The Most Influential Latin Rock Bands Of All Time | National Hispanic Heritage Month

Latin Rock 1 Landscape

Did you know that each year National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th to October 15th?

In celebration of Latin heritage, we’ve put together our list of some of the most influential Latin rock bands that you may not know, but who are definitely worth checking out!

Soda Stereo

Soda Stereo Landscape

Country: Argentina

Soda Stereo is an alternative rock, post-punk, new wave and experimental rock band from Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1982, the band was formed by Gustavo Cerati (lead vocals and guitar), Zeta Bosio (bass and vocals) and Charly Alberti (percussion.)

Soda Stereo - De Musica Ligera (the last concert)

The band is considered a cult for the Spanish rock era of the 80s and 90s and Gustavo Cerati soon became one of the biggest Spanish rock idols of all time. The band even created English versions of some of their most famous songs.

The night of May 15, 2010, after the concert at the Simón Bolívar University auditorium, Gustavo suffered from cerebral ischemia and was hospitalized at the La Trinidad Teaching Medical Center, he suffered a stroke that left him in a coma for four years until his death.

Their most popular songs: “De Música Ligera,” “En La Ciudad De La Furia,” “Persiana Americana,” “Trátame Suavemente,” “Té Para Tres.”

Los Fabulosos Cadillacs

Cadillacs Landscape

Country: Argentina

The Argentinian band has been influenced by other bands like The Specials, Madness and The Clash. The band was originally founded by Mario Siperman, Aníbal Rigozzi, and Vicentico and Flavio Cianciarulo. They soon developed their own style and created a wonderful fusion of rap, reggae, salsa, cumbia, tango, jazz and ska.

Los Fabulosos Cadillacs - Siguiendo La Luna

Several of their albums have been included on lists of the best Latin American rock albums, such as Rolling Stone Argentina, and have received nominations and awards from MTV Latin America and Gardel Awards.

Their most popular songs: “Matador,” ”Mal Bicho,” “Vasos Vacíos,” “Siguiendo La Luna,” “Cadillacs.”

Enanitos Verdes

Enanitos Verdes portrait

Country: Argentina

Formed in the city of Mendoza, Argentina in November 1979, the trio was joined by Marciano Cantero on vocals and bass, Felipe Staiti on guitar and Daniel Piccolo on drums. The name “Enanitos Verdes” (green dwarfs) was inspired by the notorious story of a family who took photos on a trip to “Cristo Redentor de los Andes,” near a sculpture made by the Mateo Alonso that was erected in the Uspallata, Argentina pass. When they revealed the photos of the family, the mother noticed a “curious reddish spot” located next to the family. The figure in the photo resembled the cone-shaped head of a dwarf and it seemed to raise its left arm in a gesture of greeting, which resulted in the inspiration for the band's name.

Hombres G, Enanitos Verdes - Luz de Día

Their most popular songs: “Lamento Boliviano,” “Luz de Día,” “Tu Carcel,” “La Muralla Verde,” “Devuélveme A Mi Chica.”


Santana band Landscape

Photo: Maryanne Bilham

Country: United States

One of the first great stars in the history of modern music, who knew how to successfully fuse jazz, rock, psychedelia and blues with rhythms of Latin origin, was Carlos Santana. In 1966, he formed the band, Santana Blues Band, with singer and keyboardist Gregg Rolie. The duo was later joined by bassist David Brown, drummer Bob Livingstone, and percussionist Marcus Malone.

Oye Como Va ft. Carlos Santana & Cindy Blackman Santana | Playing For Change

Read also: 13 Santana Songs You Must Have On Your Playlist

Their most popular songs: “Smooth,” “Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen,” “Why Don’t You & I,” “Oye Como Va,” “Europa,” “Samba Pa Ti.”

Los Lobos

Los Lobos Landscape

Country: United States

Los Lobos is a Chicano rock band formed in 1973 by guitarist/accordionist David Hidalgo and percussionist Louie Perez. The band is one of the most venerated since the mid-'80s, with their first hit in 1987 of a cover of Richie Valens' “La Bamba.”

La Bamba | Song Around The World

Did you know? This song was used for the soundtrack of the 1987 movie La Bamba, a biography about Ritchie Valens, the pioneer of Chicano rock.

Their most popular songs: “La Bamba,” ”Canción Del Mariachi,” ”We Belong Together,” “Come On Let’s Go,” “Donna.”

La Maldita Vecindad y los Hijos del Quinto Patio

LMV Marvin com Landscape

Photo: Marvin.com

Country: Mexico

Formed in Mexico City in 1985, the Mexican group fuses rhythms such as rock, ska, reggae, punk, and traditional Mexican music with a mix of danzón and bolero. The band was formed by Rolando Ortega on vocals, Eulalio Cervantes on saxophone and wind instruments, Aldo Acuña on bass, Arturo Reyes on guitar, Adrián Navarro on percussion and José Luis Paredes on drums.

La Maldita Vecindad - Kumbala

The name of “La Maldita Vecindad” comes from an actual neighborhood where one of the group members used to live and the name “Los Hijos del Quinto Patio” (the sons of the fifth yard) was inspired by a song by Emilio Tuero named “Quinto Patio” (the fifth yard). The song talks about a poor lover who sings "because he lives in the fifth patio and suffers from love."

Their most popular songs: “Kumbala,” ”Pachuco,” ”Solin,” ”Dos Palabras,” “Un Gran Circo.”

Andrés Calamaro

Andrés Calamaro Portrait

Country: Argentina

Andrés Calamaro is an icon of Argentinean rock, Latin Grammy Award winner and former member of the band Los Rodríguez, who was a major success in Spain in the 1990’s. This singer, composer and guitarist has sold over 1 million albums over his career. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Andrés was just 17 years old when he first made a name for himself in the world of Latin rock.

Andrés Calamaro - Flaca

Did you know? We met Andrés in Buenos Aires, hometown of PFC producer Enzo Buono and recorded him on our Song Around The World version of “La Bamba.”

His most popular songs: “Mil Horas,” “Flaca,” “Sin Documentos,” “Cuando No Estás,” “Tuyo Siempre.”


Reyli Ofwebsite portrait

Country: Mexico

Coming from Mexico City, the alternative pop/rock band was formed by "Iguana" (drums), Javier Ortega (vocals), Rafa (electric guitar and harmonica) and "G. Tracks" (bass), and also had the participation of vocalists Reyli Barba and Jorge Guevara.

Elefante - Durmiendo Con la Luna

Their most popular songs: “De La Noche A La Mañana,” “Así Es La Vida,” “Angel,” “De La Noche A La Mañana” and “Sabor A Chocolate.”


Bacilos eluniverso portrait

Photo: ElUniverso.com

Country: Puerto Rico, Colombia and Brazil

Formed in Miami, Florida in 1995, with Jorge Villamizar (Colombia), José Javier Freire (Puerto Rico) and André Lópes (Brazil), Bacilos, is one of the most recognized and successful Spanish-speaking musical groups in the Americas and Europe, and known for their single “Caraluna” (2002) and winning the Grammy for "Best Latin Pop Album."

Bacilos - Caraluna

Their most popular songs: “Caraluna,” “Mi Primer Millón,” “Tabaco Y Chanel,” “Pasos De Gigante,” “Perderme Contigo.”

La Ley

La Ley Eluniverso Landscape

Photo: ElUniverso.com

Country: Chile

When guitarist Andrés Bobe and keyboardist Rodrigo Aboitíz decided to join forces, they created the rock/pop band La Ley in 1987. In the beginning they were accompanied by the Spanish vocalist Shia Arbulú, but after her departure, Luciano Rojas joined the group on bass, Mauricio Clavería on drums and Alberto Beto Cuevas on vocals, to finally form the band.

El Duelo - La Ley

Their most popular songs: “El Duelo,” “Mentira,” “Fuera De Mi,” “Vi,” “Aquí,” “Dia Cero.”


Jaguares portrait

Country: Mexico

Jaguares (Jaguars) is a Mexican rock group that emerged as a result of the band Caifanes breaking up in 1995. The original band members were José Manuel Aguilera on guitar, Federico Fong on bass and his previous partner Alfonso André on drums and backing vocals, however, their members would change with almost every album release since the formation of Jaguares.

Te Lo Pido Por Favor - Jaguares

Jaguares gives birth to the music of the present, with roots in the past; music that when performed live, goes far beyond a concert. It's a communal ritual among thousands and thousands of strangers who sing hoping to share their memories.

Their most popular songs: “Te Lo Pido Por Favor,” “Detrás De Los Cerros,” “Fin,” “Como Tú” and “No Dejes Qué.”

Café Tacvba

Cafe Tacvba Landscape

Country: Mexico

Café Tacvba is an alternative rock/pop band formed by Emanuel Del Real (keyboards and production), Joselo Rangel (guitar), Enrique Rangel (bass) and Rubén Albarrán (voice), in 1989, and is known as one of the most important alternative rock bands in all Latin America.

Café Tacvba - Quiero Ver

The name of “Cafe Tacvba” was an actual location in Mexico City, however, the musicians decided to change the spelling of the original name, opting for a “v” instead of a “u” in “Tacvba” to avoid legal problems.

Their most popular songs: “Eres,” ”La Ingrata,” “Quiero Ver,” “Chilanga Banda,” “El Baile Y El Salón,” “Aprovéchate.”

El Gran Silencio

EGS María Madrigal Landscape

Photo: María Madrigal

Country: Mexico

The original name of the band was “Zona del Silencio” (Silence Zone), which is the name of an actual location in Durango, Mexico, where the communications are cut off by radioactive elements on the ground.

The band was formed in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon and is considered one of the most eclectic bands on the Mexican scene, thanks to its fusion of musical genres which includes ska, rock, reggae, dancehall, rap and hip-hop with traditional Latin American music such as cumbia, vallenato and norteño.

El Gran Silencio - Dormir Soñando

Their most popular songs: “Círculo del Amor,” “Chuntaros Style,” “Dormir Soñando,” “Déjenme Si Estoy Llorando,” “Cumbia Lunera.”


Zoe eluniverso Landscape

Photo: ElUniverso.com

Country: Mexico

The idea of forming the Mexican band Zoé came from the mind of vocalist León Larregui, who wanted to create an underground experimental band and began sharing their videos via the internet and through live concerts. The band was formed in 1995 and officially debuted in 1997 with León Larregui as the lead vocalist, Sergio Acosta on guitar, Jesús Báez on keyboards, Ángel Mosqueda on bass and Rodrigo Guardiola on drums.

Zoé - Labios Rotos

After a couple of successful albums including Rocanlover, (produced by Phil Vinall who has previously worked with bands like Placebo and Elástica) the band is still working on new music and is preparing for a Winter 2022 tour, promoting their most recent material: Sonidos de Karmática Resonancia.

Their most popular songs: “Labios Rotos,” “Soné,” “Luna,” “Arrullo de Estrellas.” “Azul,” “Love,” ”Nada.”


Caifanes Landscape

Country: Mexico

Their debut was on April 11,1987. Caifanes was originally formed by Saúl Hernández as vocalist and guitarist, Sabo Romo on bass and Diego Herrera on keyboards and saxophone. Alfonso André later joined the band on drums and percussion from their third live performance.

Caifanes - No Dejes Que

The term Caifanes is a mixture between Spanish and English and was previously used on the border of Mexico and the United States. The word “Caifán” is the combination of two words: it comes from the English word “fine” (which means “bien” in Spanish), and the Spanish word “caer” (which is a modern phrase used in Latin America to express how we feel about someone). The conjugation of these two words forms the word “Caifán.”

Their most popular songs: “La Célula que Explota,” “Viento,” “Afuera,” “La Negra Tomasa,” “Aquí No Es Así,” “No Dejes Qué.”


Maná Clarín Landscape

Photo: Clarín

Country: Mexico

The Mexican group Maná was originally named “Sombrero Verde” (The Green Hat). In their beginnings, the group formed by Fher Olvera (lead vocalist), Gustavo Orozco (electric guitar), and the Calleros brothers,— Juan (bass), Ulises (electric guitar) and Abraham (drums)—used to play in bars of Guadalajara in 1980.

It wasn’t until 1986, they decided to form Maná, and in 1987 they released their debut self-titled album. Two years later they released their second album, Falta Amor (Lack of love), which produced the hit single, "Rayando el Sol," that catapulted the band’s international success.

Read full bio here: https://www.mana.com.mx/biografia

Maná - Clavado En Un Bar

Throughout their career, Maná has been honored with multiple awards, nominations and recognitions, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2016, becoming the first Mexican rock group to obtain this accolade.

Their most popular songs: “Mariposa Traicionera,” “Labios Compartidos,” “Rayando el Sol,” “Oye Mi Amor,” “En El Muelle de San Blas,” “Clavado en un Bar.”

Did you know? Maná actually performed in concert with Coldplay in Guadalajara, Mexico, as well as had collaborations with Santana!

Maná ft. Coldplay - Rayando El Sol

Santana - Corazon Espinado ft. Maná

Have you listened to our version of “Oye Como Va” featuring Carlos Santana & Cindy Blackman Santana? If not, take a look here!

Los Tres

Los Tres Landscape

Country: Chile

Los Tres is a Chilean group with folklore roots, jazz and rockabilly. The group was formed by Álvaro Henríquez, Ángel Parra and Roberto Lindl. The trio quickly became very popular at universities, bars, and peñas around Concepción, Chile, which gave them the boost to move to the capital city of Santiago in 1985 and change their name to Los Tres.

Los Tres - Dejate Caer

In April 2008, the Chilean edition of Rolling Stone magazine ranked their self-titled album, Los Trés, 20th of the best Chilean albums of all time.

Their most popular songs: “Un Amor Violento,” “La Torre de Babel,” “Primera Vez,” ”La Espada y la Pared,” “Déjate Caer.”

Los Prisioneros

Los Prisioneros Landscape

Country: Chile

Jorge González (vocals and bass), Claudio Narea (guitar) and Miguel Tapia (drums) formed different groups at the beginning, playing with home-crafted instruments and experimenting with rap. It wasn’t until 1983, they debuted as Los Prisioneros at the Liceo Miguel León Prado, an institute in Chile.

Despite the political strength in the lyrics of Los Prisioneros, the group was labeled “suspicious” and “dangerous” because they challenged the status quo and opposed the Chilean dictatorship in 1979, however, after their album Pateando Piedras in 1986, songs like "Quieren dinero" (They Want Money), "Por qué los ricos" (Why The Rich People) and "Muevan las Industrias" (Move The Industry), contained accurate social criticism at the time and represented the voice of the youth of those years.

Read full bio here: https://www.last.fm/es/music/Los+Prisioneros/+wiki

Los Prisioneros - Tren Al Sur

Los Prisioneros is considered the most influential Chilean rock group. The austerity of their rock music and lyrics full of sharp social observation were the soundtrack of the Chilean youth in the midst of Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship.

Their most popular songs: “Tren Al Sur,” “Paramar,” “Estrechez de Corazón,” “El Baile de los que Sobran,” “Por Qué No Se Van.”


Aterciopelados Landscape

Country: Colombia

The group was formed in 1993 by Héctor Buitrago and Andrea Echeverri, and the same year they released their debut album Con el Corazón En la Mano, which led them to becoming the most popular rock group in Colombia.

Aterciopelados - Bolero Falaz

The band has been nominated for numerous awards including the Latin Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album.

Their most popular songs: “Bolero Falaz,” “Baracunatana,” “Florecita Rockera,” “Maligno,” “Rompecabezas.”

Did you know any of these bands? Which rock bands would you like to hear about next?
Let us know in the comment section below!

David Hidalgo Portrait

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