He had recorded about 700 songs. He was invited by three presidents, including former president, Carter, Bush, Sr. and Clinton, to the White House. His songs have remained in the hearts of every Chicano, for his songs have appeared in almost all of the Latin music genres yet to be known, including folk songs and children songs. He was born on the Christmas Eve of 1916 (Original Chicano Productions, 2007). HE was named as Eduardo Guerrero Jr.
Early in his career, as most Mexican have experienced in his time, he and his music was rejected by his fellow Mexican and was labeled as “pocho”. His career started on 1939 as a member of the group Los Carlistas that was under the production of Vocalion Records. This man was born in Tucson Arizona and has not even finished High School. Through his perseverance and his faith to his music he is now the well-known “father of Chicano Music”, Mr. Lalo Guerrero.
Born in a family who has just got enough income, Lalo has pushed his way to being the musician, writer, composer and performer that he is through hardship. He performed on movies such as His Kind of Woman and Boots and Saddles. Later on he has toured throughout the Southwest with his orchestra which played and performed at Los Angeles.
Lalo Guerrero’s Legacy
When his single, “Pancho Lopez”, became a national hit, he purchased his own club and has his orchestra perform there every night. For about 60 years, Lalo Guerrero has captured the hearts and mind of the Chicanos with his heart warming music and his captivating performances. He continually performs for 60 years in the United States of America, Mexico and even to France.
At the age of 80 he still manages to sing and record songs, as a matter of fact, his last album, which is “Chavez Ravine” was actually recorded when he was already 86. It is quite amazing that at such golden age the father of Chicano music had greatly helped advance the Chicano music to a new level of audience.
According to Lalo Guerrero himself in an interview made by John Rogers Associated Press on December of 2005, “the bilingual parody hit, ‘Pancho Lopez’ have started his success”. It was actually drafted from the famous novelty song, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett”, which was used in the 1955 Walt Disney production, Lalo Guerrero using its melody have invented a parody that stars a Mexican character that originated from the small state Chihuahua (John Rogers Associated Press, 2004).
It was rewritten in English to captivate an ever more large audience which have loved and cherished Lalo Guerrero’s other hit parodies, such as, the ever famous “Pancho Claus” along with “Tacos for Two”, “There’s No Tortillas” and “Elvis Perez”, to name a few.
Luis Valdez has acclaimed his movie entitled “Zoot Suit” to LAlo Guerrero’s Pachuco hit “Marijuana Boogie”. He was considered as the father of Chicano Music, not only because of his contribution to Chicano Music itself but also since “he has done the music way before it was even considered as a genre” (John Rogers Associated Press, 2004).
His concept revolves on merging the traditional Mexican music with the genre’s that were in the mainstream. His dream and his passion are to perform in a large crowd and make people happy thru the means of his music. He has brought the Chicano Music the recognition that it needs, through his efforts to make the Chicano music known and enjoyable.
The Achievements and What He has Become
Late in his life he has received several medals and recognitions, including the National Medal of the Arts that was given to him by President Bill Clinton himself. Lalo Guerrero was a face of a happy man, a man who has completed his life (Guerrero, 2007).
In Aristotle’s word, he was a man who has lived a good life. He has achieved greatness and he was satisfied with whatever it is that he has accomplished. He himself remark that he have lived a “great life” and he is proud of living the life he had the way he did.
LAlo Guerrero, again in an interviewed made by John Rogers Associated Press, states that “everything that has happened in his singing career was never planned”. He further clarifies that at first he has been writing songs just about anything and everything that pops to his mind. The musicians and performers that have influenced his music, includes, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Chuck Berry (John Rogers Associated Press, 2004).
He himself has influence a lot of other singers and performers. Comedian Cheech Marin admired him for the way that Lalo Guerrero have combine “street-humor and music”, she regarded his works as a “Chicano Art”. Other musicians which recognized his influence are Linda Ronstadt and Culture Clash (John Rogers Associated Press, 2004).
Lalo Guerrero’s Memory
Lalo Guerrero died on March 17, 2005, peacefully, contented and fulfilled. He has lived eighty eight golden years sixty years of which was dedicated to music and performance. He was one of the great artists who not only became great singers but has also become great achievers. He did not only create songs but have created a new music. It is a music that is considered distinctly as Chicano music, a music that stays in the hearts of those who have lived to hear them. It is the music that would repeatedly remind the different generations of Lalo Guerrero.
When our generation and the generation that would come after ours talks about Chicano Music or even just mention the term, Lalo Guerrero would come to mind. He has become the trade mark of Chicano music and even of the Chicano’s itself. Lalo, have dedicated his life to the enrichment and proliferation of Chicano music.
Guerrero, M. (2007). Lalo Guerrero: The Father of Chicano Music. http://markguerrero.net/8.php
John Rogers Associated Press. (December 25, 2004). Father Of Chicano Music Still Rocks. Desert News. Find Articles. Com. Retrieved on October 27, 2007. Retrieved from the World Wide Web: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4188/is_20041225/ai_n11495118.
Original Chicano Productions. (2007). Lalo Guerrero: The Original Chicano. Retrieved on October 27, 2007. Retrieved from the World Wide Web
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