On Aug. 2, the highly anticipated Gigant3s tour kicks off in Miami, Florida. It’s the first of three shows at the city’s American Airlines Arena. Gigant3s features three of the biggest names in Latin music: Marc Anthony, Marco Antonio Solis, and Chayanne. Each has a different music style, but all care deeply about putting on the best live show possible. Their once-in-a-lifetime trek ends Sept. 14 when Marc Anthony and company perform at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada.
To celebrate their upcoming tour, Land of Punt looks at the history of Latin music. To whittle down a subject that’s well beyond the scope of a single blog entry we decided to create a partial timeline of the the biggest moments in Latin music history. Hopefully our truncated list will inspire you to learn more about the genre and the great people who contribute to it.
Feb. 3, 1959 – “The Day The Music Died”
On Feb. 3, 1959 a plane crash took the life of two of the most important figures in rock and roll history: Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. Valens is best known for his song “La Bamba.” It was a huge hit and sung entirely in Spanish. Valens was the first Latino to make it big as a rock star. A true musical pioneer, Valens was just 17 when he died.
1967 – Carlos Santana forms Santana
In 1967, after Santana’s first audition, a promoter told the band’s lead guitarist and namesake, Carlos Santana, that Latin fueled rock would never work and that he should keep his day job of washing dishes. Let’s see, since then Carlos Santana has established himself as one of the greatest guitarists of all-time, won 10 Grammy awards, and was enshrined into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Good thing he DID quit his day job.
1969 – Julio Iglesias Releases Yo Canto
Born in Madrid, Spain, Julio Iglesias is the best-selling Latin artist of all-time. Independent sources have him at 100 million in album sales, but his Web site boasts 300 million. His first album, Yo Canto, dropped in 1969 and since then he’s released nearly 80 more. Americans know him best for his duet with Willie Nelson, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before.”
1977 – Menudo Releases Their First Album
If nothing else, Menudo gave the world Ricky Marin. The Latin boy band also gave us dozens of mediocre albums and an opportunity for young girls to scream their hearts outs. Created by Edgardo Diaz, Menudo practically owned Latin pop in the 1980s. They were also known for their ever changing lineup of heart throbs. When someone got too old for the clothes and the choreography they were replaced.
1987 – Los Lobos Goes Number #1
“La Bamba” not only made Ritchie Valens a household name, it made Los Lobos one too. The band covered the song in 1987 for the soundtrack to the film La Bamba (a biopic about Valens) and it went all the way to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Building on the success of the single and the soundtrack, Los Lobos quickly became one of the most important and influential Latin rock bands of all-time.
March 31, 1995 – Selena Assassinated
Born in Texas, Selena rose to fame in the 1990s as the “Latin Madonna.” Widely regarded as the top Latin artists of that decade, Selena had seven number one hits to her name in a relatively short period of time. Tragically, she was murdered by the president of her fan club on March 31, 1995. A film was made about her life and released in 1997. Jennifer Lopez played Selena.
Aug. 15, 1995 – “Macarena is released”
It’s not the greatest song ever written but it’s one of the catchiest. You can probably count on one hand the number of people who haven’t heard the song. Los del Rio recorded and released “Macarena” for the first time in 1992. They followed it with several other versions. The “Bayside Boys Mix,” which featured English lyrics, went to number one in the U.S. in 1995 and stayed there for 14 weeks.
2000 – Jennifer Lopez’s Two Number Ones
In 2000, Jennifer Lopez had a number one album, J.Lo, at the same time her movie, The Wedding Planner, was number one at the box office. This made Lopez the first woman to ever have a number one album and number one movie in the same week. Without a doubt, Lopez is Latin music’s biggest star.
Sept. 13, 2000 – First Annual Latin Grammy Awards Ceremony
The event took place at Staples Center in Los Angeles and aired on CBS. It was the first primarily Spanish-language show to air during primetime on an English-language American television network. The Latin Grammys celebrate music from all over the world that’s recorded in Spanish or Portuguese. The awards are presented by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.
2012 – Gigant3s Tour
It not only inspired this list but it’s also one of the biggest events in Latin music history. Some of the most important shows on their itinerary include Anthony, Solis, and Chayanne in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Aug. 10; Anthony, Solis, and Chayanne in Rosemont, Illinois on Aug, 19; Anthony, Solis, and Chayanne in Anaheim, California on Aug. 24; and Anthony, Solis, and Chayanne in Dallas, Texas on Sept 2.