Pop, Rock, Psych and Garage from Spain and Latin America (1964-69)

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To celebrate four years of Spanish Pop Lyrics, and also as a kind of Xmas gift, here is this blog’s first ever compilation / mix-tape (much of it in authentic low fidelity). Download

All the songs are sung in Spanish, and all but a handful are original songs rather than covers.

It’s generally up tempo, but there are a couple of slower tracks at the end.
Almost all the songs have been featured on this blog, and those that aren’t may well appear in the near future. Anyway, you know where to look for the lyrics… 

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YA VERÁS By KARINA

Part 4: Karina and Spanish Female Singers in the Sixties

As the name suggests, the Spanish Yé-Yé girls were modelled on their French counterparts. Young, pretty, fashionable, and if you were lucky they could sing a bit as well. The kind of girl that Serge Gainsbourg made fun of in his 1965 Eurovision song contest winner ‘Poupée de cire, poupée de son’.

In fact Karina, probably the most succesful of the Spanish Yé-Yé girls, recorded that very song as ‘Muñeca de Cera’ and it became her breakthrough hit. Of course, she really wanted to win the competition herself, but it was her rival Massiel who triumphed – with ‘La La La’ in 1968. Karina herself finished second when she entered the contest in 1971.

Generally these girls sang translated versions of hits, not just from the UK and the US, but also from France and Italy. We so much material to choose from there was little incentive to come up with original material, and hardly any of them were songwriters anyway.

This EP track is atypical, an original song written for Karina by Los Pekenikes in 1966. Maybe it was recorded as a retort to critics who complained that she only did covers.

For more information about these girls see this excellent website: http://www.readysteadygirls.eu/#/spanish-girls/4544167385

YA VERÁS

Yo sé que tu jamás me olvidarás
Pero no puedo estar sin verte más
Si ahora tú te vas
Yo buscaré otro amor
Que me haga olvidar
Lo que te quiero
Y ya verás

Si has pensado bien 
qué vas a hacer
No creas que me voy entristecer
Ya todo me da igual
No me importa donde estés
si te voy a olvidar
Aunque no quiera
Y ya verás

Ya verás que yo 
digo la verdad
Si no puedo verte más
Digo yo quizá 
para que tu amor (?)
vuelvas a sentir jamas
NOW YOU’LL SEE

I know that you’ll never forget me
but I can’t stand not seeing you again
If you go now
I’ll look for another lover
Who will make me forget
How much I love you
And now you’ll see

If you’ve thought hard
about what you’re going to do
Don’t think that I’ll get sad
Now it’s all the same to me
and I don’t care where you are
If I’m going to forget you
Even though I don’t want to
And now you’ll see

You’ll see that I’m
telling the truth
If I can see you again
I say that maybe
for you love
you’ll never feel again
*
CHORDS / ACORDES

D (Byrds style riff)
G – A – D – D 
G – A – D – D 
G – A – D – Bm 
G – A – G – G 

F – C – F – C
F – C – G – G

FLAMENCO By LOS BRINCOS

Part 2: Los Brincos and Spanish Beat Groups in the Sixties

By 1964 the stance of the Franco regime towards rock had relaxed slightly, perhaps because Spain was trying to present a more tourist friendly image to the rest of Europe. The Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ appeared on cinema screens and the time was ripe for a Spanish response.

Fernando Arbex, ex-drummer with Los Estudiantes, put together a new group featuring the singers Juan Pardo and Antonio ‘Junior’ Morals, who had both had (separate and unsuccessful) stints as lead singer with Los Pekenikes (before that group switched to instrumentals). With two strong singers Los Brincos could emulate Lennon/McCartney style harmonies, and crucially they did it with original songs rather than covers. At first they hedged their bets, singing in both English and Spanish, but it was the Spanish songs that charmed the nation.

Now it had been shown that you could sing rock in Spanish and be successful other groups quickly followed suit, though few of them had the songwriting flair of Los Brincos.

The idea behind their breakthrough song was pretty simple: What would The Beatles sound like playing flamenco? It’s arguably the first ever attempt at flamenco rock, and despite not being particulary authentic it remains one of the most enjoyable. It appeared on their first LP in 1964.

FLAMENCO

Si me preguntas a dónde voy 
y si tú quieres saber quién soy 
piensa que es fácil de adivinar 
que yo soy yo, 
oh oh, oh oh oh oh

Si te preocupa mi por venir 
no puedes dejar de pensar en mí 
no lograrás hacerme cambiar: 
soy como soy, 
oh oh, oh oh oh oh 

Aaa, aaa, aaa, aaa 
Hey, hey , hey hey 

Piénsalo bien 
y decídete, 
no tengo tiempo para perder, 
pronto mi novia tú vas a ser, 
lo digo yo , 
oh oh, oh oh oh oh 

Nunca jamás te arrepentirás 
porque si buscas felicidad 
solo a mi lado la encontrarás 
lo digo yo, 
oh oh, oh oh oh oh.
FLAMENCO

If you ask me where I’m going
And if you want to know who I am
Realise that it’s easy to guess
That I’m me
oh oh, oh oh oh oh

If you’re worried about me coming 
You can’t stop thinking about me 
You won’t manage to make me change
I’m how I am 
oh oh, oh oh oh oh 

Aaa, aaa, aaa, aaa 
Hey, hey , hey hey

Think about it carefully 
and make up your mind
I don’t have time to waste
You’re going to be my girlfriend soon
That’s what I say
oh oh, oh oh oh oh

You’ll never ever regret it
Because if you’re looking for happiness
You’ll only find it by my side
That’s what I say
oh oh, oh oh oh oh
*

CHORDS / ACORDES

Intro: Dm – C – Bb 

Verse: A – Bb(#11) (repeat)

Bridge: Dm – C – Bb – A
Coda: A – Bb – B – C – B – Bb – A

Spanish Pop and Rock in The Sixties

Part 1: The Early Sixties

This month is a summer special about the 1960s, and I’ll look into that decade in a bit more depth.

Spain was still ruled by Franco during the 1960s, and although rock and roll wasn’t banned outright, the dictatorship was clearly suspicious of it. Getting hold of early rock records wasn’t easy, and they often had to make their way illicitly across the French border or from the UK. The rock records and films that were officially released often appeared late, giving the impression that Spain was lagging several years behind the rest of Europe.

If getting hold of the original records was difficult, finding electric guitars was almost impossible. Despite this some young Spaniards managed to start groups, playing covers of rock ‘n’ roll songs. Straight away they faced a question that sixty years later new bands are still asking themselves: Should we sing in English or in Spanish?

On one hand rock sounds more authentic in English and most group started by covering American songs. On the other hand it seems natural to sing in your own language. Also relatively few Spaniards spoke English well in the sixties. Finding a singer who sounded convincing in English was almost impossible (Los Bravos cheated by importing a German!). Perhaps for this reason the most common tactic was to sing in Spanish, especially translated versions of hits from the US and the UK.

For other groups, including Los Pekenikes (one of the most succesful band of this period) the answer was to play instrumentals (initially inspired by UK outfit The Shadows). Here they are playing ‘Los Cuatro Muleros’ in 1964 – the first instrumental on Spanish Pop Lyrics!

The charts were full of squeaky clean pop and it was hard for anything more exciting to make much headway. For example, although Cliff Richards’ film ‘Summer Holiday’ was allowed to be shown, it was given an 18 certificate.

For Los Estudiantes, one of the pioneering Spanish rock bands of the early sixties, success was elusive. They were together for five years yet they only managed to release three EPs in that time. Thankfully, things were about to change.

CERCA DE LAS ESTRELLAS By LOS PEKENIKES

Along with Los Estudiantes, Los Pekenikes were pioneers of Spanish rock and roll at the start of the sixties. Many important Spanish musicians (including most of Los Brincos) have passed through their ranks. By the mid-sixties they had found success by concentrating on instrumentals (initially inspired by The Shadows). By 1969 things were getting a bit more psychedelic, and this is one of just two vocal tracks on their LP Alarma.

*

CERCA DE LAS ESTRELLAS

Buscaré
otro mundo lejos del sol
en las estrellas.

Un lugar
donde siempre brille la luz,
en las tinieblas.

Viviré
donde el tiempo no pasará,
en las estrellas.
CLOSE TO THE STARS

I’ll search for
Another world far from the sun
In the stars

A place
Where the light always shines
In the darkness

I’ll live
Where time won’t pass
In the stars

GUITAR CHORDS:

Verse:

E9 – Bm(+4) (repeat)

E9 – Bm(+4) – Em

Bridge 1:

D9 – G9 – F9 – E

E – Bm – F#m – C – D – E

D – E

Bridge 2:

C