix with aristocratic milieus. Although his enormous success in popular audiences, both in Spain and elsewhere, he is still looked down by Spanish intelligentsia. He has lately become an icon for gay audiences.
11. Paco Ibáñez, “La mala reputación”
From: Paco Ibáñez canta a Brassens. Ariola 200708-I, 1979, 33⅓ rpm.
Paco Ibáñez: guitar and voice. Music: Georges Brassens; Lyrics: Pierre Pascal.
Paco Íbañez, one of the main figures of canción de autor, is a singer-songwriter who began his career in France, as a political exile. Heavily influenced by French chanson, as shown by “La mala reputación” from Georges Brassens’ “La mauvaise réputation”, he put music to famous Spanish and Latin-American poets, such as Miguel Hernandez, Rafael Alberti and Pablo Neruda