Prog, Psych and Beyond from Spain, Argentina & Mexico (1970-79)

FrontTo celebrate the 200th post from Spanish Pop Lyrics, here is this blog’s second compilation, a sequel to the first which covered the years 1964-69.

All the songs are originals sung in Spanish. Mostly I would file them under progressive rock or psychedelia, but I have also thrown in a couple of blasts of blues rock and a few of the more progressive singer-songwriters from the period. It is split fairly evenly between bands from Spain and Argentina, but two groups from Mexico also make an appearance. Download

Almost all the songs have been featured on this blog (the couple which haven’t will appear in the near future). Anyway, you know where to look for the lyrics…




Part 17: Coda – Return to Luis Alberto Spinetta

This series about the history of rock in Argentina has ended up being rather longer than I originally anticipated. However, it’s time to end the trip and to round things off I have chosen another great song by Invisible from ‘El Jardín de los Presentes’.
This is superb melodic prog, made exceptional by the subtle use of bandoneón (the accordion used in tango music).

The Plaza de Mayo is one of the main town squares in Buenos Aires. The site has strong associations with political protest, though the writer Luis Alberto Spinetta always denied that this was a protest song. However, it was written against a backdrop of political violence which forced Spintetta into exile in the USA… but like the swallows he returned.

Related Post: Capitán Beto


Las golondrinas de Plaza de Mayo
Observan la gente,
Desde el mismo árbol,
Y al llegar el verano,
La ciudad se cubre de flores,
Vienen y van...

Vuelan y vuelan las golondrinas
Las golondrinas de Plaza de Mayo

Se van en invierno,
Vuelven en verano 
Las golondrinas de Plaza de Mayo
Y si las observas,
comprenderás que 
solo vuelan en libertad

'Bienvenidos al Jardín de los Presentes...'

The swallows in the town square
Watching the people 
From the same tree 
And when summer arrives
The city becomes covered with flowers
They come and they go ... 

The swallows fly and fly
The swallows in the town square

They leave in winter 
They come back in summer 
The swallows in the town square
And if you see them 
You will understand 
That they are just flying free

'Welcome to the garden of the present...'


Part 16: The Story of Miguel Abuelo and Nothing

Miguel Abuelo (born Miguel Angel Peralta) was one of the most eccentric and charismatic characters in Argentinian rock. Originally he was the singer with Los Abuelos de la Nada, who released the great pychedelic single ‘Diana Divaga’ (previously featured on this blog) in 1968. Abuelo left the group when their new guitarist Pappo started to take them into a more blues based direction.

By the early seventies the singer had moved to France where he formed a new group called Hijos de Nada, including guitarist Daniel Sbarra. A French producer gave them studio time and they recorded an LP of dramatic progressive rock in 1974. It was eventually released a few years later (in France only) credited to Miguel Abuelo & Nada. The French demand for prog-rock sung in Spanish must have been limited, and it made minimal impact. ‘El Muelle’ is an atmospheric track, which creates the atmosphere of the mysterious dock in an almost cinematic way.

By the early eighties Abuelo and Sbarra were both back in Argentina. Sbarra became guitarist with the new wave band Virus. Abuelo also embraced new wave, reviving the name Los Abuelos de la Nada with new musicians. They included Andrés Calamaro, who was almost young enough to be his son. With this group Miguel Abuelo at last achieved commercial success, but he died of AIDS in 1987 aged 42. He is the subject of the documentary “Buen Día, Día” (see below), which does a good job of capturing some of his spirit.

Related Post: Diana Divaga


El muelle esta desierto 
Y los marineros
Se fueron a descansar.

El mar donó los espejos
Y una mujer 
Se mira los pies.

Un viejo barco se aleja
Para no volver
El viejo barco parece
Barco de papel

Yo me he quedado aquí solo
Mirándome ser.
Yo me he quedado aquí solo
Mirándome ser.

El muelle esta desierto
y un hombre viene.
Se acerca a mi.
"Toda lo que hay en mi mano
Pero no mires 
mi forma externa".

The dock is deserted
and the sailors
have gone away to rest

The sea offered its mirrors
and a woman
looks at her feet

An old ship departs
never to return
The old ship looks like
a paper ship

I have remained here alone
Looking into myself
I have remained here alone
Looking into myself

The dock is deserted
and a man comes
He approaches me
"Everything is in my hands
but do not look at
my external form"


Part 15: Mercedes Sosa and Nueva Canción

Following on from the previous post, we really should take a closer look at Mercedes Sosa, one of the most internationally celebrated singers to emerge from Argentina. She was one of the key figures in the ‘Nueva Canción’ movement which developed in the 1960s across Latin America. This was a folk protest movement that reflected the troubled political situation of the times. Sosa championed many of these singer-songwriters, not just fellow Argentinians, but also artists from other countries, not least Chile (Victor Jara, Violeta Parra). In the early eighties she expanded her repertoire to include songs by rock artists including León Gieco and Charly García. These songwriters have all featured previously on this blog (click their names below to see their entries).

Sosa often closed her shows with this anthemic call to arms, written by Armando Tejada Gómez and César Isella. Performing such outspoken material was dangerous, particulary during the 1970s, and she was arrested on stage in 1978, along with the entire audience. Sosa went into exile, but she made a triumphant return to Argentina in 1982. Just a few months later the military regime collapsed. Her homecoming concert is the focus of the documentary ‘Como un Pájaro Libre’ (see below).


Salgo a caminar
por la cintura cósmica del sur
piso en la región 
mas vegetal del viento y de la luz
siento al caminar 
toda la piel de América en mi piel
y anda en mi sangre un rio 
que libera en mi voz, su caudal

Sol de Alto Perú, 
rostro Bolivia, estaño y soledad
un verde Brasil, 
besa a mi Chile, cobre y mineral
subo desde el sur 
Hacia la entraña América y total
Pura raíz de un grito destinado a
crecer y a estallar.

Todas las voces, todas
Todas las manos, todas
Toda la sangre puede 
ser canción en el viento
Canta conmigo, canta
Hermano americano,
Libera tu esperanza 
con un grito en la voz...

I go for a walk 
through the cosmic central band of the south
I tread along the region 
most fertile, of wind and of light
And as I walk I feel 
all the skin of the Americas against my skin
And a river runs through my blood
that frees my voice, (finding) its level

The sun in Peru at its height
The Bolivian landscape, tin and solitude
A green Brazil 
kisses my Chile, copper and ore
I climb up from the South 
towards the heart of America
The pure root of a cry destined to 
grow and explode

All the voices, all of them
All the hands, all of them
All the blood can 
be a song in the wind
Sing with me, sing
American brother
Set free your hope 
with a cry in your voice

Em - B7/D# - Ddim - A/C#
Am/C - Em
F#m-5 - B7
1st time: Em9... (and repeat)
2nd time: E - F - G (flamenco riff)

Chorus / Estribillo:
E - C - E - C
G - Bm - C 
1st time: Edim - B7
2nd time: B7


Part 14: A Great Female Singer Looks Back

Fabiana Cantilo first emerged as one of the singers on the first album by Los Twist in the early eighties, but she soon left to start a successful solo career. She is now considered one of the great female rock singers in Argentina. Her albums ‘Inconsciente Colectivo’ (2005) and ‘En la Vereda del Sol’ (2009) are both collections of covers of some of the best Argentine rock songs from the 1960s up to the present day.

Here is her version of ‘Inconsciente Colectivo’ (confusingly enough included on ‘En la Vereda del Sol’). It was originally released on Charly García’s first proper solo LP ‘Yendo de la Cama al Living’ (1982). The song started to receive more attention when it was covered by the iconic singer Mercedes Sosa (hear her live version below).


Nace una flor, 
todos los días sale el sol, 
de vez en cuando escuchas aquella voz 
Cómo de pan, gustosa de cantar, 
En los aleros de mi mente 
con las chicharras. 

Pero a la vez existe un transformador 
Que te consume lo mejor que tenés 
Te tira atrás, te pide más y más 
Y llega un punto 
en que no querés. 

Mamá la libertad, siempre la llevarás 
Dentro del corazón 
Te pueden corromper, te puedes olvidar 
Pero ella siempre está 

Ayer soñé con los hambrientos, 
Los locos, los que se fueron, 
Los que están en prisión 
Hoy desperté cantando esta canción 
Que ya fue escrita hace tiempo atrás. 
Es necesario cantar de nuevo, 
Una vez más.

A flower is born
The sun comes out every day
Sometimes you hear that voice
Like bread that smells so fresh (?)
On the eaves of my mind 
With the cicadas 

But at the same time there exists a transformer
Which consumes the best part of you
It holds you back, it asks for more and more
And you arrive at a point 
Where you can't stand it any more

Mother, you always carry freedom
Inside your heart
They can corrupt you, you can forget her
But she is always there

Yesterday I dreamed about the starving
The insane,  those who have left
Those who are in prison
Today I woke up singing this song
Which was already written long ago
We have to sing it again
One more time.


Part 13: Tango

While we’re in Argentina, we really should mention the tango.
The most influential tango composer of the rock era was Astor Piazzolla. This is the title song (also known as ‘Yo Soy María’) from his ‘tango operita’ of 1968, with lyrics by Horacio Ferrer. In this fine performance it is sung by Julia Zenko.
Piazzolla is best known for his innovative instrumentals, which usually featured his bandoneón (accordion) playing. There is an excellent BBC documentary about his life (see below). It is in English but with lots of subtitled interviews in Spanish.

NB This translation is by Golden, though I have made some tiny changes.
You can check out more of their translations here:


Yo soy María de Buenos Aires!
De Buenos Aires - María 
¿no ven quién soy yo?
María tango, María del arrabal!
María noche, María pasión fatal!
María del amor! De Buenos Aires soy yo!

Yo soy María de Buenos Aires
si en este barrio la gente pregunta quién soy,
pronto muy bien lo sabrán
las hembras que me envidiarán,
y cada macho a mis pies
como un ratón en mi trampa ha de caer!

Yo soy María de Buenos Aires!
Soy la más bruja 
cantando y amando también!
Si el bandoneón me provoca... Tiará, tatá!
Le muerdo fuerte la boca... Tiará, tatá!
Con diez espasmos en flor 
que yo tengo en mi ser!

Siempre me digo "Dale María!"
cuando un misterio me viene trepando en la voz!
Y canto un tango que nadie jamás cantó
y sueño un sueño que nadie jamás soñó,
porque el mañana es hoy 
con el ayer después, che!

Yo soy María de Buenos Aires!
De Buenos Aires María yo soy, mi ciudad!
María tango, María del arrabal!
María noche, María pasión fatal!
María del amor! De Buenos Aires soy yo!

I am María from Buenos Aires
From Buenos Aires - María
Don't you see who I am?
María of the tango, María from the slums
María of the night, María the femme fatal
María of love, from Buenos Aires, it's me!

I am María from Buenos Aires
If in this neighborhood people ask who I am
Soon they'll know
The women will envy me
And every man at my feet,
Like a mouse, into my trap he must fall

I am María from Buenos Aires
I'm the biggest bitch
Singing and loving as well
If the bandoneon moves me... tiará, tatá!
I'll bite hard into its mouth... tiará, tatá!
With ten spasms flowering
That I have in my being

I'm always telling myself 'keep going María'
When a mystery climbs up in my voice
And I sing a tango that nobody ever sang
And I dream a dream that nobody ever dreamt
Because tomorrow is today, 
With yesterday later, hey!

I am María from Buenos Aires
From Buenos Aires, it's me - María, my city
María of the tango, María from the slums
María of the night, María the femme fatal
María of love, from Buenos Aires, it's me!


Part 12: Rock Barrial and Nuevo Rock Argentino

During the 1990s many of the most popular bands in Argentina were part of ‘Rock Barrial’. This was a kind of back to basics rock and roll movement (with a big Rolling Stones influence), which is musically rather conservative. Imagine pub rock bands on steroids playing to a stadium full of boozed up lads and you’re half-way there. In fact, it’s also known more pejoratively as ‘Rock Chabón’, which means ‘Dumb Rock’, but also implies that it is for working class hooligans. Perhaps ‘Lad Rock’ is the British equivalent, culturally if not musically.
However, at this time there was also a movement known as ‘Nuevo Rock Argentino’ which included bands like Babasónicos who were more eclectic and playful. Babasónicos formed in the early 90s, but this single is from their seventh LP ‘Infame’ (2004). It includes some of the simplest and most repetitive lyrics ever featured on this blog!

¿Y QUÉ? 

¡Oh sí! 
Estoy mirando a tu novia 
¿Y qué? 
No tengo nada que decirte 
Ella me gusta y yo a ella también 
¡Oh sí! 
¿Y qué? 
¿Y qué?

Oh yes!
I'm looking at your girlfriend
So what?
I don't have anything to tell you
She likes me and I like her too
Oh yes!
So what?
So what?


Part 11: Argentinians in Spain (slight return)

In Part 7 of this series we looked at Argentine bands in Spain during the late seventies. One of the most successful of these was the half Spanish, half Argentine group Tequila. I suspect that one reason for their success was that the Spanish public was more willing to accept this hybrid than a completely Argentine line up. However, by the early eighties a combination record company problems, drugs and changing musical fashion led to the demise of Tequila.

Two members of the group, guitarists Ariel Rot (Argentina) and Julián Infante (Spain) decided to try again with another bi-national group at the start of the nineties.
They recruited Andrés Calamaro as their frontman. He had first appeared in the eighties version of Los Abuelos de la Nada, before going on to a successful solo career in Argentina. However, the economic crisis in his home country at the turn of the decade meant that it seemed the right time for him to try his luck abroad.
Complete with a Spanish rhythm section Los Rodríguez were born, basing themselves in Madrid. The bi-national trick worked as it had with Tequila and they quickly became hugely popular. This is the title track of their third and most acclaimed album from 1993.

NB This translation is by Suertuda, though I have made some tiny changes. You can check out more of their translations here:

UPDATE: As commented below, the line ‘Bebiendo de esta copa que no está tan rota’ is clearly a reference to the bolero ‘La Copa Rota’ which Los Rodríguez have covered (I’ve added the video below). This song is about a man driven mad by jealousy who ends up taking a bite out of his wine glass!



Déjame atravesar el viento sin documentos,
que lo haré por el tiempo que tuvimos
porque no queda salida, porque pareces dormida,
porque buscando tu sonrisa estaría toda mi vida.
quiero ser el único que te muerda en la boca.
quiero saber que la vida contigo no va a terminar.

Déjame que te cierre esta noche los ojos,
y mañana vendré con un cigarro a la cama.
porque no tengo más intenciones que seguir
bebiendo de esta copa que no está tan rota.
quiero ser el único que te muerda en la boca.
quiero saber que la vida contigo no va a terminar.

Porque sí, porque sí, porque sí!
porque en esta vida
no quiero pasar más de un día entero sin tí.
porque sí, porque sí, porque sí!
porque mientras espero
por tí me muero y no quiero seguir así.



Quiero ser el único que te muerda en la boca.
quiero saber que la vida contigo no va a terminar


Let me cross the wind without documents,
I'll do it for the time that we had
Because there's no way out, because you seem to be asleep
Because looking for your smile would be my whole life.
I want to be the only one who bites you in the mouth.
I want to know that life with you isn't going to end.

Let me close your eyes tonight,
And tomorrow I'll come to bed with a cigarette.
Because I don't have any more plans than to carry on
Drinking from this glass which isn't too broken.
I want to be the only one who bites you in the mouth.
I want to know that life with you isn't going to end.

Just because, just because, just because!
Because in this life
I don't want to spend more than one whole day without you.
Just because, just because, just because!
Because while I wait
I'm dying for you and I don't want to go on like this.



I want to be the only one who bites you in the mouth.
I want to know that life with you isn't going to end



Part 10: The Eighties after the War

The Falklands war ended in June 1982. Argentina was defeated and the military government quickly lost control of the country. In 1983 democracy was restored for the first time in a decade.
It was a good time for the music scene, with Argentine bands selling far more records than ever before. The most critically respected band of the eighties was Sumo. Their frontman Luca Prodan was perhaps an unlikely Argentine rock icon: he was already over 30, overweight, balding and… Italian! This blog has previously featured their song ‘Mañana en el Abasto’, but here is one of their more uptempo songs.
NB Belgrano (in the lyrics) is a relatively posh part of Buenos Aires, but it is presumably also a reference to the ship which the British sunk during the Falklands war. The song appears on their 1985 LP ‘Divididos Por La Felicidad’, the title of which is a tribute to Joy Division (literally – Divided by Happiness).


Prodan died in 1987 due to complications related to his drug addiction, and ‘Luca Not Dead’ graffiti started to appear around the country. A year later Miguel Abuelo (leader of Los Abuelos de la Nada) and Federico Moura (leader of Virus) both died of AIDS. It was the end of another era. Prodan’s bandmates went on to enjoy success in the bands Dividos and Las Pelotas

Related post:





Caras conchetas, miradas berretas

Y hombres encajados en Fiorucci.

Oigo “dame” y “quiero”

y “no te metas”

“te gustó el nuevo Bertolucci?”.


La rubia tarada,

bronceada, aburrida,

Me dice “por qué te pelaste?”

Y yo “por el asco que dá tu sociedad.

Por el pelo de hoy

¿cuánto gastaste?”


Un pseudo punkito,

con el acento finito

Quiere hacer el chico malo.

Tuerce la boca,

se arregla el pelito,

Se toma un trago

y vuelve a Belgrano.


Basta! me voy,

rumbo a la puerta

Y después al boliche

a la esquina

A tomar una ginebra

con gente despierta.

Esta si que es Argentina



Posh faces, shitty looks

& men dressed up in Fiorucci

I hear ‘give me’, ‘I want’

& ‘mind your own business’

Did you like the new Bertolucci?


The dumb blonde,

tanned, boring

Asks me ‘Why are you fighting?’

I say ‘Because your kind disgust me’

That trendy haircut,

how much did it cost you?


A little pseudo punk

With a thin accent

Wants to act like a tough guy

He twists his lip

He arranges his hairdo

He has a quick drink

And goes back to the Belgrano


Enough! I’m going,

I head for the door

And then to the bowling alley

on the corner

To have a gin

With smart people

This is the real Argentina


Part 9: The Falklands War

The Falklands war between Britain and Argentina started in April 1982, and for a time songs sung in English were banned from the radio. Ironically this had a positive impact on the local scene, as the radio was forced to play local bands instead of imports from the UK and US. Argentine bands suddenly started to sell many more records than ever before.

At the same time many of the best singer-songwriters of the period performed at the ‘Festival de la Solidaridad Latinoamericana’ – a thinly veiled peace concert. Just a few years earlier a concert like this would not have been tolerated by the authorities. León Gieco had already been recording for a decade, suffering censorship and death threats from the government. After a brief period of exile in the late seventies he had returned to Argentina and his performace of ‘Sólo le Pido a Dios’ was a highlight of the concert, helping him to finally become a star. The song has become a protest anthem around the world. There have been countless covers, including one by Shakira (see below).


Sólo le pido a Dios
que el dolor no me sea indiferente,
que la reseca muerte no me encuentre
vacío y solo, sin haber hecho lo suficiente

Sólo le pido a Dios
que lo injusto no me sea indiferente,
que no me abofeteen la otra mejilla,
después que una garra me arañó esta suerte

Sólo le pido a Dios
que la guerra no me sea indiferente,
es un monstruo grande y pisa fuerte
toda la pobre inocencia de la gente.

Sólo le pido a Dios
que el engaño no me sea indiferente,
si un traidor puede más que unos cuantos,
que esos cuantos no lo olviden fácilmente.

Sólo le pido a Dios
que el futuro no me sea indiferente,
desahuciado está el que tiene que marchar
a vivir una cultura diferente.

Sólo le pido a Dios
que la guerra no me sea indiferente,
es un monstruo grande y pisa fuerte
toda la pobre inocencia de la gente.

I only ask of God
That I am not indifferent to the pain
That dried up death doesn't find me
Empty and alone, without having done enough

I only ask of God
That I am not indifferent to the injustice
That they don’t slap my other cheek
After I am clawed by the talons of fate

I only ask of God
That I am not indifferent to the war
It’s a huge monster that stamps on
All the poor innocence of the people

I only ask of God
That I am not indifferent to the deceit
If one traitor can do more than the masses,
Then don't let the masses forget him easily.

I only ask of God
That I am not indifferent to the future
Despair is what makes you have to leave
And live in a different culture

I only ask of God
That I am not indifferent to war
It’s a huge monster that stamps on
All the poor innocence of the people







A – E – A

D – D/C# – Bm

C#m – A – E

Bm – C#m – F#m



A – E – A

D – D/C# – Bm – E

D – A – E – F#m

D – A – E – F#m