Tag Archives: lucha libre

Hey Lupe, Lupita mi amor

I think the Nashville-based surf revival band Los Straitjackets rocks. I mean, they wear lucha libre masks on stage…what’s not to love? In 2007, the group released Rock en español, Volume 1, an album comprised of Spanish-language covers of 60s songs like “Give Me a Sign” (“Dame una seña”) and “All Day and All of the Night” (“De día y de noche”). It’s awesome. My favorite is “Hey Lupe,” the band’s cover of The McCoy’s 1965 hit “Hang On Sloopy,” which also happens to be the official rock song of the state of Ohio. Here’s the band with Big Sandy on vocals playing it in Santiago de Compostela last year.

But the idea of covering songs in Spanish from rock’s early days is as old as the genre itself. Starting in the 1950s, Mexican groups would cover hits by artists like Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley for Spanish-speaking audiences. It was called Mexican Rock or Rock nacional, and it led to a mixing of US popular music with Latin rhythms that would later result in Chicano Rock and artists like Carlos Santana.

One of the biggest Mexican Rock groups was Los Rockin Devils, which was formed in Tijuana in 1962. They were one of the early signers of the genre to Orfeón, a Mexican record company that battled against US giants CBS Records and Capitol Records to sign acts to sell to Mexican audiences south of border and in communities in the American Southwest and Southern California. Here’s LRD doing their own version of “Hey Lupe” and an energetic rendition of Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs’ “Woolly Bully,” retitled “Bule Bule.” By the way, Sam the Sham (Domingo “Sam” Samudio) was of Mexican descent himself.

Often these songs had large changes in the lyrics, in order to fit the original melody and rhythm of the song. So something like this…

Hang on Sloopy, Sloopy hang on
Hang on Sloopy, Sloopy hang on

Sloopy lives in a very bad part of town
And everybody, yeah, tries to put my Sloopy down
Sloopy I don’t care what your daddy do
‘Cause you know, Sloopy girl, I’m in love with you

would be turned into something more like this…

Es Lupe
Lupita mi Amor

Es Lupe
Lupita mi Amor

Lupe es la linda dueña de mi amor
Y todos en la prepa la quieren conquistar
Lupe baila muy bien el ritmo del rock
con ella en las fiestas todos quieren bailar

But as you can tell from listening to just the two versions of “Hey Lupe” here, no two bands do it the same and neither do it exactly the way I have it here. Anyway, it wasn’t long before these bands started writing original music, and I was wondering today if that had something to do with all the lyrical rewriting they did for these covers. It’s just a thought.

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A triumvirate of border videos : humor or missteps?

The first is the newest. It’s a commercial for Mexico’s Gana Gol lottery featuring US soccer star Landon Donovan. And it’s hot…if you’re judging by the temperature of Mexican anger towards it. First of all, Donovan is generally despised in Mexico. He’s the face of US soccer, which has a pretty heated rivalry with our neighbors to the south. He’s also the US’s all-time leader in both goals scored and assists, more than one of which came in crucial matches against the Mexican side. Oh, and he did once urinate on the field in Guadalajara—that didn’t go over so well. So to add to all of that, Donovan dresses in an over-the-top campesino outfit in this particular commercial that many Mexicans find offensive, both because of what it suggests and who is wearing it. After sneaking across the border to buy a ticket for the lottery, he’s stopped by a border guard who recognizes him. When questioned why he’s there, Donovan says, “winning in Mexico is easier,” which raises the ire of the guard (we assume he thinks LD means in fútbol). When Donovan explains it’s easier to win the lottery, the guard lets him go…but not before taking his Ganga Gol card for himself.

The second is a short-lived commercial from Burger King that was quickly removed from airplay when the company was hit with a major backlash from Latinos. The commercial promoted BK’s “Texican Whopper,” which they claim combines the taste of Texas “with a little spicy Mexican.” In it, a tall cowboy and an extremely short lucha libre character come together to be roomies and share the joys of eating Burger King.

And finally, the ever controversial Mexican hip-hop/rock band Molotov and their 2003 hit “Frijolero,” which has made people laugh, swear, sing, and yell since its release. I’ll have a lot more to say about this band in the future, but for now I think the video speaks for itself. Though I should tell you that the Spanish portions of the song are sung in a way to parody American pronunciation of Spanish and that the group includes a US expat in the lineup, Randy “El Gringo Loco” Ebright, whose father was formerly a US DEA official in Mexico.

Full Throttle Blue Demon

While South America has Pecsi, North America has the equally intriguing Full Throttle Blue Demon: “Crisp, blue agave flavor for all-day energy.” Not that I like energy drinks…they scare me actually. In fact, I’d probably pull a bicep just lifting a can of this to my mouth. And while I generally couldn’t care less about a Coke® product, the Blue Demon of the drink’s name is a fascinating bit of Mexican pop culture.

The original Blue Demon (that’s Blue Demon, Jr. in the picture above) is one of the most famous masked wrestlers (luchador enmascarado) in Mexican wrestling history. And that’s saying a lot because wrestling (lucha libre) is huge there. Wrestling stars are featured in tv, comics, and obviously advertising. And big personalities like “Blue” also become movie stars. Between 1964 and 1977, Blue Demon starred in 25 films, including Blue Demon contra las aranas infernales (“Blue Demon vs. the Infernal Spiders”), Blue Demon en pasaporte a la muerte (“Blue Demon in Passport to Death”), and  La noche de la muerte (“Night of Death”). Those aren’t necessarily his most well-known films. I just like the titles. 

Some of Blue Demon’s biggest films were made with the other huge star of Mexican wrestling, El Santo (“the Saint”). El Santo and Blue Demon started a famous rivalry in the ring during the 1950s. But outside the ring, Santo and Blue sometimes fought celluloid battles together against zombies, Dracula, and the Wolfman, when they weren’t taking on mad scientists or evil geniuses…or each other.

Alejandro Muñoz Moreno, the original Blue Demon, never took off his mask. He was even buried in it after dying of a heart attack in 2000. But his character lives on in the personage of Blue Demon, Jr., who may or may not be Moreno’s adopted son—his true identity is not publicly known. And while I’m not going to suggest that drinking a nasty blue energy drink will do you any good, it’s kind of neat what’s behind that mass-produced can, ¿no?